The Cheapskate’s Guide To Free and Nearly Free Gardening

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Being an Englishman and all greenthumby and suchlike, I love my garden. Over the years I have probably grown the A to Z catalogue of plants and vegetables. However, if like me, you cringe at the ever rising costs of plants and seeds some of these tips might help save you a bob or two.

  • Many plants can be divided at the roots. Split any suitable ones and replant to increase your stock.
  • Take cuttings and grow on. Some plants like shrubs / perennials/ bushes/ trees can provide cuttings.
  • Collect the seeds from any plants that grow in your garden in autumn. Use junk mail envelopes to keep them and store in a cool, dark place. Don’t forget to label the envelope! You need to know what you are about to plant.
  • Ask neighbours if you can collect seeds from their gardens and / or swop seeds / cuttings/ spares with them.
  • Keep an eye open for end of season sells off’s at garden centres, supermarkets, stores. Check seed packet dates as old / out-of-date seeds won’t do well or may be dead or poor quality.
  • Scavenge in the countryside / hedgerows / parkland if allowed. Be aware of the law, e.g. in the UK it is forbidden to take wildflowers, plants or seeds from the countryside. Head gardeners tend to frown on you nicking seeds from country house gardens too if caught!
  • Hit the Internet. Many sites offer completely free plants and seeds. Seeds and plant retailers often give away free samples to try their ranges.
  • Some retailers offer 25% or 50% extra free for plug plants / packet seeds etc. Depending on your, glass half full / glass half empty outlook, although you have to pay for some, you are technically getting some totally free, which is a bonus.
  • Obtain seeds from fruit and veg as you prepare it to eat. They might not be the best varieties to attempt to grow in your location but, hey – they’re free.
  • Get friendly with users of local allotments or community gardens. They are often happy to share not just knowledge but sometimes produce too.

So you see, gardening on a shoestring is not difficult at all if you put your mind to it. With a bit of thought and planning you can obtain, scrounge or be given all you would need in terms of plants, seed, tools, ornaments or anything else for your little piece of heaven. It is just as matter of going to the right place and asking the right people the right questions!

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