Gardening is one of the nation’s favourite hobbies, practiced by people of all ages and experience levels. According to the Horticultural Trades Association, two out of three British adults visit a garden centre every year, and the country spends over £1.5 billion every 12 months on sprucing up their green spaces.
It’s easy to see why it’s so popular. The pastime delivers many health and mental benefits, providing regular gentle exercise and a relaxing way to de-stress. It’s also very easy to get into, and no great expertise is required to begin your very own gardening project either.
Additionally, gardening is a relatively inexpensive interest to pursue. If you are working with limited funds, or just don’t want to spend too much on a new hobby, you can even keep the cost down with one or two adjustments. Let’s take a look at our top five tips for gardening on a budget.
Grow, save, and swap seeds
One of the best ways to save money when populating your garden with plants or flowers is to avoid buying expensive ready-grown products, instead opting for growing your own from seeds, which are a lot cheaper. There are many low-cost retailers out there who sell full packets for very little, and you can sometimes save even more by turning to eBay, where vendors and other gardeners sell their own.
A lot of the time you only end up sowing a handful from the packet, with quite a few left over. Don’t throw these away because they can be saved for the next year — simply stow them away somewhere dry in a foil sachet. Alternatively, if you visit the forums of some popular garden enthusiast websites, such as Grow Fruit and Veg, you can often find sections dedicated to organising seed exchanges, where you swap your spares with someone else. This is a great way of saving some money on your next batch.
Keep an eye out for second-hand equipment
If you need some gardening equipment and are reluctant to pay full price for it, there are plenty of places where you can often find good quality gear for a fraction of the price. As well as eBay, it’s worth checking local listings on Craigslist and Gumtree, as well as Freecycle, where you can sometimes pick up a bargain. Also, take the time to browse local car boot sales and recycling centres, where you can find cheap equipment in person too.
Make your own compost
Compost is an essential ingredient for healthy plant growth. It’s also something that you don’t need to buy in a shop for an inflated price. You can make your own if you have a little bit of patience, which will also allow you to dispose of much household waste in an environmentally-friendly way. That’s right, a whole variety of rubbish, from tea bags and egg boxes to grass cuttings and sawdust, can be turned into nutritious plant food. The government’s Recycle Now website is the best place to go for in-depth information about getting started with making your own compost.
Manage weeds organically
Weeds are every gardener’s worst nightmare — not only do they look unsightly, but they can also choke the life out of the healthy plants you are trying to grow. To battle these pests, you may be tempted to take what might seem to be the quickest and most efficient route and use some store-bought weed killer, but it’s important to know that this is an unnecessary expense.
Practicing organic weeding is cheaper and better for both you and your garden, as chemical weed killer can sometimes contain substances that are harmful to humans, animals, and the environment. There are quite a few ways that you can get rid of weeds without using these products, such as using mulch, thermal weed killers, boiling water, and simply pulling them out at the roots.
This guide to organic weed management from Garden Organic is very in-depth and most of the methods suggested cost very little to carry out.
Grow your own food
While gardening can be enjoyed on a very small budget, it can also save you money in other areas of your daily life. By growing fruits and vegetables as part of your project, you can avoid having to purchase them as part of your weekly shop. You can also be sure that your own homegrown produce is free from any artificial growing methods often employed in the food industry.
You can enjoy the benefits of homegrown fruits and vegetables in almost any living situation, whether you have your own large garden or you live in a high-rise block of flats. Many types can be grown indoors in containers, offering great flexibility for those without traditional garden areas. You can get started growing by following one of the many how-to articles in Wyevale Garden Centre’s advice hub, which has specialised advice for the planting, care, and harvesting of fruit and vegetables.
As you can see, there are some great ways that you can enjoy the past time of gardening on a relatively small budget. This leaves you free to enjoy the health perks and sense of fulfilment that gardening provides.