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Growing on a budget

With the rising cost of fuel, food, and energy, many find that there is not much left over at the end of the month to devote to hobbies - such as gardening, which can be a necessity for some to keep their mental wellbeing in check.
It's well known that being outdoors can be beneficial to our mental health. Gardening, being outdoors and interacting with nature can all promote a healthy mind and body.

In addition to being a perfect place to relax and relieve stress, gardens can also be a great place to gain a real sense of accomplishment while boosting your self-esteem.

We want to make sure everyone receives their fair share of vitamin G, not only for nourishing their gardens, but for the health of their minds and bodies too. Our green-fingered team has shared some of their favourite budget-friendly gardening tips.

Grow your own
This may sound rather obvious, but growing your own is a cheap and easy way of growing a steady supply of plants to use in all sorts of delicious dishes. Vegetables such as kale, rhubarb, artichokes, watercress, broccoli and cauliflower are especially good, and while some are technically classed as annuals or biennials, they can potentially be treated as a perennial if they receive the right care and attention during the winter months. Just a handful of plants can produce an extensive yield!

Reuse and Recycle
Turn your old food containers into seed trays and pots to grow seedlings in. You can re-use everything from tins (with a hole drilled in the bottom), plastic fruit containers, egg boxes, noodle pots or yogurt containers, to name a few. The most valuable tip we learnt was to use a water bottle that has been cut in half to make a mini propagator.

Get involved with plant or seed swaps
Ask friends, family and neighbours if they would be up for a plant or seed swap. There are also plenty of websites, such as Freecycle or Preloved, where people are either selling cheaply, giving away or will happily trade with what you have. Be prepared to collect. You never know, you might find one of your ‘wish list plants’ for next to nothing!

Grow the most expensive fruit you would normally buy
The price per pound of certain fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, currants, blueberries etc, can quickly add up. Thankfully, plenty of nurseries and garden centres sell soft fruit bushes, canes and vines that will happily thrive in a British garden with the right care and attention. Growing your own fruit is not only a valuable investment, but also a great way to organically eat your way to your five a day!

Create your own herb garden
There is nothing quite like cooking a meal for your family with delicious flavours grown in your very own garden or balcony, depending on your space. Even the smallest of herb gardens can supply the family with a steady supply of healthy produce for months – all excess produce can be frozen, picked or preserved for a later date.

Dividing plants and taking cuttings
Lifting and dividing mature plants is a great way to make your existing plants go further – while this process can seem intimidating, many perennials will thrive because of this process. Taking cuttings from friends, family and neighbours (make sure to ask first!) is one of the most cost-effective ways of gardening.

Get involved in community spaces
There are many community-led gardens popping up in parks and sometimes in disused street flower beds. Many of these community gardens will exchange produce for time spent gardening, but be sure to check with whoever is running your local community garden before helping yourself.

Make your own compost heap
This isn’t a short-term solution, but with a bit of patience and elbow grease, you could create your own compost from food scraps and garden waste in as little as one to two years. You don’t need a huge space to do this either, all you need is a plastic tub with a couple of holes drilled into the bottom, a bit of garden/food scraps and the rest is taken care of by the worms. Don’t forget to turn your compost heap every week!

Find your local horse yard
Manure is a valuable organic matter and source of essential nutrients for plant growth and soil improvement. Plenty of yards will be happy for you to take their horse manure away for use in the garden! Make sure to ask for permission from the landowner and or yard staff before helping yourself.

Creating your own garden sanctuary needn’t be expensive and we hope you find our money-saving tips inspiring. If you would like to share your top tips for gardening on a budget, please let us know in the comment section!
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