Ruth shares her top tips for saving pennies in the garden
These are worrying times financially for a lot of people. Feeding the family, affording the basics, wondering where you can turn for help – that’s a lot of reasons to have sleepless nights.
Gardening may be good for our mental and physical wellbeing, but it can be an extra worry if we are concerned about doing it ‘properly’, getting things ‘right’ at a time when pennies need counting, garden centres are closed and supermarkets running short of gardening equipment and plants.
Plants and chemicals are still available – our local corner shop has a small but healthy selection of bedding and perennials for a couple of quid, and in normal times, shops such as Wilko’s are also great for budget feeds and equipment.
Obviously supplies are more haphazard in the current situation, but have a look, you might get lucky.
In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you get a great garden without breaking the bank.
Consistent care: Looking after your charges well, from good planting onwards, keeps them healthy and means you’ll spend less money fighting off pests and disease, or even buying replacements.
Pest control: Nip pests in the bud before small colonies grow into large infestations that need expensive chemicals to keep them in check. Encourage beneficial natural predators too, such as ladybirds, wild birds and hedgehogs.
Wash and re-use: Wash and re-use pots instead of buying more. I also wash my gardening gloves regularly to stop them cracking and perishing after hard use and coming in contact with mud and chemicals.
Recycle bulbs: Recycle plants such as forced indoor hyacinths. After dying back, they can be set outside in light shade and in future years will produce early scent and colour when there’s little else around.
Take cuttings: Why splash out on expensive perennials when you can take cuttings and make lots of new plants for free? Late spring and summer are key times for softwood cuttings of plants such as pelargoniums and penstemons.
Sow seeds: Growing from seed may seem time-consuming and fiddly but it is an economical and satisfying method of growing and there is a huge variety of ornamental and edible plants available as seed.
Tool care: Tools are expensive so look after them. Wipe them clean after each use, sharpen those that need it and store them properly. Give them a thorough overhaul and lubricate their moving parts at least once each season.
We are here for you
Although many people are coping well with self-isolation, others are really struggling and feeling completely forgotten and alone.
Here at AG we are doing our best to keep connected to our readers though the magazine, this website and also through social media.
Our gardening ‘agony uncle’ John Negus is also still working hard. Send him your problems and questions, with pictures if you can, and he will get back to you with an answer withing 24 hours, as he has been doing for decades. Contact him using the AG email address at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We already have thriving Facebook page but are also on Twitter and Instagram. These sites are a brilliant way of chatting to people, sharing news, information, pictures and just saying hello – we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Best of all, as gardeners are generally lovely folk, more interested in plants, hedgehogs, tea and cake than political shenanigans and point-scoring, so the chat is friendly and welcoming.
So please drop by, follow us, ‘like’ our posts and say hello – the Instagram feed is in it’s really early days so the quicker we can get that going with your help and support, the better!
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