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in The potting shed
The March 2012 issue of Gardeners’ World Magazine sees the start of a new series, Get thrifty, highlighting ways that we can all save money in the garden. Money-saving ideas this month include a cloche made from second-hand demijohns and a novel method of feeding fruit plants for free.The first installment of the series also features thrifty tips from Gardeners’ World Magazine readers and visitors to this website. Do you have any tips of your own that you’re keen to share? Share your suggestions, below – if they’re published in a future issue you’ll win £10 in National Garden Gift Vouchers.
I found this helpful and would appreciate further thrifty tips in future editions
I have several:
Use old pallets for raised borders
Soaking seeds overnight in left over diet coke helps break down their hard coats
Use old plastic bottles to water plants when on holiday. Add a few small holes and bury it in the soil near a thirsty plant. The water will slowly leak out directly into the soil at the level of the roots.
Coffee shops are a great source of free used coffee grounds which make excellent fertiliser for the soil, espcially for acid loving plants.
Buy plants out of season. Spring bulbs are cheap after Christmas, summer bulbs are cheap in autumn. Deciduous plants such as Japanese Maples and Spirea are often sold for a fraction of their price in winter. Bare root plants will also be a fraction of their summer potted friends.
Look for larger plants when buying with a view to divide them. Some garden centre plants are several seedlings grown in one pot, so you will have several plants to split and have around the garden.
Adding newspaper to the bottom of pots helps keep in moisture and stops them from drying out too quickly in the summer.
Hydrangea, Busy Lizzy, Rosemary, Christmas Cacti and Geranium readily root in water, an easy way to bulk up your plants.
The bakery counter is a good source of deep plastic containers with a lid. Great for starting off seedlings as you seal the moisture in a mini-greenhouse atmosphere.
Carefully remove the plastic sleeves from your gardening magazines when they come in the post and use them to top your pots after sowing your seeds to keep in the moisture.
We've just had to get new fridge freezer and I've taken the salad drawers from the old fridge and I'm going to use them as mini cloches. I have also used an old plastic container that had glace cherries in and I've made a small hole in the lid so that I can thread the end of my ball of garden string through, it keeps the string dry and it never gets into a muddle.
Ah, donutsmrs, that reminds me of when my children were small and the washing for rugby kit and PE days was getting difficult to dry in time in a wet year, so my husband bought me a drier. When it was no longer usefull I put the large aluminium drum out on the drive and filled it with bluebells for early nectar for the bees and sedum spectabile for the butterflies in the autumn. It is still there 35 years later , still doing its job with those two kinds of plant. It gets worm tea for food occasionally and the odd weed pulled out.but it has been the best container ever.
some garden centres/small garden shops will allow you to help yourself to pots/trays
also compost when sowing seedlings; my next door neighbour uses the good stuff, i told him i do but i buy the cheap to fill the trays and then a lair of good john innes then the seeds and a lair of john innes on top
i go to my local craft shop and buy lollipop sticks. I use these to identify my seeds and plants around the garden. I usually get 50 for less than a pound. I also use toilet roll holders to plant up my sweet peas - lets them have a good root run
My friends save their sticks from their ice-creams at the amateur theatre we frequent automaticaly now, for me to take home and wash to make plant labels.
Any chance of a photo of you special container happymarion, it sounds really good.
Will put an update of my potager build on the Garden design forum, donutmrs.
Done! Go to Forum-Garden Design- redesign of Garden by Kate Bradbury.
We have a whole garden full of free or easily obtainable throw away items, or items that are constructed to a very tight budget. Here is just a small selection.
Free plant support.
Free storage using the front of a luton body.
Free garden table/bench made from scrap oak with a douglas top.
I made another one last week from yet more scrap oak.
Fold out and put away bean supports. These cost about £5.00 to make, but can be used over and over again
Free fire pit made from a washing machine drum, and a free BBQ made from an childrens swing and a metal shelf.
A free simple garden pot stand/bench made from more scrap oak.
Free bird table made from part of a felled oak tree.
A very heavy duty gadern shed which cost about £70.00 to construct. The £70.00 was cost for the cost of the materials to carry out the concrete base. Everything else came pretty much from skip diving.
A free nest box.
A free oak garden bench, made from scrap oak. We have three of these.
Victorian path edgings used to make bordered beds.. More skip diving!
I use the toilet roll inners to start my carrots , parsnips and leeks,most of the people on my allotment site had trouble growing ( or not growing as it turned out these, partly because the soil is only about 4inches ( ok,10cms) deep in places, but last year I managed a crop of carrots on a raised bed, starting them in the greenhouse at home, in the inner rolls, then thinning out there and transplanting the lot, straight into the prepared raised bed. this year I'm trying the parnsips and leeks the same way, well almost, i am planning to only half fill the ones for the leeks, then top them upo as they grow, ever the optimist !!!
HopefulJack wrote (see)
I use the toilet roll inners to start my carrots , parsnips and leeks,most of the people on my allotment site had trouble growing ( or not growing as it turned out these, partly because the soil is only about 4inches ( ok,10cms) deep in places, but last year I managed a crop of carrots on a raised bed, starting them in the greenhouse at home, in the inner rolls, then thinning out there and transplanting the lot, straight into the prepared raised bed. this year I'm trying the parnsips and leeks the same way, well almost, i am planning to only half fill the ones for the leeks, then top them up as they grow, ever the optimist !!! Thanks for that tip, I'll try that this year.
I use the toilet roll inners to start my carrots , parsnips and leeks,most of the people on my allotment site had trouble growing ( or not growing as it turned out these, partly because the soil is only about 4inches ( ok,10cms) deep in places, but last year I managed a crop of carrots on a raised bed, starting them in the greenhouse at home, in the inner rolls, then thinning out there and transplanting the lot, straight into the prepared raised bed. this year I'm trying the parnsips and leeks the same way, well almost, i am planning to only half fill the ones for the leeks, then top them up as they grow, ever the optimist !!!
To prevent eye damage from garden canes, make a hole in the end of a wine bottle cork, you may need to drink more wine but hey !
My mother saves old, laddered tights for us to use in our garden. We cut them into strips to secure blackberry plants and other whippy growth on both climbing and shrubby plants, use 'whole legs', doubled up to secure young trees to their stakes (in a figure of 8 around tree and stake to create a central buffer so that the tree doesn't rub on the stake) and even cut into thin ribbons to secure plant labels to trees and shrubs. Floppy herbaceous plants can be suported using deep ring sections of 'leg' encircling 3 or 4 stakes, which the plant then obscures with growth.
They don't rot and fall off like jute string, come in different colours so they can be chosen to blend with the plant being secured, and are strong yet soft and stretchy, so don't damage the plant. if you need an extra strong tie, use the waist band rib, which is a heavier denier than the leg bits.
We stretch the foot end of a pair of tights over a small plant pot which has the base cut out, and nestle this into the hole in the top of the each water butt, so that debris from the gutters is trapped in the foot of the tights therefore keeping the water clean. These can be periodically emptied onto the composter, or if really slimey, we just chuck the whole tights foot into the bin and replace with a fresh foot!
Tights can be packed with nettles, dandelion heads,comfrey or horse manure ( it's amazing how much they stretch) and then suspended in a bucket of water to make a compost 'tea'.
You can also use an old pair to strain compost tea through, so you don't clog the nozzle of your watering can.
They can also be used to store onions, hanging up on a beam in the garage, to store loose bundles of seed heads in an airy shed, and to dry nettle leaves which are then chopped and fed to our hens.
They are great for cleaning gutters or plastic plant pots out if you use a whole pair, rolled into a ball. No need to wash out afterwards: just throw away.
Use a whole pair, balled up to clean garden tools, and another pair to dipped in oil to wipe the metal parts down to prevent rusting.
You can use them to bundle up hose pipe, netting, and lengths of of garden fleece to hang on a hook when not in use. They are stretchy enough to be able to get some tension on the fastening, without having to tie them so tight you can't then undo the knot in the spring.
Sometimes it feels a bit wasteful to use them in this way, but they would otherwise gone straight to landfill, and it saves me buying or using something else for the same job.
To protect your plants from slugs when first growing cut the bottom off a large Squash bottle take the lid off the top and place over the plant also if your needing to protect a new small plant until established then cut a bottle to size taking the base and top off place over the plant,you can water the plant and protect from damage!
Love what Eddie J has done, just wish I knew where to get scrap Oak. I use lengths of guttering cut to the same size as the width of my raised beds, to start my veg early in my greenhouse.Removes the need to thin, and the planting out, as the whole lot just slides onto the raised bed. Baskets from my old freezer now protect my crops from pigeons helping themselves. Bits of carpet, make great liners for baskets, instead of the moss which the birds usually pinch for their nests.