Posted: 27/05/2014 at 17:20
I've had my allotment for a couple of weeks now, and it's been a constant battle trying to source the equipment needed for such a big challenge, so here's a few things I've found has helped me keep the cost down thus far.
I'm new to gardening, let alone owning an allotment, and was anticipating many long months of waiting before getting my mitts on one, but 6 weeks later, I had a massive patch of brambles to call my own. I didn't own a spade, a fork, anything. So I had to source it all myself! Here are what I have found cheaply and where!
Fork, Spades, Soil Rakes, are all £5 in asda, they are strong and relatively sturdy, and the cheapest I've seen them brand new. Homebase's value range is twice the price, and less sturdy, but are worth looking into when they have their 15% off days as I got my OH's fork for around £8 and it is heavier and a little larger than my ASDA equivalent.
Compost, Topsoil, Manure: This week I got over 200L of the stuff for £14 rather than the £30+ it should have been. How? This time of the month is when things like stock takes happen, and any damaged stock gets reduced for quick sale, in this case any bags that had tears in them, got reduced to half price. I'd have bought more because there were bags upon bags, but my car's size limited me. If you're a penny counter like myself, I never bothered looking at the compost section before at Homebase who I find pricey anyway, but I certainly got lucky, and will always take a wee peek in future! (I also got a sorry looking chili plant that day for £2 down from £7, and it's starting to thrive now!)
Wheelbarrow: This essential piece of kit had eluded me since getting the plot, every one I saw in garden centres just seemed so expensive! My local blooms sells them for £80 and they are pretty plastic colours, which seems a little ridiculous for my muddy old allotment! Even argos' super budget one is £30 and looking at the reviews it seems my money would go down the drain. That and it's flatpack, and I have the DIY skills of a pigeon. I looked on selling pages like Gumtree and Preloved, Ebay too, to no avail! I asked at my allotment's on site shop, they scoffed and said I should go to Wickes, they're only £50! *sigh*
Then I had a thought. Scrap metal. I called the first company that came up in my google search, and low and behold they had one. I walked the quite ample walk to look at it, metal, ancient, and rusty. Perfect for living life on an allotment. I took it on the spot, and the best thing is, it cost me £2. TWO POUNDS. That was the value of the metal. My jaw hit the floor, I was ready to at least part with a tenner, and anything up to twenty we are that in need of one!
I don't even care I walked a mile and a bit in a maxi dress and sandals to the allotment with it, through the centre of town, it's probably the very best purchase I've ever made! It was this that made me think of making the post! Definitely try your local scrap merchants! Nobody had suggested this to me, so I don't know if it's common knowledge at all. I was reminded to call because I saw a scrap man parked up with a brand new wheelbarrow in amongst washing machines and bikes, and I'd meant to call him and I utterly forgot.
Canes for peas, sweet peas etc: Try 99p shops, I got 10 for 99p which is great! ASDA are also selling smaller ones for £1.50 which are thin, and seem pretty good for our tomato plants.
Sheds: At least in my local Freecycle.org they are always popping up, if you have the transport they're great! Sadly i've missed out on multiple because I just can't afford to hire a van, nor do I have the tools to construct one, which is currently being a bit of a hassle as I have to lug the tools to and from the house. If you get an allotment you'll soon be living on f