This month’s achievements in our frugal garden: May 2017

As we head towards the end of May, it is time to look back at our  achievements in our frugal garden.

It is always hard to accomplish exactly what we want in the garden. We both love getting out in the fresh air to plant, cut back and keep it looking tidy. Time is limited because we have to do that boring going to work thing! If only we could stay home and tend our garden it would be our little piece of paradise!

We also don’t have endless cash to spend. This can be frustrating as we know what we would like but can’t always justify the expense. But it’s easy to have a frugal garden as well as a beautiful one if you are creative and put in some time.

Managing our time

This year, we decided on a little and often approach. Rather than being intimidated by the amount of work to do in the garden and waiting until we have lots of time to do it, we have been focussing on one task at a time. Weeding a single bed, cutting the hedge, sowing the vegetables, etc. We might only spend an hour or two in our garden over a weekend but it makes all the difference. Even 10 minutes in the evening helps.

Seeing the fruits of our labours (literally in the case of the redcurrants) encourages us to do a bit more. I might pot up a few plants after work, Mr S will whip round with the lawnmower, etc or attack the weeds on the patio.

Flushed with success

Yesterday it was a boiling hot day but I was determined to sort the greenhouse. It needed to have some compost dug in and the tomatoes, chillis and cucumbers planted. We were sweating like pigs by the time we had finished but it’s all done. A heatwave wasn’t perhaps the best time to choose for this task!

I managed to pot up half of my geraniums, purchased as plugs when they were on sale in Wyevales recently. Because they were cheap we ended up buying loads. These will make a lovely display. I will finish the others over the next couple of days. Little and often!

Ways to save money: growing from seeds and cuttings

To save time and money we are focussing on planting flowering shrubs in the beds. We have grown some of these from cuttings, such as beautiful wallflowers and spreading geraniums. They fill a space in no time and cost literally nothing. Others have been purchased very cheaply in places like B&M, Home Bargains, Lidl and Aldi. These stores are also good for bags of compost at very reasonable prices. We  grew sweetpeas from seed and these are beginning to grow in pots up wicker frames that I picked up for a fiver.

Look in the reduced section

We managed to find trays of violas and pansies for just a pound each recently on the reduced section at the garden centre. These are all over the place now and looking fabulous. It is often worth looking as the reductions are often substantial and you can coax plants back to their best with a little love and attention.

Growing your own food in the frugal garden

It’s a win-win. A pack of seeds costs a pound or two and you can use half and reseal the pack for the following year. You can have top quality fresh produce on your plate ten minutes after it has been picked!  We have cut down a little this year but the veg patch still has rainbow chard, broad beans, runners, courgettes, pumpkins and Jerusalem artichokes. We haven’t grown stuff that will be cheap in the shops. This, on top of the produce in the greenhouse, should save a lot of money over the summer and give us some exercise too.

What have you achieved this month in your frugal garden? Do you find it saves you money or do you spend a fortune in the garden centre?

4 thoughts on “This month’s achievements in our frugal garden: May 2017

  1. That’s a busy garden! I admire your tenacity. I do not do gardening but husband has been busy with the small vegetable plot at the end of our garden. The runner beans are (apparently ….I rarely venture that far into the garden) just starting to curl up the canes, the leeks and tomatoe are looking strong and healthy, the radish are showing and the spring onions are doing nothing at all. He has now sown some more; we have renewed hope! Rhubarb crumble has been made twice so far, with lots more rhubarb promised.

  2. I’m in the far north of Michigan, USA. I must have left my green thumb at our previous residence since I can’t seem to grow a thing here. After four or five years of spending money on plants, seeds, compost etc.. this year I paid for a CSA. I feel this was the best choice for me, for this area. I may even come out ahead on vegetables since I always bought extra to preserve. I have invested in some medicinal plants to (hopefully) help with our awful healthcare coverage.
    Your garden and flowers are beautiful! We’re still greening up. Our rhubarb is still just a foot high. I see a few flowers on the apple trees. The plum tree may have a bumper crop, finally!

    • I had to look up what a CSA might be – Community Supported Agriculture? How does that work?

  3. I’m on the coast in Essex and the recent drought has played havoc with some of my plants. My tomatoes, peppers and chillies are still on the small side but thanks to having a greenhouse I can extend the season a little. I recently turned to the damp tissue method for germination and its speeded up my successional growing tremendously. Like you I look for the end of lines and nearly dead but not quite plants being sold cheap.

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