Kat has kindly shared her top tips of ways to garden on a budget. I love the idea of seed swaps and taking cuttings- they're not as difficult as you might first think...
Gardening on a Budget
Written by Kat Haward
There is a misconception that gardening is expensive. People may spend hundreds of pounds on plants and making over their garden which can put some people off who can’t afford that. But gardening does not have to break the bank and it can be suited to many different budgets. There are many different ways to start gardening on a budget.
- Grow from seed
Growing from seed is a great way to start gardening on a budget. A packet of seeds costs a few pounds which can contain hundreds of seeds. Just sow as many as you want to grow, usually adding a few extras just in case. Once you have nurtured your seedlings, they will be ready to plant out. Not only do you have more control over the health of your plant and the variety, but it also saves you money. One expensive parts of gardening is buying full sized plants, so when you grow from seed it helps to bring down the cost. One perennial plant from a garden centre usually costs around £7-10, however, if you grow from seed you can have as many plants as you can grow, for half the price of one perennial. Growing from seed is much easier than you may think, so give it a go.
- Buy small
The larger the plants that you buy, the higher the price tag. This is because they are more established. Buying smaller will be much cheaper. You shouldn’t be deterred from buying small plants as you will find that they will establish and grow over time. Things like annuals will establish quickly, but perennials are likely to take more time because they have a longer lifecycle. My tip is if you do buy a small perennial plant but don’t want there to be a big gap, you should place annual flowers around them because they will flower this year, but the perennial may not.
- Seed swaps
Seed swaps are a brilliant way to start gardening on a budget. This is because they are free! Seed swaps work by people donating seed packets either bought or saved from their own plants. Then you can pick up any seed packet that you want, that have been donated by other people. Some seed swaps do ask you to donate seeds as well as taking them so you will have to check. Seed swaps usually happen in the autumn or early spring ready in time for sowing. Some swaps take place virtually and you get sent the seeds and others are in person. There are many different swaps from national seed swaps to a swap in your local area. If you don’t have one in your local area, why don’t you try to organise one.
- Take cuttings
Cuttings can be taken on certain plants like dahlias to produce more plants from them. You can do it to plants like roses, verbena bonariensis, lavender and geraniums. Cuttings don’t always root so you should try to take more than you want to account for this. Some people use a rooting hormone to help cuttings along, but you don’t have to use it for successful cuttings. Some plants that may be difficult to produce roots may need a rooting hormone, like hardwood cuttings. However, plants like dahlias don’t always need a rooting hormone because they can produce roots quickly.
- Divide perennials
Dividing perennials can help to increase how many plants you have around your garden and it also helps to maintain the health and vigour of the plant. This is because the plant has more space for the roots to grow and therefore can take up more nutrients. There are many different plants that are suitable for dividing such as hostas, ornamental grasses, daylilies, sedum and alchemilla mollis. Some plants do require different ways to split them because they have different types of roots. For example, some may need just a spade and others may need a knife. It is good to do some research as some plants may not tolerate having their roots disturbed. If you don’t have any perennials you can divide, ask a family member or friends if they have any. I have divided some alchemilla mollis from my mum’s garden and it is growing very well. Just make sure you water it regularly until it has established.
Thank you Kat for sharing your tips for gardening on a budget. Gardening is for everyone so I love this article.