I don't know about you, but money's getting tight around here. So I've been thinking, how can I save money at the allotment? Let's qualify that. I'm looking to spend no more than £5 per month on allotment-related stuff.
Luckily, I'm not the first person to ask this sort of question. I've done a bit of research, and I've found some actions that should keep me under my limit. Maybe they'll help you if you're looking to trim your gardening budget.
Why buy fertilizer when you can make your own from stinging nettles? Yep, those stinging nettles. The ones you used to fall in as a kid. They're redeemed. Here's how:
- Fill a bucket half full of nettles
- Top it up with water
- Leave your the nettle soup to mature
- When it starts to smell (believe me, you'll know) drain off the liquid into a watering can
- Water your vegetables when you would have added liquid fertilizer
Each batch should take a few weeks. Soup-er.
Slug pellets aren't cheap. Last I heard they weren't very organic either. So why not try egg shells instead?
Rinse them out, crush them and store them in an old margerine tub. Once you've got enough, sprinkle yourself a perimeter around your courgettes. Apparently the slugs head home with new insecurities. Plus, the minerals in the egg shells improve your soil. I'd like to see a slug pellet that does that.
You know that corner? The one that you haven't managed to put to good use? If you're not careful, it'll be invaded by weeds. You want to mulch. Trust me. But why spend money on some evil-looking black plastic, when you can mulch for free? Here's how:
- Acquire a corrugated cardboard box (the bigger, the better)
- Peel off any sellotape and any labels you can
- Remove any staples
- Break the box down and lay it on the offending patch of land
- Be sure to overlap the sheets of cardboard so that weeds can't squeeze through the gap
- Weigh down the cardboard with stones/bricks/small children
Cardboard won't wreck your organic soil, and will rot down eventually. I learnt this money-saving tip from Jane Perrone's excellent book.
Apparently, plant pots are the new plastic bags. They cost money as well. Not very much, but money nevertheless. But guess what? You can make your own, out of newspaper. Here's one I prepared earlier.
- Grab a straight-sided glass and a couple of sheets of newspaper
- Lay the newspaper sheets flat, on top of each other
- Fold the newspaper over so it forms a long strip, which is 4-5cm wider than the height of the glass (trim the newspaper if necessary)
- Roll the glass up in the newspaper, leaving about 1cm of newspaper poking over the top
- Fold the top of the strip over the rim of the glass
- Wiggle the glass downwards, out from within the ring of paper
- Now hold the glass above the ring of paper and push in into the centre, until the top is level with the folded rim
- Fold the bottom of the paper ring onto the bottom of the glass to form the base of the pot
- Pull the glass upwards, out of the paper ring
- Fill the pot with compost, and you're away
If you had problems following that, try watching this instead:
There you go: a quartet of ideas to reduce your expenditure and recycle things you'd otherwise throw away. And not a mention of greens or browns. Any other ideas for saving money at the allotment?