»

Spill the beans... on tricks for cheaply growing fruit & veg

New Post Advanced Search

Coronavirus: The latest from MSE


The MSE team is working extremely hard to keep the info we have about your travel rights, cancellation rights, sick pay (and more) up to date.
The official MSE guides: NEW MSE Coronavirus Guides

NEWSFLASH 31/3
RESCUE FLIGHTS FOR STRANDED BRITS * SCHOOL MEALS VOUCHERS * BRIGHTHOUSE COLLAPSES

Spill the beans... on tricks for cheaply growing fruit & veg

edited 21 August 2012 at 4:34PM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
66 replies 19.9K views
Former_MSE_DebsFormer_MSE_Debs
890 posts
edited 21 August 2012 at 4:34PM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
Spill the beans... on tricks for cheaply growing fruit & veg
[IMGRIGHT]http://images.moneysavingexpert.com/images/spillthebeans2.gif[/IMGRIGHT]

Are you a green-fingered guru? Share tips for growing fruit and veg cheaply in gardens, allotments or window boxes with the best products possible. What's best to grow? How much do you save?





[threadbanner] box [/threadbanner]
«134567

Replies

  • RASRAS Forumite
    28.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    1. Most packets contain far more seeds than you need. You do not need to sow them all or sow them all this year. You can split a packet of lettuce (1000 -2000 seeds) with a friend or 10 or sow them over the next three years and still share the cost with a friend or two.
    2. Learn how to save seeds of tomatoes, peas and French beans as they all come true. You can even save tomato seeds and cook the rest. This saves you loads of money every year.
    3.Plan your space - even if it is only a tiny one - to minimise the cost by being realistic about how much seed you need and maximise the output.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • lozza1985lozza1985 Forumite
    3.4K posts
    I think the best thing I've discovered since I got my own garden - asking relatives for unwanted plants - as things grow and they need splitting then it means you gain new plants to help build your garden, mine had just grass and 3 shrubs when I moved in but it's now pretty full and hasn't cost me too much.

    Also, making your own compost. It's a lot easier than I thought, and is really helping to improve the soil as I'm on heavy clay, and it's just made from all the waste that would have gone in the brown wheelie bin otherwise.
    Avon Lady since 2009 - I help on the Avon hints & tips thread to help other reps/new sales leaders as I was helped so much by it when I first started out :A
  • LeifLeif Forumite
    3.7K posts
    I like growing things which are costly or go off quickly. Mange tout is easy, tomatoes are easy, and I grow species of chilli I cannot buy such as Rocoto. I tried Rocket this year but it failed due to the weather! The easiest thing in the world to grow, and so expensive in the shops ... Herbs are good. Cost a fortune in the shops and you only need a little bit. And the insects like them too.
    Warning: This forum may contain nuts.
  • edited 21 August 2012 at 9:34PM
    A._BadgerA._Badger Forumite
    5.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    edited 21 August 2012 at 9:34PM
    I'm afraid I really think the whole notion of 'saving money' by gardening is almost always misplaced. A few items are cost-effective (at random, blueberries, French beans, anything 'out of season') but for the most part a serious analysis of the money spent on seeds, plants, materials, fertilisers, pesticides (if used) and the incalculable hours spent doing it suggests that it is usually far cheaper to let the farmer do it for you.

    What you do gain is greater variety, fresher produce, healthy activity and tremendous satisfaction.
  • A._Badger wrote: »
    I'm afraid I really think the whole notion of 'saving money' by gardening is almost always misplaced. A few items are cost-effective (at random, blueberries, French beans, anything 'out of season') but for the most part a serious analysis of the money spent on seeds, plants, materials, fertilisers, pesticides if used) and the incalculable hours spent doing it suggests that it is usually far cheaper to let the farmer do it for you.

    What you do gain is greater variety, fresher produce, healthy activity and tremendous satisfaction.

    Some things are certainly more expensive and if your doing it for the money not really worth the hassle though i suspect most dont do it for the money.

    Other things to add tot he list of being worthwhile:
    Runner beans
    courgettes
    Strawberries
    Rhubarb (How much in the supermarkets for a few?!?!??!)
    mangetout
    spring onions
    salad crops
  • tgroom57tgroom57 Forumite
    1.4K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭
    Redcurrants and white currants are very easy to grow and crop well, neither need full sun. Redcurrants can be used for making jam to help it set, eg strawberry jam.

    My best crop is from local hedgerows - mostly blackberries (2010 £70; 2011 £50; 2012 1st week £9) and apples- our local Asda very kindly planted several apple trees by the bus stop and they cropped heavily last year.

    PS you might want to check their maths ! >> http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=274699369

  • A._Badger wrote: »
    I'm afraid I really think the whole notion of 'saving money' by gardening is almost always misplaced. A few items are cost-effective (at random, blueberries, French beans, anything 'out of season') but for the most part a serious analysis of the money spent on seeds, plants, materials, fertilisers, pesticides (if used) and the incalculable hours spent doing it suggests that it is usually far cheaper to let the farmer do it for you.

    What you do gain is greater variety, fresher produce, healthy activity and tremendous satisfaction.

    I agree with you on the actual cost savings... However, the last two things you mention are worth far more than the money spent in my opinion.

    Some thing I do are.

    Make your own compost... Or get some from your local council dump.
    Plan your garden wisely & make the most use of space/sun possible..... I bought 16 stacking pots from a boot sale, cut a 3 inch whole in the centre & stacked them Dow over my clothes pole to grow herbs, onions & strawberries in. I also have tayberries & various trees growing in fan or espalier shapes against the fences.

    I also take a look round the DIY stores for plants on a Monday, as they generally try and reduce this stock to get rid before the next weekends stock arrives.... After the may bank holiday I got strawberry, pepper, tomato, raspberry, tayberries, carrot, lettuce & rhubarb plants for under £20 in total.
  • A._BadgerA._Badger Forumite
    5.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    tgroom57 wrote: »
    Redcurrants and white currants are very easy to grow and crop well, neither need full sun. Redcurrants can be used for making jam to help it set, eg strawberry jam.

    My best crop is from local hedgerows - mostly blackberries (2010 £70; 2011 £50; 2012 1st week £9) and apples- our local Asda very kindly planted several apple trees by the bus stop and they cropped heavily last year.

    PS you might want to check their maths ! >> http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=274699369

    Your comment about hedgerows reminds me of an amusing story I was told in one of the local farm shops.

    The owner told me that he would frequently get customers asking him if he had any blackberries. He would frown, raise a finger and point to the hedgerows across the lane which were bursting with them - for free.

    What is truly disturbing is that apparently a number of customers still didn't 'get it'!
  • grrmichgrrmich Forumite
    118 posts
    1. Check to see if your local council offers free/ cheap compost at recycling centres or refuse tips.
    2. Grow your plants from seed if possible. I use pots/ reuse polystyrene trays from garden centres to save space until there is a space ready for them.
    3. Save seeds where possible e.g. french beans, lettuce, cosmos, love in a mist.
    4. Buy a couple of strawberry plants, and make new ones from the "runners" the plants send out after fruiting. Plants crop well for around 3 years.
    5. Make your own compost. Add your shreaded bills/ newspapers etc
    6. Make your own liquid feed by either growing comfry, collecting the leaves, or collecting the leaves of nettles before they flower. Put the leaves in a bucket, add water and cover as the liquid will start to smell pretty foul. After a few weeks you can dilute the mixture with water and apply to plants. You can do the same with annual weeds but definately not perineiel.
    7. Keep an eye out for skips and discarded but useful rubbish. e.g. bits of wood for raised beds, bricks for weighing down netting and fleece, and my favourite-divan bed bases. When you remove the material, the wooden base makes an excellent frame to cover with netting and protect cabbages. Just paint with a little wood treatment.
    8. Make sure you clean your tools after every use to make them last longer.
    9. In late spring, collect fallen branches under trees to use as pea sticks for peas, mange tout and dwarf bean plants.
    10. Sow a small section of salad leaves every 2-3 weeks to ensure a continuous supply (at £1.50 a bag in the supermarket makes it a very cost efficient way of filling up on salad)
    11. Collect net packaging from fruit bought in shops to store fruit in.
    12. Make chutneys/ jams from surplus crops, making sure to use recycled jars.
    13. Use toilet rolls to grow seeds in instead of pots
    14. In autumn, collect fallen leaves, and put into a special bag, or home made chicken wire cage. It will decompose and turn into leafmould which is excellent to add to your soil.
    15. Try to find some stables that are happy for you to collect manure for free so you don't have to pay for it.
    16. Try to share seeds and plants with friends/ family/ fellow allotmenteers.
    17. Sign up to seed companys web newsletters so you can catch bargains.
    18. Use large water bottles with the bottoms cut off as cloches over baby plants.
    19. When using garden string, tie in a bow so when it's no longer required, you can untie it and save it for next year.
  • valk_scotvalk_scot Forumite
    5.3K posts
    Make as much compost as you possibly can. Everything from used tea bags and other kitchen waste to lawn clippings to shredded newspaper and the sweepings from the rabbit cage can go into compost, the average family can easily fill five or six of these big green bins every year.

    Keep your eyes open for free landscaping materials from Freecycle, skips (ask first) and your neighbour's attic conversion to build beds and garden structures rather than spending a fortune on dinky little kits for beds etc.

    Propagate your own plants...strawberries from runners, fruit bushes from cuttings and rhubarb and comfrey from crowns and offshoots, for example. Save seeds too, and swap with other gardeners to get a wider range of plants.

    Sow your own seeds! Twelve young cabbage plants raised from seed in old yoghurt pots cost very little, to buy the same in the shops wold be three or four pounds.

    Churches and horticultural societies often have plant sales as a fund raiser, you can get some lovely specimans there for very little.

    Look out for cheap plants at the big garden centres reduced to clear sections, ditto supermarket plants. They usually only need a bit of extra water and they're fine.

    £££ shops and Lidl/Aldi are a good source of cheap basic seeds and small bare rooted bush plants. For fruit trees though live ones in pots are a better buy, or buy bare rooted trees from a good nursery supplier.
    Val.
This discussion has been closed.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support