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Get thrifty

The March 2012 issue of Gardeners’ World Magazine sees the start of a new series, Get thrifty, highlighting ways that we can all save money in the garden. Money-saving ideas this month include a cloche made from second-hand demijohns and a novel method of feeding fruit plants for free.

The first installment of the series also features thrifty tips from Gardeners’ World Magazine readers and visitors to this website. Do you have any tips of your own that you’re keen to share? Share your suggestions, below – if they’re published in a future issue you’ll win £10 in National Garden Gift Vouchers.




  • I found this helpful and would appreciate further thrifty tips in future editions

  • I have several:

    Use old pallets for raised borders

    Soaking seeds overnight in left over diet coke helps break down their hard coats

    Use old plastic bottles to water plants when on holiday. Add a few small holes and bury it in the soil near a thirsty plant. The water will slowly leak out directly into the soil at the level of the roots.

    Coffee shops are a great source of free used coffee grounds which make excellent fertiliser for the soil, espcially for acid loving plants.

    Buy plants out of season. Spring bulbs are cheap after Christmas, summer bulbs are cheap in autumn. Deciduous plants such as Japanese Maples and Spirea are often sold for a fraction of their price in winter. Bare root plants will also be a fraction of their summer potted friends.

    Look for larger plants when buying with a view to divide them. Some garden centre plants are several seedlings grown in one pot, so you will have several plants to split and have around the garden.

    Adding newspaper to the bottom of pots helps keep in moisture and stops them from drying out too quickly in the summer.

    Hydrangea, Busy Lizzy, Rosemary, Christmas Cacti and Geranium readily root in water, an easy way to bulk up your plants.

    The bakery counter is a good source of deep plastic containers with a lid. Great for starting off seedlings as you seal the moisture in a mini-greenhouse atmosphere.

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Carefully remove the plastic sleeves from your gardening magazines when they come in the post and use them to top your pots after sowing your seeds to keep in the moisture.

  • We've just had to get new fridge freezer and I've taken the salad drawers from the old fridge and I'm going to use them as mini cloches. I have also used an old plastic container that had glace cherries in and I've made a small hole in the lid so that I can thread the end of my ball of garden string through, it keeps the string dry and it never gets into a muddle.

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Ah, donutsmrs, that reminds me of when my children were small and the washing for rugby kit and PE days was getting difficult to dry in time  in a wet year, so my husband bought me a drier.  When it was no longer usefull I put the large aluminium drum out on the drive and filled it with bluebells for early nectar for  the bees and sedum spectabile for the butterflies in the autumn.  It is still there 35 years later , still doing its job with those two kinds of plant.  It gets worm tea for food occasionally and the odd weed pulled out.but it has been the best container ever.

  • plant pots/trays

    some garden centres/small garden shops will allow you to help yourself to pots/trays

    also compost when sowing seedlings; my next door neighbour uses the good stuff, i told him i do but i buy the cheap to fill the trays and then a lair of good john innes then the seeds and a lair of john innes  on top

  • i go to my local craft shop and buy lollipop sticks.  I use these to identify my seeds and plants around the garden.  I usually get 50 for less than a pound.  I also use toilet roll holders to plant up my sweet peas - lets them have a good root run

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    My friends save their sticks from their ice-creams at the amateur theatre we frequent automaticaly now, for me to take home and wash to make plant labels.

  • Any chance of a photo of you special container happymarion, it sounds really good.

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Will put an update of my potager build on the Garden design forum, donutmrs.

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