Spring bouts of sunshine and showers are working together to make everything grow abundantly. This is great news for anyone with outside space that needs perking up.
Sunshine and rain are free, but many other aspects of gardening can be pricey, particularly when it comes to buying plants and tools. According to Statista, we spend an average of £678 on our gardens each year. So there have to be ways to cut that bill down.
One of my first principles is always to get as much as possible for free, and when it comes to growing things, there are freebies if you know where to look.
The free app Olio is a good place to start. This is a community of people who give away all sorts of things, from food and plants to cuttings, seeds, pots and other gardening items.
You can also find free plants, pots and garden tools on such sites as Freecycle.org, Nextdoor.co.uk, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree Free Stuff. You can post requests for items there, too.
Spring bouts of sunshine and showers are working together to make everything grow abundantly. This is great news for anyone with outside space that needs perking up
Sunshine and rain are free, but many other aspects of gardening can be pricey, particularly when it comes to buying plants and tools
A lso, speak to your neighbours about sharing cuttings and unwanted plants. My friend, Adam, spent days pulling out pond ‘weeds’ that were choking some of the other plants, only to find that they were actually aerating plants and cost a bomb to replace. He realised he could have offered the plants to neighbours.
Join your local gardening group to make new friends and swap seeds and cuttings. These groups often have plant sales as well that are usually much cheaper than the garden centre.
Another budget-friendly strategy is to grow plants that are self-seeding. Garden designer Jilayne Rickards says this means you can harvest your own seeds and baby plants and either re-sow them in your garden or swap them with your neighbours. She recommends fennel, gilliflower, granny’s bonnet, poppies and lady’s mantle for this.
It’s also worth choosing perennial plants over annuals for the bulk of your garden. Perennials last year after year, so you’ll only have to pay out once. Admittedly they’re not usually as colourful as annuals, so it’s worth budgeting for a few of those if possible.
When you get a new perennial, you might be able to divide it to make more plants. Just before planting, split the rootball in half with a knife or sharp spade.
Don’t waste any peelings or uncooked food: turn it into compost to help nourish your plants through the year. You can also put in grass cuttings, tea bags, crushed eggshells, fallen leaves and even cardboard egg boxes as they all break down nicely.
Robert Dyas has a grey compost caddy by Addis for £6.99 and some councils offer discounts on compost bins and water butts.
If you’ve got a coffee machine, save the grounds. They contain nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, so they’re a great nutrient boost for your plants. Just sprinkle the grounds directly onto your soil and lightly rake them in. Your local cafe will give you some grounds for free.
Jack Sutcliffe, co-founder of Power Sheds, suggests using discarded wine corks as vegetable markers. He says: ‘Slice one-fifth of the cork off to reveal a flat surface, then use a permanent marker to write each vegetable’s name on.’
My friend, Wanda, who keeps horses, occasionally brings me a bag of ripe manure to spread on my roses and other, grateful, plants. But if you live in the country, you may find that locals with horses leave bags of the useful stuff outside their gates for passers-by to pick up.
Chloe, a blogger and horticulturalist from Getintogardening.co.uk, adds that you can also use Epsom Salts as a DIY fertiliser. Just add a teaspoon once a month.
It’s much cheaper to grow plants from seed than to buy at the garden centre. Wilko, B&M and The Range are Chloe’s go-tos for seeds on a budget.
Rather than buying plastic pots to grow your seedlings, you can create your own, bio-degradable ones using this newspaper!
Take a double page, fold it over a few times and roll it around a tin or jar to create a tube that you fold at the bottom to create a base. Then fill your paper tub with soil, plant your seeds and once they’ve grown into seedlings you can plant the whole thing in the ground because the newspaper decomposes.
@Joesgarden.official on Instagram has a video tutorial if you’d like to watch an expert do this.
- Got a question for Jasmine? Email her at AskJasmine@ MoneyMagpie.com
Are your passwords too easy to hack?
Online scams are on the rise, but we are not helping ourselves by using ridiculously simple passwords for our banking and other transactions.
Can you believe the word ‘password’ is used in 4.9 million cases? Other common passwords used are 123456, guest, chocolate, Charlie and football — so it’s little wonder 83 per cent of them can be cracked in less than a second, according to password managing company NordPass. If you use any of these, then change them now.
Can you believe the word ‘password’ is used in 4.9 million cases?
A safer password has more characters rather than fewer. According to The World Economic Forum, a standard eight-letter password contains 209 billion possible combinations, but a computer can calculate the right one in seconds, whereas a 12-character password with an uppercase letter, a number and a symbol would take 34,000 years to crack.
But once you have a good password, don’t use it for everything (which is another thing that the majority of us do) because then hackers have to crack it only once to get into all your accounts.
Satnam Narang, a research engineer at cyber firm Tenable, says: ‘It’s important people use tools like Apple’s built-in ‘keychain’ for saving passwords or professional password websites’. These include Dashlane, Keeper, 1Password, RoboForm and NordPass, which can create passwords and remember them for you.
If you would like to create your own, save them in one secure place at dashlane.com which has a free version that saves unlimited passwords.
Get paid to go to U.S. music festivals
Would you like to be paid to attend music festivals around the U.S. with a friend? Online booking platform Crewfare is offering this part-time gig to a festival lover.
Would you like to be paid to attend music festivals around the U.S. with a friend?
The package includes air fare and hotels, VIP passes to festivals in Charleston, South Carolina; New York; and Bridgeport, Connecticut, plus merchandise, music playlists and snacks. And you’ll be paid $5,000. To apply, go to crewfare.com/festie-for-hire before May 31.
Apply for pension credit. If you’re a pensioner on a low income, then make sure you claim for pension credit before May 19, 2023.
Pension credit is a very under-claimed benefit, but it can be a helpful as apart from the money you get, it also means you’re eligible for help with heating costs and a free TV licence.
It now triggers the cost-of-living-support payment, worth £301. For details see gov.uk/pension-credit.
If you live in Yorkshire, or just love holidays there (like me), the Coastliner bus company has dropped all its fares to £2 each way until the end of June.
You can travel between Leeds, York, Whitby, and the North York Moors (including Heartbeat and Harry Potter filming locations like Goathland).
The £2 ‘price drop’ is happening on other Transdev-operated bus routes in Lancashire, too. For a full list visit: transdevbus.co.uk/coastliner/pricedrop-coastliner
Sing along to Eurovision with a cut-price karaoke machine. Shoppers who spend £50 or more exclusively in-store at The Food Warehouse can buy a Daewoo Bluetooth Karaoke Machine for half-price. It was £100 but costs just £50 to those who spend more than £50 elsewhere in the store.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk