Gardening for some is a passion and for others just another chore. For me, enjoyment of watching something grow, mature and flower is fascinating. Plants don’t all have to be about huge flowers, they can be the focus or the backdrop or just plain useful. Every year we grow our own food in the garden, though I’ll be the first to admit we couldn’t live off the land we have, it’s more of a novelty thing.
There are advantages other than cost to growing your own, the flavours are far superior and the knowledge that you didn’t spray everything in sight with chemicals. I can remember when I was growing up in England that quite a lot of people had apple trees in their back gardens the obligatory rhubarb patch as well as a sprinkling of gooseberry bushes, damson trees and in rough open space you could find blackberries by the thousand. Coming home from school at a young age we would often scoff free damsons off some old ladies tree. I do believe it was called “scrumping”, though that term is more synonymous with stealing apples off a tree. I’m sure growing up in an area that was dominated by old Victorian houses helped as it provided a large variety of mature fruit sources, but a love of the outdoors helped too. I’m guessing I was a permanent source of disgust for my mother because you couldn’t keep me indoors and I was always covered in muck.
Enough about me getting dirty, I was talking about plants. When Mrs CBB and I first bought out current house we used to buy young tomato and pepper plants, grow them on a little and then plant them outside. Over the last 2-3 years we have increased our usage and therefore increased the amount of plants we need to sustain that harvest. Buying pre-grown plants from a nursery would cost a lot of money and defeat part of the object we set out for ourselves, to save money.
Gardening Advice For Beginners
This year is no different other than the fact of growing the seeds has become a little cheaper by using old egg cartons instead of those “Peat Containers” or “Coconut Mat Trays”. There’s nothing wrong with coming up with ways to be frugal that will save you some money in the budget, after all saving money is the name of the game here. After collecting up many egg cartons over the last year I simply cut or should I say separated the lid from the egg holder portion. The lid is lined with a blue recycling bag cut into pieces large enough to sit inside and have excess on the edges, this then forms my saucer or watering tray.
If you are wondering how to plant seeds and whether starting plants from seeds is difficult, it really isn’t. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps. I’m sure the professionals have all sorts of amazing ideas, soils to use, etc but this has worked for me for many years. Fill you egg cartons with seed/cutting mix, plant your seeds and water. Within 2 weeks I’ve already got a carpet growing in the front bedroom by the window where there is plenty of sun and it’s warm. Planting seeds indoors is possible with the right amount of sunshine and care but don’t think they will grow on their own as you do need to check in on them daily.
Growing Vegetables From Seed
We kept our eyes peeled on various shopping trips and purchased multiple packs of seeds to plant over the past couple of months including garden flower seeds. It’s not often to find discount coupons for seeds so we grab them when we see a good sale. You can even order seeds online from retailers or farmers and homesteaders who sell them on Ebay. Sometimes you can pick up prize seeds for a reasonable price. In this case we paid $0.67 a packet at Home Hardware and some seeds are from Dollarama at $0.33 a packet. Nothing fancy, just everyday garden seeds for the frugal garden.
We also have seeds from our tomatoes and peppers that I will try to grow this year as an experiment. If they work we will just collect the seeds each year and save even more money instead of purchasing the packets. Currently we have 2 different types of Tomatoes, Spring Onions, Peppers, Fennel (Anise or Finocchio) and Petunias for the hanging baskets. There will also be Basil, Swiss Chard and Mixed Salad planted a little later in tubs. This will add to what is already out in the garden such as Rapini, Parsley, Chives, Mint, Oregano, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Grape Vine (no grapes just yet) and Crab Apples.
The seed packets are worth reading and then keeping for reference purposes. Reading the sowing information such as time of year and then the planting outside instructions help in harvesting the best possible crop. I have an area of the garden where my tomatoes and peppers seem to like it so this years plants will go in the same patch. Other plants will be moved around the garden depending on how they performed last year, it’s all about trying something new and learning from it. Last year I lined the hanging basket coconut liners with plastic bags (with a couple of small holes in the bottom) which led to reuse and savings this year as they never rotted down. This year I will once again use the compost in my compost bin from fallen the leaves last fall in our garden and to put in our hanging baskets.
You could say it’s a little like “The Good Life” which was a BBC comedy from the 70’s about a couple going self-sufficient although they had a slightly bigger garden than us. If I had a lot more land I’m sure I could fill it with even more crops like beans, cucumbers, leeks, potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots and get a chicken run too. I’m not planning on becoming a small farm but growing your own vegetables and flowers can be done even from an apartment as long as you have a patio/balcony area and the best part is the reward for your time and effort. I’m sure I’ll be reporting all summer long how our frugal garden is doing so make sure you subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on the action. I hope I’ve given you a few small vegetable garden ideas today so that you too can start in your own garden from seed.
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- Throw Seeds at Your Garden (slate.com)
- Fall Gardening, Go Grow Something And Save (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Landscaping On A Budget In The Canadian Soil (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- How I turned My Passion And Skills Into Making Extra Money (canadianbudgetbinder.com)