10 Best Money Saving Sustainable Gardening tips

Gardening can be expensive and we all like a bargain.

On this page are some great tips on how to save money in your garden.

Free Mulch

make a leaf mould bin

There is a lot written about home made compost and even more about commercial composters to buy. Truth is, as I gallantly heard one of the GQT panellists admit recently, making compost is not that easy.

But making leaf mould is, It makes excellent organic matter to improve soil, and sifted is great potting compost. 

No need to shell out for a bin, just wrap chicken wire around 4 stakes and fill it up. Many gardens have plenty of leaves and this is a free garden resource.

Grow your compost

Peat free compost

Compost is expensive, and we need a lot throughout the growing season.Perceived garden wisdom is to use fresh compost and plenty of it and not to reuse.

I re use compost all the time, otherwise it would cost too much.  Not all plants need a diet of compost, mix it in with added soil, and other organic material.

Also, if you are planting spring-flowering bulbs you can definately re use old compost. Here is why How to re use old compost when planting spring bulbs.

Plant ties

Cheap and effective plant ties

Raffia makes excellent plant ties .It is  cheap and found in most garden centres. 

It looks unintrusive on the plants and is biodegradable .

Although it looks quite fragile, it is in fact much tougher than it looks and is ideal for garden use. It will degrade, so I tend to use it mainly for herbaceous perennials  and annuals as it is good for a season. At the end of summer/autumn it will die back along with the plant and degrade over winter.

Double your plants

How to Make 6 plants from 3

When you are buying a plant, look for a pot which is full  and has with roots to bottom of the container. Retailers sometimes keep plants in pots longer than the price tag suggests.

Instead of repotting, think about dividing it instead. Just because you have purchased 3 plants doesn't mean you have 3, you may have 6. You can safely divide the plant and have twice as many. Shown above are Nepeta which arrived a decent size, eminently dividable. The image shows the 3 plants after I have divided them to make 6 Nepeta for the price of 3. 
You can do this with all sorts of plants, including perennials. 

Free plant supports

Home made plant support

I am a big fan of home made plant supports.

Commercial metal plants supports are expensive, and although durable, they do not last indefinitely.

I keep virtually all prunings, from shrubs, coppiced Cornus, lifting the lower branches from shrubs and fir trees. All make excellent plant support.

Cornus and flexible cuttings are especially useful to make into rings and hoops. The more robust prunings make great stakes, and they will last for more than one season. More info on free plant supports.


Easy Plant Labels

Home made Plant Labels

Plant labels are not cheap, but if you are raising plants from seed, or as plug plants, you need to label the containers.

Many plant labels offered for sale are plastic. Ideally, the less plastic, the better.

An easy way to make your own is to use  Bamboo canes. I split them into small pieces and often in half again. They can be reused, or composted after use, and it all makes for greener gardening.

You can also use off cuts from prunings if you are cutting back a shrub with light coloured bark this also works well and looks much more natural.

Make a propagator

Home made leaf Mould

You can make a small propagator using  a polythene bag and an elastic band/tie. This is an easy way to make a simple propagator and  you can re use plastic so it's not single use.

Put the cutting or seeds into a small container. Insert a stick to keep the plastic bag upright and stop it from collapsing onto the seedling.

Cover the pot with a plastic bag and seal with a rubber band. The important thing is to make sure the seal is tight so air does not escape/or get in. I find elastic bands are ideal for this. Sometimes you may find a plastic bag just the circumference of the container, and it will make a good seal.

Make a Plant Spray

Home made plant spray

Whenever I buy a commerical plant mister or spray, it always fails within 12  months or so. I've tried all sorts of different sprays, cheap and expensive. I now make my own.

They last at least as long, if not longer. When it does fail, it has costs you nothing, and you have reused the plastic.

Take any spray bottle and wash them out very thoroughly and it's then ready water and spray your seedlings.

I label mine just to avoid drenching seedlings with Rose Clear.