The little microclimate in my sheltered corner of the world finally caught up today, and we got snow. Normally, I love snow, but with my usual sledging partner 8 months pregnant I chose to mope around the house doing man jobs, like drilling holes, putting shelves up, and fixing bikes.
In between this, I did some web surfing and stumbled across a forum post in which a gentleman says that as much as he loves his allotment hobby, he has pledged not to let him cost more than a fiver a month.
Resourceful and thrifty, two of my favourite things. Inspired and desperate to do something loosely veg growing based as my garden disappeared under 4 inches of the white stuff, I put the drill down. It was time to start saving some everyday household items for use on the veg patch this coming season.
I use these for growing in modules. Cut in half or thirds, they’re particularly useful for seeds that are tricky to germinate, like parsnips. Fill them with multipurpose compost, pop a couple of seeds on top and then sprinkle over some more compost, and once the seedlings get a few centimetres high you can plant the whole thing out. The cardboard will simply rot down into the soil.
You can use biodegradable pots from the garden centre, but of course, they’ll cost you. 🙂
Although not strictly a household item, I remembered the wife had been hacking away at the garden this week, so I collected up all the twigs and cuttings. Snipped down to 2-3 feet high, they’re perfect for dwarf pea plants to grow up.
I once paid two quid for a bag of white plant labels, and then I saw my mum cutting up margarine tubs and using them instead. I bowed to her frugal ways and spent the next two quid on seeds.
Before the sad closure of my local nursery last summer, I never paid for plastic plant pots as they always had a big box of a free second had ones for customers to help themselves to. Since then, my supplies have run dry, so I’ve used yoghurt pots to fill the void with no problems at all. Just remember to put a few holes in the bottom.
Plastic Milk Bottles and Drink Cans
These make great safety covers for the tops of pointy sticks and canes and double up as effective bird scarers when they rattle in the wind.
Even before I took on my allotment I was a sucker for an old wooden box but now I’ve got a use for them. They’re perfect for salad and other leafy veg and being mobile, you can start them off early indoors before moving them outside when things warm up.
My favourite boxes are old wine ones, but even a stray piece of wood can be cut up and banged into a presentable planter.
Big squash bottles are great for turning into cloches for frost protection and early sowings. Simply cut one in half and slot it over the young plant. They might not be as stylish and attractive as a purpose-made cloche, but they’re not £30 either…
The other day I went to the dump and was rather surprised at how much cardboard was in the recycling there. Large pieces of cardboard are really handy for laying over parts of a plot that is work in progress, as they keep the weeds down whilst you work out a plan of attack, and then just compost down into the soil.