Gardening is a hot topic now with news about it everywhere: allotments, grow your own, vegetable patches, apartment and balcony gardens, containers, and victory gardens. It's great but the truth is it can also get quite expensive.
Here are four ways to keep the spending down while still enjoying the thrill of seeing little shoots popping up from your careful tending.
1. Plan Ahead
--Decide what kind of garden you want. Unstructured, informal ones with wildflowers and random containers are cheaper than formal gardens
--Vegetable gardens can work out to be cheaper than flower gardens and more productive
--Plan projects that you can do yourself, rather than hiring someone.
2. Cut the Cost of Plants
--Compare prices--often supermarkets and hardware stores are cheaper than garden centres and the quality can be just as good
--Planting from seed is cheaper than buying individual plants
--Take cuttings from fellow gardeners
--Split plants when they are big enough
--Go to local plant sales, often at churches or people's gardens
--Buy small specimens of plants--they are cheaper and still grow bigger over the long run
--Perennials come up every year--try not to buy annuals which are finished after one season
--Herbs go on and and can be grown outside or on the window sill.
3. Don't Invest in Lots of Equipment
--Most gardening can be done with a few tools: a lawnmower, a hoe, spade, trowel and secateurs
--Check the clearance section of the hardware store for deals on larger, heavier items
--Borrow the bigger tools that you use less frequently from a friendly neighbour
--Or rent them for a day
--Or go on the net and buy them second hand
--Keep a compost heap so that you don't have to spend on fertilizers.
4. Containers On a Budget
--Ceramic pots can turn into a fortune once you start buying lots of them for the patio
--Check the hardware store, they often have sales
--Be creative: use empty olive oil cans, old kitchen sinks, old buckets, teapots, chimney stacks and beer cans--your imagination is the limit.