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Frugal Friday | Grow your own


Grow your own

It seems a little early for thinking about growing your own in the garden, but you can at least prepare and plan. I have seen seeds for growing salad and root vegetables on offer for just 39p a packet at Aldi and Poundland have offers too. Getting our 5 portions of fruit and veg a day is getting more expensive. We can look for the bargains, the carrots are just 39p a kilo at Aldi this weekend and ideal for winter soups, stews and casseroles. They are still worth growing though!

Aldi also has those mini greenhouses for 17.99, one of those could be an investment. They have potting compost but why not make your own compost. I have a special bin for kitchen waste now and it’s supposed to be ‘recycled’ but I compost it. I compost garden waste too.

You can recycle those plastic trays that meat and chicken come in and use them for seed trays too, use something pointed and melt holes in the bottom for drainage.

They say you can’t grow tomatoes outside, that you need a greenhouse, but I’ve saved seed from a tomato and put it on a tissue, let it dry and then planted the seed, tissue as well. I have grown tomato plants on the window sill and when they are big enough, just plant them in the garden! The tomatoes can be picked when they are green, they will ripen if you put them somewhere dark. Besides using them for salad, you can make tomato soup, make chutney and lots of other things. Find your recipes on the internet!

Prepare for Summer

Aldi also had bushes to grow you own raspberries, etc. That could be a good idea and they make a nice dessert topped with ice cream; more free food! Some of the seed packs in Aldi are a little more expensive at 1.99 but you can grow your own strawberries. Just imagine fresh strawberries from the garden in summer, topped with cream or raspberries ripple ice cream from the freezer on a hot summer’s day. Yummy!

You can save lots of money on gym membership by getting out in the garden now and digging it ready for planting. Digging will help to get rid of weeds and condition the soil. You can also do pruning while you’re out there.

I’m not too sure about growing potatoes from seed in the garden, but they have seed potatoes in Aldi too. If you like new potatoes on your salad in summer it makes sense to dig a few up to add to your home grown lettuce, tomatoes and onions to make a deliciously fresh salad. You  can even grow your produce organically if you make slug traps filled with beer and avoid poison chemicals.

It’s worth considering planting dwarf fruit trees too, they are amazing now and can give you virtually free fruit at the end of summer.  Think about when things will crop, strawberries and other berries will be earlier and apples later as summer ends. You  can also store apples for use through the winter. 

If you’re really frugal you can make wine from some of the fruit that you grow. Red wine made from blackberries is really good. You do need to invest in some equipment though. You’ll need fermenting vessels, a juicer and other odd things like an hydrometer and plastic tubing. You can get advice and equipment in any good home brew shop. Make a little beer to put in your slug traps too; slugs aren’t too fussy about the quality!

When I start off plants in Spring, I tend to use all the window sills in my house as mini greenhouses! Don’t forget to go around every day and water all the seedlings though. One of the best crops that produces lots of lovely veggies is runner beans. They don’t take up much space because they grow vertically and produce several kilo of beans on a good day. With runner beans over a £1 a kilo that’s a nice addition to your food supply. If you have too many swap them with friends and neighbours for something you need. You can always freeze them of course!

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