Golightly Gardens is all about seasonal food, and growing your own tasty ingredients on a budget. It’s also the nickname we’ve given to our house since I started running my money-saving website, www.pennygolightly.com.
My goal is to grow something to eat every day throughout the year, even if it’s a small side salad or handful of fruit. The aim is to do this on just £50 for the year – less than £1 a week – and cut our grocery bills for fresh produce as much as possible. I’ve allowed £10 for plants and seeds, and £40 for the rest, including compost, pest control and fertiliser. Ideally things need to be organic where that’s affordable, or at least not harmful to the local friendly wildlife, especially the bees.
The idea is to include as much variety on our plates as possible, and to enjoy all the fresh, delicious produce. That includes cooking it, matching it up with other seasonal foods, inventing recipes, and working out how to store or preserve any surplus so that nothing goes to waste.
On top of that, I’m hoping to make our precious bit of outside space pleasant to sit out in, or at least not too industrial looking. My dream was to have a cottage kitchen garden or a French potager style plot, but given the practical constraints here I’m going to have to compromise and go for something reasonably practical. I feel a few projects coming on…
About the garden
Our garden is a fairly small space in South London, an average sized back yard with just three raised beds and a few pots and window boxes. It’s only been in its current form since Spring 2012 and was semi-derelict before that, or at least it hadn’t been cultivated in any way for over ten years.
Essentially it was a dumping ground for rubble from dodgy home renovations carried out in the 1970s, where the previous owners were too lazy or too cheap to put it into a skip, so they’d added concrete, breeze blocks and a few planks on top instead and pretended it was ‘decking’.
We saved up and had the area cleared on a very tight budget, removing a buried cooker, a washing machine, a coolbox, and all manner of bits of brick, wiring, plumbing, plastic and broken glass. There wasn’t enough money left over to fill the new raised beds with compost or nice topsoil, so we’re slowly trying to improve the heavy, soggy stone-filled local clay as we go along.
It’s been a labour of love, but it’s ready to become home to lots of grow your own vegetables, fruit and herbs now. Please follow us as we sow, grow and chow our way through the coming year.