As I mentioned in the ‘About‘ section, my garden budget for the year is just £50 for everything, and I’m hoping to grow something to eat every day. There’s £10 allocated for seeds and plants, and £40 for everything else.
March is when the growing year starts in earnest, and the money has already started to flow out. This has been partly due to my opportunism, and partly due to necessity.
In an ideal world, soil would be perfect, pests and diseases wouldn’t exist, all seeds would germinate and grow vigorously, and support structures and tools would never be needed. However, real kitchen gardens always need a lot more help than that. You can save a lot of money with simple physical effort and some clever improvisation, but the fact remains that a few pounds spent judiciously here and there usually make a big difference to the quality and quantity of what you can grow.
Plants and seeds budget
I didn’t especially need to buy any seeds or plants this year, as I’d swapped and saved plenty from 2012, and had also been given some as gifts. It looked like there was enough to cover all the main food bases and have a few tasty treats as well, and I’d convinced myself that we could do without the remaining items on my wish list.
Then I had a small moment of weakness in February, and found a small bag of garlic bulbs in our local 99p Stores – they looked lovely and healthy, and after planting what we’d need for the year there was even enough left to give some away. And, another confession, I recently bought a packet of 29p seeds in Lidl: some Matador spinach which can be sown in spring and autumn. It was discounted to 25p at the till, and I’m hoping it will make good use of the shady spot of the garden.
So that’s £1.24 of the seeds and plants budget gone so far. I’m trying not to spend more than that for a while, as I might need to hold back some funds for purchases in the autumn, when garden bargains often abound.
All other garden budget
The ‘everything else’ budget isn’t looking quite so healthy, but that’s because February and March are good months for getting your supplies in, especially if the cheaper shops have limited supplies and you don’t want to miss out.
So far I’ve spent:
- £3 on polytunnels
- £3 on wire mesh
- £6 on netting
- £3 on net pegs
- £1 on gardening gloves
- £5 on anti-insect mesh
- £12 on compost
- £4 on (anti-cat) edging
- £1 on modules
- £1.85 on tags and labels
So, I’ve spent £39.85, and at least £12 of that has gone purely on protecting the plants from our resident cat, also known as ASBO Kitty. It’s amazing how much you can spend on a kitchen garden, even if you’re keeping a fairly strict eye on your budget.
There are plenty of pots, accessories and bits of equipment left over from last year, and I’m able to make some compost and all the mulch the garden needs for free here, so fingers crossed I won’t need to dash out and purchase anything else for a while at least. If the worst does happen, the money’s going to have to come out of the remaining seed/plant funds.
Here’s to a thrifty rest of the gardening year.