Gardening with the credit crunchBy Linda Fort
December 05, 2008
The credit crunch is affecting everyone but it will hit the garden in different ways because there are two distinct kinds of gardener.
The garden centre gardener is one who buys in a new garden each season, getting boxes of summer bedding in the spring, sacks of bulbs in the autumn and any number of new container grown plants during the year.
They will have elegant garden furniture, replaced every two or three years with something more fashionable
Their garden will look a picture with lots of colour in pots and not much in the way of lawns and borders.
This is a very effective but expensive way to garden and many of us will have begun our gardening lives just like this.
As the credit crunch begins to hit the pocket, gardeners like this may be forced to cut back and it will become hard for them to keep their containers filled and the garden looking attractive.
The other kind of gardener embraces parsimony and thrills at the thought of recycling more cast-off rubbish to turn it to good use in the garden.
This gardener will take grim pleasure in finding a use for an apple core by dropping it into the compost bin while another less frugal type will merely chuck it out.
Every single potato peeling and egg shell will be carefully gathered, other members of the family who fail to put peelings in the correct bin will be scolded and the war of attrition against spending a farthing in the garden will begin.
This gardener will have saved seed already right across the patch from vegetables to flowers.
Some will have been scattered in situ while other will be carefully collected, dried and put in little brown envelopes meticulously labelled.
Sowing the seeds again next year will not necessarily produce exactly the same results but to the thrifty gardener the surprise involved in watching what comes up could be the biggest thrill they get all year.
While newspapers are carefully gathered for recycling, some will be saved to put in the bottom of the runner bean trench in late spring.
If the frugal gardener ever buys new household goods, the sheets of plastic wrapping they arrive in will be regarded with almost as much pleasure as the new device.
The plastic sheeting has endless uses in the garden for homemade poly-tunnels and cold frames, keeping the lawn clean when digging up plants and even warming the soil although black plastic is better.
Old shower curtains are useful when raking leaves for carrying them to the leaf bin and again for keeping the lawn clean when moving plants.
Empty yoghurt pots can be cut up for labels or reused as plant pots, jam jars make effective slug pubs, wasp traps and – with little night light candles – charming garden lights. Old buckets can be used to force rhubarb.
Plastics pop bottles can be converted into mini-propagators and plastic food trays from the supermarket used for sewing seeds.
While the garden centre gardener takes out the credit card and spends money they shouldn’t or puts it away and puts up with less colour, the thrifty gardener recycles and reuses, popping along to the occasional amateur plant sale for a reckless afternoon out.
The real difference is that one will regret having no cash to spare while the other will rise to the challenge.
Have you got any thrifty gardening tips to share? Use the comment facility below to tell us about them.