So you want to create a garden from scratch? And preferably for a very little sum of money? It’s definitely possible! The secret lies in daily habit-changing routines, time and patience, but the result is oh’ so rewarding 🙂
A common misconception in vegetable growing is that it is an expensive hobby. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be from the start. Once you have started saving money on eating from your own garden, and you are rich in experience and knowledge, you can afford to invest in better equipment, but it’s not necessary from the beginning.
In this series, I would like to give you a few missions to complete, all in your own pace, whenever you feel up for it. The lessons will stay here on my blog, for you to use when you feel up for the task. The purpose of the lessons is for you to start your own vegetable garden and to live a bit more sustainable. Even if my methods requires a small piece of land to work on, the same principles can be used on a few plants on your balcony or by your sunniest window.
Lets start with some material. If you can get your hands on some growing equipment, like pots, watering cans etc, all the better, but here is a list of garbage/ trash that I like to save whenever I find it. These items will help you garden for free. It could be that you find them in your backyard, in your home or maybe you have to ask a local farmer or neighbour, but these items aren’t really valuable to anyone, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Start collecting the following:
- Containers for liquids: paper milk cartons (tetra paks), juice boxes, paper cups… Cut in half and make drainage holes.
- Trays of any kind, like breakfast trays, big and small storage containers etc. Anything that will not leak. Down here you see my favourite: transparent candy containers. You can find them at any candy store or supermarket, they will gladly get rid of them. One container holds 4 plants. Get as many as you can, they are also great for growing salads all year around! I will get back to that.
- Cardboard, like wellpapp and newspaper journals. We will use these for gardening beds later.
- Plastic containers like butter containers. I wash them, cut them to strips with a scissor and use them as plant markers to put in the soil.
- Ikea shopping bags or similar bags in plastic ment to hold heavy items. Great for transporting plants, dirt etc.
- Buckets. Broken buckets can be used as pots for bigger plants, unbroken buckets are great for carrying water, dirt, plants, compost etc.
- Vegetable waste. Composting is such a big subject that it will get it’s own lesson. It’s important to gather as much compostable waste as you can. You can always ask a supermarket if you can get their discarded vegetable and fruit waste. We will turn this to gold for your soil.
- Garden waste, such as logs, branches, pine cones, sticks, leaves, old grass clippings… same as above. Just don’t throw it away. Keep it in a pile and forget about it for now.
- Building materials: planks, nails, iron rods, iron reinforcement net, pallets, bricks, bamboo sticks, old windows… Start to gather up, imagine your future chicken coop, poly tunnel, beautiful garden beds and trellises you can build with these things.
- Manure! Does your neighbour keep horses? Do you know anyone with chickens or cows? If you can get a farmer or stable owner to provide you with manure, keep them close 🙂 Use your sturdy shopping bags to carry it.
- Pet-bottles, great for watering as you move through your house to water all your indoor plants.
These are the main materials/ trash to keep your eye open for from now on. I will get back to you with how I use each one of these materials in future lessons.
INTRO MISSION: Start looking around you, in your local environment. Can you find any of these materials anywhere? With friends and family? At your local supermarket or candy store? In the forest? Junk yard? Recycle park?