When you are gardening you can save money, get healthy exercise and give the children an extra outdoor interest at the same time. Three for the price of one.
With the ever increasing price of food, if you have space in your garden or if you are able to rent an allotment, this is the way to save money.
You will doubtless be spraying your crops with less chemicals than commercial growers, which is another bonus.
You stand a chance of converting a finicky child who is ‘vegetable-averse’ into a fan if they are able to eat what they have grown. That will save more than money. It should save your temper, time, and frustration etc, so it must be a winner.
Keeping the budget in mind, here are some valuable tips:
- Even if you do not have space outside, the youngest child could manage growing cress in a small dish with a piece of damp, soft cloth in which to root the cress seeds.
They will love to do this, as the results are very quick. This tip will give you a useful addition to your salads and sandwiches.
- Sprouting vegetables grown in jars are another suggestion. Your local health food store will give you instructions.
It is not necessary to buy a special kit – a large jam jar, a piece of thin cloth and an elastic band are all you need – plus the appropriate seeds.
These sprouted vegetables are good for Chinese recipes. The bought ones often look a little jaded on the Supermarket shelves. These will be fresh and will save money. Can’t be bad!
Once you have kindled an interest in growing plants you could well change the course of a child’s life. It will probably promote an interest in eating their produce and may provide them with a life-long interest. The author speaks from her own personal experience here – gardening at school and I was hooked for life!
- Marrows and courgettes are plants that the children will also like to grow. They need very little looking after except plenty of watering and harvesting. A great winner because of the short time these plants take to grow and the fantastic looking results.
You could also try pumpkins in readiness for Halloween.
Always grow plants that are quick, easy and useful if you want to retain the interest of the children. Runner beans just keep on coming and are really sweet when they are picked when small and eaten raw – the kids will love them – almost like taking a forbidden fruit! They are also spectacular to look at. Think Jack and the Beanstalk here. The children will be helping your budget as well as learning about growing vegetables. They will also learn that there are other ways to spend their time apart from watching TV.
- Another good gardening tip is growing herbs in pots outside the kitchen door in readiness for giving plain meals a tasty ‘lift’. If you have an usual container, i.e., an old wheelbarrow with holes drilled for drainage, make a feature herb garden. If you include mint in this herb garden, plant it in a pot submerged in the soil, otherwise it will run riot amongst the other herbs.
Mint, parsley and chives are particularly useful and very easy to grow. A cheese and chive omelette is a winner as a quick supper dish. Don’t let the chives flower and run to seed otherwise you will have chive plants everywhere next season.
Rosemary is a lovely shrubby herb and the small, pointed leaves give a special taste to roast or sauté potatoes etc. but this plant will need a very large pot or otherwise planting in open ground.
Probably the gardening tip that beats all others regarding the need to save money is the following:
- After potatoes have been peeled, if they have produced any ‘eyes’ save the peel in a dark bag or container. When enough have been collected, dig a line trench in the garden, sprinkle the peelings in, cover with soil and wait.
It is amazing to get so much from so little. Just think how amazed the children and you will be at the results. Lovely new potatoes from nothing! Thanks to Jane Rice-Oxley of Denmead, Hampshire for this superb money saving tip. Well done!
- This tip has a bonus attached. If you are planting a new hedge try including prickly items such as hawthorn, blackthorn, brambles etc. Such a hedge will be a deterrent to burglars, intruders etc. and will definitely save money. The bonus is it will be appreciated by birds and wildlife.
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