8 money saving tips for gardeners

09 March 2016 ( 15 August 2016 )

For the green-fingered among us, gardening need not just be a pleasant hobby - you can save cash too with these eight tips.

1. Swap

Seeds are expensive and you always end up with too many – so why not swap the excess with other gardeners? You could end up with some great new plants for nothing but the price of postage.

There are a number of gardening sites which offer forums for people to swap lists of available seeds. 

Alternatively, a quick search of the internet in spring will reveal an abundance of seed swapping events all over the UK.

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2. Dig in

Flowers look great, but growing veg is a great way to avoid industrially-produced foods and steer some cash away from supermarket giants.

An additional tip is to grow unusual and often tastier versions of fruit and vegetables that would have a premium price in the supermarket.  

By freezing your surplus produce, particularly soft fruits, you can enjoy them all the year round – if they last that long! (Thanks to Jean Wickens for the tip).

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3. Talk

Not just to the plants — but each other! This is particularly important if you are one of the growing band of more than 250,000 allotment holders in the UK (see nsalg.org for advice on getting one). 

Many crops ripen around the same time, which can mean a glut of runner beans, green beans and broad beans, for example. 

If a group of plot holders were to agree to plant one each of this crop and then share harvests, it would avoid waste and still allow a share of all three seasonal crops.

If you get a glut, you could also contact the organisers of local farmers' markets, who sometimes target plot holders for their excess produce (please check that the terms of your allotment lease allows this first).

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4. Be green

Don't reach for expensive and harmful chemicals if there is a pest invasion – find a natural solution.  

The internet is teeming with ideas on pesticide-free controls, using every day household items from vinegar to coffee grounds.  

Prevention is often better than cure too, so pull out any weak plants that look like they're already infected and may attract predators, and regularly clear the garden area of debris and weeds which are breeding places for insects.  

Or you could try companion planting to deter pests and improve pollination.  

Learn more about the clever technique of companion planting

5. Recycle

Every time you pull the leaves off a leek, peel a potato or chop the ends off a courgette, don't throw them out; there''s still plenty of goodness there that you don't want to waste. 

Even if you only have a small garden, you've still room to make compost if you invest in a plastic bin with a lid, as you've no need to worry about unpleasant smells emanating from it on a sunny day. 

Within a year or so, you'll start getting rich, crumbly compost on a regular basis, ready to start enriching your soil. 

That way, you won't find yourself shelling out for bags of compost at the garden centre in spring, you won't have to haul them from the car to the garden, and because you'll know exactly what's going in, you know there's no nasty chemicals in what's coming out.

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6. Save water

Plants are usually happier with rainwater than they are with tap water, so by investing in a rainwater butt, you'll save money on your water bills in the long term, and be rewarded with happier flowers in the short term. 

Alternatively, you could keep a couple of empty milk bottles under the sink and fill them up each time you wash the dishes with the water from the hot water tap that hasn't heated up yet.

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7. Give generously

If you're going to someone's house for a meal, a thoughtful gift from the garden can often be more appreciated than a bottle of wine or box of chocolates bought in a hurry from the shop. 

Giving your hosts a bunch of beautiful flowers just picked from your garden, along with a selection of fresh vegetables thoughtfully chosen with the recipients in mind will not only save you money, it will make your gift stand out from the crowd.

Just don't hand them a kilo of runner beans. 


As well as the fresh air, exercise and bags of delicious, free veg, remember that every day spent tilling the soil is less time spent on expensive retail therapy, or a gym membership.

For more ways to save money, browse our hand-picked gardening offers chosen exclusively for Saga customers

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.