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There aren’t many things better than being outside in your garden, breathing in the fresh air and getting close to nature. It can be great for the mind, body, and soul – not to mention the pocket as well!
With all the talk in the news around the rising cost of living and inflation, we want to share a few of our best money and energy-saving tips to help you save money gardening.
Is gardening now more expensive?
Gardening requires investment, and in 2022 with inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and interest rates rising, it is more important than ever to save money where you can. In recent months we’ve seen the cost of electricity rising sharply from 17.2p pence per KWh in 2020 (IACEW) to an average of 34 pence per KWh as of October 1st (Ofgem). Add to that what it costs to buy plants, gardening tools, pest deterrents and other gardening items, saving a few pounds here and there can really add up.
Not to mention that if you wanted to pay a gardener, on average it would cost £30 per hour according to Checkatrade.
Save money when heating a greenhouse
Heating a greenhouse in the winter with a greenhouse heater can be a sizable expense. Therefore, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep the heat and warmth inside your greenhouse. Here are some of our best money and energy-saving tips for heating a greenhouse:
Invest in digital controllers
Digital / electronic controllers can make a huge difference when it comes to saving money on heating your greenhouse. Using these cost-effective controllers to provide an accurate temperature reading and control when heaters switch on and off can save hundreds of pounds a year.
You can also get digital controllers for misting & irrigation systems as well as lighting.
Insulate your greenhouse
Ok, so hands up, who’s heard of bubble wrapping your greenhouse to provide an extra layer of insulation? It's an incredibly simple yet efficient method of retaining heat in the colder winter months. However, you can’t just use any old bubble wrap, there are certain types that need to be used to achieve the best results.
If you want to find out more, we’ve got a super handy blog – Bubble wrapping a greenhouse why, how and what for.
Check for air leaks
This is something you shouldn’t need to do if you have a Rhino greenhouse. But just like with a house, it is always best to check the windows and doors for any air leaks that can be easily plugged to prevent warm air from escaping needlessly.
Cheap gardening tips
There’s always a bargain to be had, you’ve just got to look. Whether you are shopping for tools, seeds / plants or something a bit decorative to liven up your garden.
There are so many second-hand marketplaces, where you can pick up a bargain. Websites like Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, and eBay are a great start, and you can also sign up to local groups via https://www.freecycle.org/. While garden centres can sometimes be expensive, your local community is often not. So, get looking, you’ll be surprised what you can pick up!
It’s also worth talking to friends and neighbours, the chances are they may allow you to borrow what you need.
Grow from seeds
Growing from seed is much cheaper than spending money on seedlings or established plants. With a single packet of seeds, you could yield 20 to 30 plants and it's so much more rewarding.
Reuse your waste
Household & food waste can be used in your garden. Common items like tea bags which can help increase nitrogen levels, improving soil structure or citrus peels which are a fantastic natural way to repel pests – just tear the peel into small pieces and place them around the affected area. You can even grow your seedlings using DIY pots from yoghurt pots, egg boxes and plastic trays from fruit and veg packaging.
There are so many uses for food waste, not to mention making your own compost. More on that now!
Cheap Garden ideas
You can often find wooden pallets going for cheap, or even free, on Facebook Marketplace or from local businesses. These can be repurposed into a range of garden essentials, such as plant pots, raised beds, greenhouse flooring, and more.
Plus, they’re a great DIY project to do with children and grandchildren.
Make your own compost to save a few pound
Cheap gardening 101 is to make your own compost. Get yourself a low-cost compost bin or two and save money by composting your food scraps. Some of the best items to compost are:
- Fruit scraps
- Veg scraps
- Grass clippings
- Dead leaves
- Shredded paper
- Coffee grounds
- Woody stems
To make good compost, it’s best to start with a 50:50 mix of materials that are rich in nitrogen and carbon. The nitrogen comes from green materials like grass clippings and veg scraps while the carbon comes from brown materials such as cardboard and woody stems.
How to save water & electricity when gardening
Saving water in the garden
One of the simplest money saving tips has to be recycling rainwater. With at least 135 days of rain each year since 1990 (Statista), it’s something a lot of people forget about because we have so much rain!
Waterbutts are a fantastic way to store recycled rainwater and can be easily attached to existing gutters and downpipes. Got a greenhouse? Then you shouldn’t have any problem collecting enough rainwater.
You can then use this water across your garden, helping you grow plants from seeds or give life to saplings.
Saving electricity in the garden – switch to solar
Nowadays, with a quick Google search (other search engines are available 😊) you’ll be able to find solar-powered alternatives to most things. Whether you’re looking to use them to add a bit of ambience to your outdoor space or light your greenhouse, solar-powered lights are a great way to reduce your energy costs and can be purchased from most large retailers. These will work well with our Grade A 4mm toughened safety glass that comes with every Rhino greenhouse.
Have you ever considered running your greenhouse heater on solar power? With the tremendous advancements in renewable energy and battery power, you could use a portable power station and solar panel to run your greenhouse heaters. Prices can vary from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds depending on capacity and charge rate.
Get the most from last year’s crops
Save your scraps and regrow
There are several fruit and vegetables you can regrow by planting the scraps. From lettuce and cabbage to the beloved potato.
Just read up before you attempt it, each item has its own process to maximise the chances of success, the last thing you’ll want to do is to plant a lettuce leaf in the garden expecting it to grow and it doesn’t.
Grown too much?
Got a vegetable glut and struggling to use it all? Have a look at what you can do with your glut. From sharing with your neighbours to pickling. You could also donate to a local food bank and help those less fortunate.
Learn from last year
Use this year’s yield as a learning experience - take some time to work out what you grew too much of and what you didn’t grow enough of. Then adjust what you plant for next year.
Invest in a long-lasting greenhouse
Some people may see a greenhouse as an unnecessary expense. However, they pay for themselves over their lifetime! With a Rhino greenhouse, for example, you’ll get a British made greenhouse, guaranteed for 25 years & built to withstand the strongest of winds.
A greenhouse will allow you to grow virtually all year round, protect vulnerable plants from the harsh British winters, whilst also allowing you to grow species that wouldn’t normally be able to survive in the UK.
A greenhouse maybe a long-term investment but you’ll save money growing your own fruit and veg, plus according to estate agent Belvoir!, a greenhouse can make your house more desirable to buyers when you come to sell!
With these tips for cheap gardening, you’ll be able to keep costs low while your plants grow high. The more creative you can be, the better!