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Hi this is a variation on a theme that a guy on our plot has used for about ten years. I’m sure even most novice allotmenteers are aware that you can make a compost heap out of four pallets, stood upright tied together with cable ties or string. Well I think this idea is even better Machine engineers have their machines moved around on pallets but they also have pallet sides surrounding their products, to assist when shipping. These can be found on industrial sites, in the same way that normal pallets can.  Please ensure you ask if you can have some before helping yourself. The ones in the picture are euro-pallet size (800mm x 1200mm), and are a sensible size, being smaller than a standard UK pallet.(1200mm x 1000mm). This makes the euro-pallet much easier to move as will become apparent as the blog progresses. What you may not be...
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As promised last week, I am going to show you some pictures of an alternative to buying biodegradable flower pots.  First I want to explain my headline. Since I got my allotment, my recycling has gone through the roof.  I compost as much as I can and try to think of a use for anything before I throw it away. I’m not a hoarder, but I’ve learnt that before you throw anything away, take it apart and keep all the screws, bolts washers etc, they’ll come in handy one day and don’t exactly take up a lot of space in an old coffee jar in the garage. When I say Recycling, Recycling, what I am on about is using stuff that would normally go in the recycling bin. Better to use it yourself. You can cut the base off of large plastic drinks bottles and use as mini greenhouses to start...
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Posted by on in Money Saving Tips
We all know that industrial estates and skips are probably the best place to source your pallets and Freecycle is a great place for free greenhouses, but where do you get other allotment bits and bobs?   Where do you get your scaffolding netting or hard core for your shed base? Let’s start a dialogue amongst ourselves to identify, where we can get those things that we want for our plots, whilst paying as little as possible or even less! We will start the ball rolling with ten ideas, please feel free to chip in with more 1.      Eggshells for snail/slug barriers. Go to your local café and ask them to keep some for you 2.      Local stables for manure 3.      Bicycle shops for large pieces of cardboard for covering your beds 4.      Local supermarkets for the small mushroom crates to use for grouping your plant pots in the greenhouse 5.     ...
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Now that my blogs aren't all about saving cash, I guess they should really be called tips and ideas, rather than money saving tips and ideas. Don’t worry if I can think of a way to save cash I will blog it, but some of these blogs might entail spending a bit! This blog is probably a bit more for the novice to fairly new allotment holder, rather than the seasoned pros, but we can all learn something so let’s see what I've got. I started my allotment one April and as I dug a bed I planted stuff in it. People offered me spare plants, I bought some cheap seeds and I popped them all in the ground. There was no science. I invested a couple of quid in the current gardening mags and they suggested, what should be sown at the time, so I bought more seeds and a few plants and filled...
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Well here I am again, the tight one at The Allotment Gardener. Only a short blog this week, but there’s money to be saved again. How often do you go to the garden centre only looking for one specific thing and come away with a basket full of gadgets and knickknacks? I don’t! As a lad I took up fishing and relatives would buy me brightly coloured bits and bobs they had found in catalogues or from Woolworth’s. Totally useless for my needs, but I thanked them all the same. Then I took up golf and received more ball cleaners than golf balls. Now I garden and it’s so much easier. Suttons, Dobies, Thompson-Morgan, Marshalls and all other major seeds catalogue companies sell gift vouchers that are a great present, as you get what you want from a reputable supplier and your friends and relatives know that what they have got...
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Hope you have read past the title, as even most novice allotment holders/grow your owners are aware that if you tie a few pallets together you can make a decent compost bin for free. Well yes you can, but since making one a few years ago I have driven past so many skips with pallets in that I got to thinking, what else could you make or use pallets for. Pallets are used for shipping goods around and are made of timber, this is the bit that most people don't consider.I have often seen people carting expensive brand new timber to the allotment – and it simply isn’t necessary. There are three main pallet sizes I have come across whilst driving around in my van and I'm glad to say that they all fit in the back of it. The sizes are; Euro pallets 80cm by 1.2m, standard UK pallets 1m...
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This week’s money saving blog is a photo blog. When the weather isn't too good and you can’t plant, that isn't a reason to leave the plot alone, it’s an excuse to undertake a project or two. As you are probably aware if you follow us on Twitter Facebook or Google plus, we have sourced an unlimited supply of pallets of all shapes and sizes. As I am planning on changing career in the summer and will no longer need my van, I suppose it’s probably a good time to stock up on as many pallets as possible, before I dispose of it. The only worry is if the other plot holders don’t like our plots looking like a timber yard.  No one seems to mind once a pallet has been converted into something, in fact quite a few people ask how we did it, but piles and piles of pallets probably does look a...
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Another photo blog this week. Remember last week I discussed maintenance as I way of saving money, well here I continue with this theme. Looking at the blog photo you will see loads of garden canes and lengths of thin timber lying haphazardly on the floor, waiting for someone to stand on them or the weather to leave them in a puddle of water. Either way, you will end up replacing them at your expense if left like this. This idea is so simple and easy to do that one of our allotment neighbours followed suit within 24 hours. This was done a couple of weeks after the shed was painted, so there is no fiddling about trying to paint it just before this project. You will need, a handful of screws,( we used a dozen), a pen, a screwdriver, a drill, a pallet and a shed. So as discussed, we took one...
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My aching body is a testament to what has been undertaken over the bank holiday weekend. My limbs, muscles and joints are even more painful than even I thought possible. When I get in the bath to ease the pain, the sun burn kicks in and the stinging makers me forget about the physical pain. It all started really on Sunday morning. I got up at the usual time and decided that I was going to soak the greenhouse floors, as it was going to be a very hot day. Our site is split in two by a public footpath and as I passed the first gate a bright red sign caught my eye. “Free top soil, phone 020# ### ####” Now you know me better than to just walk past this sort of opportunity. I was on the phone sooner than you can say allotment and was told that there...
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They say Roses are made for sharing, according to the advert, not that my children show any signs of understanding the word, when it comes to chocolates. This week’s blog is about sharing, but not chocolates or even roses. More along the lines of those crops that need a permanent space.Phyl and I share everything down the plot, especially when he’s not there! But the biggest thing we are currently sharing is a fruit plot. Most fruit bushes will supply more than enough fruit for two families, even if there are lots of jams, preserves and wines being made. The savings made by sharing are immense.This blog has been purely about money saving for the last 5 months, but I think it’s important that I diversify from now on and see what else I can save you. Well the fruit plot is probably a great place to start this new idea.First...
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This week’s blog was inspired by two things that I saw this week. Firstly I saw my shed door open when I went to the plot the other day and secondly, there has been a major rearranging of the displays in my local supermarket. Once again you start your weekly eyebrow raising session, trying to work out where this is going. When I saw the shed door swinging in the wind, my first thought was, not again, as we have had previous break ins on the allotment and I feared for the contents of my shed and those of other fellow allotmenteers. I glanced through my shed contents and couldn’t see anything obviously missing, so set off along the plot to see if any other sheds had been damaged. To my joy, there were no damaged locks or property scattered across people’s plots and I realised that I obviously hadn’t closed...
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Right, this week is all about saving money by using unusual containers rather than buying them. The New York times has stated that ten years ago in 2003 Americans spent $1 billion on pots and container plants. I thought of the blog after making the feature out of the old water tank a couple of weeks ago. I’ve actually planted some sweet peas in that already, so it should soon be worthy of its place on the plot. I have wondered around our plots and taken a few photos, which I will spread throughout this blog, but the blog will really be another of my lists blogs. So rather than splashing your hard earned up the garden centre, what can you use as containers for your plants? There are two ways to look at this, there is the aesthetic approach and the practical approach. Are you looking at a spectacular feature...
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Well this week I’m going to suggest you spend a few quid! Yes you read that right, spend a few quid. I know you didn’t think I would utter that phrase, but needs must.   If you maintain everything on your plot a small outlay every now and again will save you a big expense in the long run. How much did you pay for your shed? An 8’ by 6’ budget shed will probably cost you at least £200, if not more. (Obviously a freecycle one should be about £200 cheaper). So why do you not keep an eye on it and keep it well maintained. Spending £10 on a pot of wood preserver every couple of years should double the lifespan of your shed and save you the cost of replacing it. As soon as you see the wind ravaged roof starting to suffer, get a patch on it...
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Money Saving tips and ideas: Do it yourself What is he on about this week you ask? Well I want to know how much money you can save by doing things yourself.  Obviously, I know that we all save money by growing our own, with the added bonus that the stuff we grow tastes so much better than shop bought veg. But what else can we do that will save us money For an investment of less than £30 we can buy a dehydrator on the internet. How many pounds do we spend buying dried, chillies, garlic, mushrooms etc. for specific recipes? Wouldn’t be long before we recouped the initial investment and then turned a profit. I have spoken to the local house clearance man and asked him to give me a call if he gets a petrol mower. I don’t expect to get a brand new one, might not even...
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Yes I know that sounds a bit obvious. Going to the library has got to be cheaper than buying gardening books, but there is so much more to it than that. We all have a stack of books about gardening and allotments, but how many of them do we regularly read. Do you have a gardening/allotment bible? I guess that I have a dozen allotment books and over 100 cookery books, but if truth be known, try before you buy would probably save my creaking shelves and save my pocket too.  So next time you have a spare half hour, pop up your local library and have a browse through their stock.     It’s not just gardening books either, so what I’m going to do is just whet your appetite with a list of other books you can have a look at and pinch an idea from, or actually borrow,...
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Whilst flicking through Dan Porter’s twitter pics (@allotmentfresh) scouring for chilli photos I came across the picture above. I thought what a great idea. We all have bits and bobs we don’t need and it got me thinking about sharing and not just pots but everything. This includes our time and money, this blog is all about saving money through teamwork. Teamwork is what Phyl and I are all about, so how does this save money. Well sometimes it isn't always obvious, other times it is. When we go to the Edible Garden Show next week, I will drive; Phyl will be working on further articles for the site and discussing new ideas. He will record all this, so we have saved petrol by sharing the car and time by allowing one of us to do some “The Allotment Gardener” work. Let’s look at some other bits of teamwork that can save money....
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Just a very quick one this week as I have a driving exam tomorrow and have been busy revising for it. Hopefully a more substantial money saving tip next week. Remember a few weeks ago I told you to stop throwing away empty plastic milk cartons, well let’s not forget the humble plastic drinks bottle. I can still remember years ago when Coke/Pepsi/Corona etc. all came in refundable glass bottles. Probably the earliest recycling I can remember. You took your bottle, or anyone else’s back to the shop and got a couple of pence back to buy some more sweets with.  The company would then have them cleaned and reused I guess, rather than having to buy new ones. In today’s throwaway society this no longer happens. So what can we do with our empty pop bottles? Well thinking back to the milk cartons, we can use them as water sprayers....
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We all make compost, so how am I going to save you money this week, you ask? Well perhaps linking this blog to the money saving posts might be stretching the point a bit, but read on and see if the ideas mentioned are useful.  A bag of compost from a garden centre costs £3.99, buy three bags and they'll charge you a tenner, that's almost two pounds saved, so blog over. NO! We all know that it's cheaper to make our own compost, but can we ever make enough? Probably not, particularly if you are making raised beds and want to raise the level of the beds. What do we do, in a blind panic we shoot off to the garden centre (Boo Hiss) and buy a load of bags of compost. This is where this blog starts to get interesting. How can we make enough compost, so we don't...
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Posted by on in Money Saving Tips
This week, my Yorkshire plot finally saw some warmer sunshine; not quite the type that brings hayfever and hosepipe bans, but nonetheless a decent level of sunshine that means it is time to sow the first much loved seeds of tomato. Tomato seeds are slow to germinate and so this means they need to be in a place where it is consistently warm until the temperatures rise. I have space in my warmer conservatory (the greenhouse is still a little nippy) and a good early start should hopefully mean a longer season of fruit.  Last year I was asked: "why do you grow so many tomatoes? Why don't you just buy some?" What? I was horrified: a summer without home-grown tomatoes must be like being a duck without water.  The smell and taste alone make growing your own tomatoes worthwhile over shop bought tomatoes.  So I have written this blog for a gardener new to tomato growing or the people that state: 'I don't know what to do...
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What do you do with your old, tired, unwanted, worn clothes? Do you throw them away, put them in the clothing banks, stuff them into the bags that arrive on your doorstep, sell them on Ebay, take them to the charity shop? Well, this week’s £saving tips are about old clothes. First off, I have separate clothes, apart from my trendy “The Allotment Gardener” fleece, for gardening. Perhaps clothes I wouldn’t wear to the opera or even the High street shopping. But certainly, clothes I don’t mind getting dirty or torn, whilst digging a bed or dismantling some old pallets etc. Next, I always leave an old coat and jumper, in my shed. These are not for the mice to make nests; but are handy when the weather changes or the temperature drops of an evening. Having left them there, I only have to take them back to the plot,...
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