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 or grab a new roll of felt and repair it. Surely this is cheaper than, finding the contents of the shed soaked and ruined.
Keep your shed tidy. I like the motto “ there’s a place for everything and everything has a place” once your shed gets untidy you lose space and end up piling things on top of each other. Before you know it you’ve put the growbags on top of a deckchair that was resting on a pile of flower pots. Now you need a new load of pots. By putting things back in the same place after use you know where they will be next time. How often do you buy something only to find out you already had some, because it wasn’t where you expected it to be.
Remember, if you don’t keep your stuff tidy, there are other consequences, expensive consequences, I recently found the two sunflower heads I had been keeping for seeds, in my shed. They had been completely stripped, probably by a mouse, so now I have to buy some sunflower seeds. Don’t let your untidy shed become a haven for animals. If a hole appears repair it or expect vermin to enter your shed and damage the contents.
Keep an eye on your greenhouse, don’t let a pane of glass fall out for the want of a couple of clips being replaced.
Keep your garden tools clean and dry after use. My allotment neighbour has the cleanest tools on the plot, he doesn’t need to put any great effort in to his digging because the tools do the work for him. The first spade I used down the plot had been used for mixing concrete and hadn’t been well maintained. Digging with it was like using a plastic knife to cut through frozen butter. Investing in a tool sharpener or even having your tools professionally sharpened, will add years to their life saving money in the long run.
Keep your padlocks well oiled, a rusty lock will need replacing.
Maintain your raised beds, you may have seen the repair job I did a few weeks ago with a couple of wooden battens. Cheaper than wholesale replacement.
Keep checking and rotating your compost. You don’t want to have to buy a few bags, because the green/brown balance wasn’t right, leaving you short when you needed it.
If and when we get a summer this year, regular maintenance of your crops, is also vital, how often do you get down the plot and realise you have lost a load through lack of watering, irregular weeding, or not harvesting, when you should have. I encourage the little and often approach. Don’t only go down once a week and spend all day at the plot, make two or three shorter trips every week, unless the distance makes this prohibitive. Under or over watered tomatoes will shrivel or split, Beetroots not regularly weeded will suffer and failure to pick your runner beans regularly, will result in the crop giving up and not producing any further produce. Anyway I’m off to the plot as the sun is shining catch you next week