In no particular order, here are are our 20 tips to save money on your allotment:
1. Order your seeds through the site “Thompson and Morgan” seed order. You will recieve 50% discount from list prices alongside 10% on other items. This takes place in October
2. Use the ground shop to purchase your supplies. Not only will you recieve the lowest prices possible, you will also be supporting the society
3. Yoghurt pots make excellent pots to grow plants from seed for planting out on your plot
4. Cut up plastic milk cartons or old venetian blinds to make sturdy plant labels
5. Look at freecycle for a free shed, greenhouse or many other items.
6. Toilet roll tubes make brilliant biodegradable ‘root trainers’ for peas, beans and sweetcorn
7. Make your own biodegrabable pots from newspaper (folder them around a small tin can or other cylindrical object)
8. Buy plants from our own plant sale for pennies (in May). Don’t forget to donate your spares too!
9. Try making your own potting compost using your own compost, sand and sieved soil
10. Start seeds early in an unheated greenhouse by placing them inside a plastic greenhouse and putting this inside your glasshouse. If you are worried about frost hot water in a 2 litre fizzy pop bottle (wrapped in a towel) will help increase the temperature by a few degrees.
11. Make compost bins or raised beds from old pallets. Many companies in Trafford Park will be willing for you to collect these free of charge
12. Use old tights to tie tall plants, such as sunflowers or tomatoes, to supports. Not only is this good recycling the material will also stretch so not to strangle the plant stems as they grow
13. Use coffee grounds, either your own or free from Starbucks, as a mulch around acid loving plants
14. Don’t be afraid to recycle from skips. Just ensure you ask permission first.
15. Use the plastic containers that fruit, e.g grapes, come in as mini-propagators
16. Mini Yoghurt drink bottles make excellent toppers for canes
17. Make your own liquid fertiliser using comfrey or nettles left in a water-butt for a couple of weeks. Use diluted and keep covered as the smell is something else!
18. Swap seeds and cuttings with other plot holders or use a swapping service on websites such as allotments4all.co.uk
19. Protect seedlings with cloches made with up-turned plastic bottles
20. Plan out what you want to grow before the start of the season and buy seeds as you need them. Some seeds will last a number of years kept in cool and dry conditions.