How to Grow for FREE -with downloadable guide guide

If you buy everything you need to create a container garden from the shops – pots, compost, seeds etc – the costs will quickly mount up. This creates a barrier that prevents many people from growing – or growing as much as they’d like.

However, with a bit of knowledge, time and creativity, it’s also possible to grow at very low cost. I’ve written this new guide to show you how.

I know people who’ve created container gardens for almost nothing. And many others who dramatically cut the cost by finding a lot of what they need for free.

As well as saving money, this way of growing can be more rewarding, fun and creative. It has a lower environmental impact, too.

Download the Free Guide

The secret to growing for free is knowing what to look for and where to find it. Download the free 21 page PDF guide here, Growing for Free (or nearly Free)The guide gives you LOTS of ideas on what to use as containers, fertiliser, growing media and gardening tools, and where to find low cost seeds and plants. It also gives you design tips for how to make a recycled garden look good. Download it here. 

Your turn

I’d love to hear about your favourite free resources that you find for your container garden – and where you find them – in the comments below.




7 thoughts on “How to Grow for FREE -with downloadable guide guide”

  1. The best long-term investments are:

    1. Some Comfrey Bocking 14 plants: these are sterile, so don’t spread, but provide years and years of perfect material to add to compost bins, to lay under your tomato and bean plants and to make superb comfrey tea (without making a smell). I use my first and last comfrey harvests each year to make tea and use the rest for composting and laying under plants. I spent £20 ten years ago on a dozen plug plants and they are still going strong, including me digging one up and growing out 7 new plants from root cuttings for my new allotment site.

    2. Leaves from the street to make leaf mould. Leaf mould can truly transform germination of many seeds, not so much bog standard vegetables, rather the perennial pollinators which, once established in your garden/plot can attract bees and other beneficial insects year in, year out. A few which did brilliantly in leaf mould include lupins, hollyhock, artemisia, tansy, echinacea, anthyllis and Hesperis. For precision sowing in pots/bags, a top layer of leaf mould will also ensure >90% germination frequencies for leek and carrot seeds, perfect when growing for competition.

    I use 35 litre pots to turn leaves into leaf mould over 1-3 years and the investment is absolutely worthwhile.

    3. Bath tubs are great for turning smaller amounts of compostable material into rich nutrient soil. I found one clearing a jungle at my allotment site and its role in the past 2 years has been both to make compost and also to provide a few extra potatoes (since tiny potato rogues get thrown in there and produce a crop as the compost is rotting down). Some people use them as wormeries too.

    4. Pallets can always be sourced for free where building projects are going on. I just walk down our street and ask the builders doing extensions/makeovers if I can take the pallets away and they never say no. You can make compost bins from them without trouble.

    5. Neighbours will usually let you take away their green waste to turn into compost if you ask them. I have sourced green waste from two neighbours the past two years and thereby tripled my inputs into composting. It can make you self-sufficient in compost if you use it wisely.

  2. Thank you for this great guide. I guess my favorite freebie is to gather seaweed for the garden. A low-cost pot source are used pots from the local nursery. They aren’t pretty or very sturdy, but for a dollar they get the job done.😊

  3. Alan Chamberlain

    When i started my allottment sbout three years ago i had the chance on work being done to the roof of the place i work.I know it was cheeky of me but the scaffolders had some boards snd bits lying around and i asked if they had any that were coming to the end of there life for scaffolding puposes .To my suprise they asked if i had an allottment and i told them i did ,so they laughed and said how many did i ant and gave me 10 boards which started off my raised beds.Since then i have also gained others from council workers who were changing crash barriers around a local neibourhood and was allowed to take these away.So the moral of the story is ,dont be afraid to ask if you see something you could use.xx

  4. CarolKate Williams

    Hi! Thanks for the useful pdf in your latest newsletter. It will be very helpful for this year’s efforts. Our container garden is mostly sleeping although we have one Tumbler tomato that refuses to give up the ghost and keeps flowering and fruiting from 2018!
    Happy 2020!

    1. Maybe those tumbling type tomatoes are a little hardier. I grew Tumbling Tom red last year and although they eventually gave up the ghost in winter, they held out into autumn longer than other varieties I’ve tried and were still producing fruit. Next time I’m going to bring them indoors to a bright windowsill and see how long they keep going.

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