Down at Blissberry Social Farm we believe Community Gardening is the best cure for austerity blues!
This time of year, as I’m looking through gardening suppliers catalogues, I’m always astonished at how expensive gardening can become, if you go for all the gadgets and miracle cures. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Apart from a good spade, a garden fork, a simple hoe, a sharpening stone, a sharp pocket knife, a pair of secateurs and some smaller hand tools, you really don’t need a lot. Old food trays, the type that fish and mushrooms come in, make excellent seed trays, yoghurt pots, tetra bricks and plastic milk bottles cut in half make plant pots and margarine pots cut into strips make fine plant labels. Wooden vegetable boxes and white plastic mushroom trays make good transplant trays if you line them with newspaper. Compost bins can be made with old pallets and go to your local seed swap event to get your seeds. Even better; save your seeds from your own plants, it’s not hard to do and if you get it right, your plants should end up being better adapted to your specific growing site and conditions, year after year.
If you can, collect horse manure from stables nearby and get your compost in bulk from a community composting scheme, which is much cheaper than buying bags. Diluted with sand and leaf mould, it will make good seed compost. But most of all, get together with other people in your neighbourhood and share tools, seeds, plants and above all enthusiasm and you’ll find that gardening is the best cure for austerity blues!