Can you grow your own vegetables without a garden? It really is possible and there are a number of options to try that are all easy to do.
Every year I sit and hope that we’ll have a nice summer. I’m not a huge fan of the hot weather but I know the girls love getting outside and burning off some energy.
We don’t have a garden so burning off energy for them means trips to the park – and lots of them! It would be good to have a garden. It’s difficult as I really dislike gardening so it’s not always on my agenda when we have looked for somewhere to live previously but, due to the cost of rent, having a garden adds that little more cost onto our monthly budget that we really can’t stretch to.
I know that by not being able to stretch the budget any further our children are missing out slightly. Not only from being able to run around outside whenever they want but by having a chance to grow our own food and to teach them more about the outside world.
I don’t want the fact that we don’t have a garden to stop the children learning and developing and, with my love of saving money, I have decided that we needed to start growing our own vegetables but, with no garden, I needed to work out how we could do it.
I first considered getting an allotment. Easy enough I thought. We have family who took on a plot last year and it was just a big mess but with a little effort their little plot looks amazing and they are getting some great results.
First for me was the question of money. Prices do vary up and down the country, and works out a lot more expensive in London. In my area, it costs £8 per rod (an old fashioned measurement equating to just over 16 feet). The average sized plot is 5 rods which works out at around £40 per year. However, in 2012, the price per rod was only £3.95 – that’s a 103% increase to 2014! Now although £40 isn’t a huge cost, it is worrying how much the price has risen and whether they will put another huge rise on it in following years
Still tempted, I then started to think about how much time I could really put into maintaining an allotment. Family and friends who run allotments spend a fair bit of time on their patch in a week – at least one day at the weekend and a few evenings a week watering and checking the plot.
It’s not really that much time in all but, when I think about what we could be doing instead, I wonder if the time is really worth it. I also wonder whether the children would be happy to spend a day there one day every weekend. They probably would get used to it eventually but I can already hear their bored comments after an hour or so.
Although I can see that there are a few plots free near to me, others councils around the country do not have as many free allotment plots so, if you really want to start growing your own seasonal vegetables, you may first need to go onto a waiting list.
You can check whether you can get a plot or whether you’ll have to go on a waiting list with your local council.
Window Sill Garden
Although it may sound like it, I really don’t want to talk myself out of growing my own vegetables. I know that it would save us money in the long run and it would lovely to have freshly picked vegetables to go towards our 5 A DAY.
I then considered whether I could grown anything from my kitchen; setting up a window sill planter and growing some bits and pieces which could go straight into dinner.
The initial set up costs are considerably lower than an allotment, with the need to buy earth and a few pots but, my local pound shop sell grow bags and pots so I could reign in on my spend.
However, with only having limited space, the vegetables are not likely to grow as big as they could if they had ground room. Therefore things like potatoes would be out of the equation on the window sill. We also need to make sure that the plants will need a good amount of sun. We get sun all through the day (when it’s not raining!) so it’s the perfect spot to add a few pots.
Something like salad will work a lot better from a kitchen window sill. I picked up a living salad from Lidl the other day. It was only 80 pence and we just cut off a few leaves when we need them. Rather than a packet salad, or a lettuce in the fridge that goes limp after a few days, the living salad is still going strong after two weeks.
The time spent maintaining an indoor garden would be a lot less than an allotment too. There would be no trips out to water the plants and there would be little manual work. Watering the plants could easily become part of the routine when cooking and washing up.
Grow Your Own Spring Onions
We’ve already started to grow – or regrow – some spring onions. We had spring onions in our dinner a few nights ago and rather than throwing away the roots, we decided to try growing them. After just three days, they’ve already been growing loads. The children (and me) were surprised to see a good cm of growth just over night.
It’s simple to get them to grow especially as they don’t need to be grown from seed. After cutting the onions down, keep them tied together, add them to a glass and top up with water. Then just remember to change the water every day. In a few more days, we’ll be able to add them back into another salad.
Other Things to Grow
With our salad leaves and spring onions doing well, our green fingers are getting excited by the potential of what we can grow from the kitchen. We are definitely going to start growing more.
Getting the children involved, saving money and having fresh vegetables at home – without a garden – seems perfect.
Whether it goes very badly wrong and we get no crop (I hope not), or whether we do really well, we will keep you posted so make sure you sign up to the newsletter below so you can keep up to date with future money saving ideas for the kitchen.
Do you have limited garden space or no garden? Do you grow your own vegetables or are you considering doing so? What are your tips and suggestions of what to grow?
Ricky Willis is the original Skint Dad. A money-making enthusiast, father, and husband to Naomi. He is always looking for unique ways to earn a little extra.