If you've got a garden, an outdoor space of any kind, or just a ledge on your kitchen window, you can use it to start saving money. By growing your own food and by making sure there's lots of edible goodies in the cupboard and fridge.
Springtime is traditionally the time to start sowing seeds for harvesting food later in the year. And it is traditional to do so at this time of they year because, well, that's how nature works.
Except, not all plants need to be planted now to grow. That's just one of the many many questions I have to find an answer for. Because I have absolutely no clues whatsoever when it comes to growing food. I'd love to do it but have no idea what is involved or even where to start.
So if like me you're more than just a beginner at gardening, read on. Here's some of the help I managed to find online! These are the five gardening blogs that have helped me get started and answer what are probably really stupid questions to more experienced gardeners. Like, just how many seeds do you put in a pot when propagating carrots. And how do I know what kind of soil I have?
In fact I didn't even know I needed to ask that last question until I started reading up on the blogs. I had no idea that plants needed particular types of soil to grow!
My Tiny Plot
Run by a mother of two who lives in Bath, My Tiny Plot proved to be a great starting place for me. It is simply a lovely blog to read even if you're not doing any gardening yourself. She has a nice way of writing, and the photos she uses are just beautiful. Just look at the pictures shown here (above and below).
Using her Guide to 10 jobs for April, I have decided to start with carrots. I have no idea what is meant by "sow successional crops" though! I thought I was doing well having grasped that there are some crops that grow up every year, and others that you have to renew every year.
It isn't in the guide to Gardening Jargon I've been using! This is otherwise excellent by the way, and a great starting place to unravel the mysteries of this past time. But. Maybe there's a better one out there? If any more experienced folks are reading this, please post and let me know. Trust me, I need ALL the help I can get.
The Smallest Smallholding
Lucy and her partner Rich moved into a house with a small, attached unused block of land off the garden. There was nothing that could be done with the land as it had lost its access to a road. So the previous owners, her parents, had bought it.
Now Lucy is trying to turn it into a slice of 'the good life'. And The Smallest Smallholding tracks her progress, as well as her four ex-battery hens, and cats.
As well as being a lovely read, this is also an inspirational one. Although I don't have any land I could make use of like this! We do have a very large railway embankment behind our house but I think the railway people take a very dim view of people getting into their land.
For really practical stuff, you can't beat the BBC's Gardener's World. This is its blog. One section that is well worth checking out is the What To Do Now tab. This has very handy weekly checklists.
On the blog, I particularly liked Kate Bradbury's post on growing herbs. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in killing off the herbs I try to grow, mostly through neglect. But equally good to see that really it's not a reason to give up altogether. We can't all be perfect gardeners. Maybe mediocre is good enough for most of the time.
I reviewed the Stewart Company self watering Herb Pot amongst other items a wee while ago, so am doing my best to grow herbs. As it holds a lot of water, I may actually have a chance this time! My first attempt from seed is Basil. Or rather, will be. Incidentally, I bought these seeds in Sainsbury's yesterday as part of a 2 for the price of 1 offer. I also got packets of carrot seeds and rocket.
Guardian Gardening Blog
Access to all the Guardian newspaper's gardening stories (and the Observers) can be found on this page, so it is a useful one to bookmark. I love the charming stories in the blog posts.
If you click on the Ask Us A Question link at the top of the page, then scroll down you'll see links to Stumped? This is their gardening question and answer page. I find it really interesting to look through, and see what problems other people have had and the answers they were given.
And Finally ...
Bake the Lawn! No not literally as it is. The Real Bread Campaign wants kids to learn how we get from seed to sandwich, so it is running Bake the Lawn throughout 2011. You can download the free grassroots guide from their website.