Gardening on a Budget

Blog by Harriet O'Shea, Digital Communications Officer at Food for Life

We’re only three weeks away from Grandparent Gardening Week (1-5 April) where generations come together to dig out those green thumbs and kick-start their growing adventure. It can be intimidating starting a school garden when funding and time is limited, so we’ve pulled together our top tips for gardening on a budget.

The best compost is FREE

Quality, nutrient rich soil is made up from lots of organic matter, so if you have space you should definitely make your own compost which you can add to your veg garden. Ask your kitchen cooks to save vegetable peel and put a food waste kitty in the staff room for teabags and coffee grinds. You can find out more about making your own compost from Garden Organic.

Organise a seed swap

Reach out to parents, grandparents and your local community and host a seed swap hour after school, or ask for donations. Buying packets of seeds can soon build up the cost, and many keen gardeners will harvest the seeds of their crops for the following season.


Don’t worry about seedling trays as you can plant your seeds in egg boxes, toilet roll tubes or make your own paper pots from recycled newspaper.

You can use grow plants in ANYTHING.

From strawberry plants wellies to herb gardens in pallets; from growing courgettes in Ikea bags to potatoes in old tyres; get creative with your containers.


For bank holidays and school holiday, make sure your plants are watered through these upcycled plastic bottles.

Ask for 2nd hand tools

Many gardeners have collected far more tools than they will ever use, and duplicates are banished to the hidden depths of sheds and garages. Encourage parents, grandparents and your local community to have a spring clean and donate spare tools and gardening supplies to a good cause. Older tools are often sturdier and better quality, which means they’ll last longer.

Forage for plant supports

If you’re growing beans or peas or any other climbing plants, they’ll need to be supported. Instead of shopping for bamboo canes, go for a forage; hazel and other trees and shrubs with long, straight stems can be used to make plant supports for free.

Feeling ambitious?

Create a greenhouse from plastic bottles

Create a mini polytunnel

We hope you feel inspired and make sure you register for Grandparent Gardening week. Do send us your photos as we would love to know what you’ve been up too, and feel free to suggest any other #gardening tips you think we’ve missed.

GGW sign up


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