On bargains and John Denver

When I was eight, my school class had a substitute teacher for three weeks. They were the best three weeks of the school year as she spent the whole time teaching us songs and showing us episodes of the muppets. The reason I tell you this is she taught us a song by John Denver, called “The Garden Song”, which to this day when I think of it, gets stuck in my head for weeks on end.

John Denver performing  The Garden Song on the Muppet Show

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground

The unfortunate truth is, it takes quite a lot more than this to get a garden up and running. A rake and a hoe, though essential, won’t get you very far. There’s spades, forks, trowels, dibbers, secateurs, watering cans, sheds, greenhouses, polytunnels, pots, propogators,  protective fleece, netting, wooden stakes, bamboo canes..the list could go on for quite a while. That’s before you even consider the cost of seeds, compost etc. The first year of a garden is not a cheap one.

I thought a blog post about affordable gardening supplies would be beneficial to everyone and I will probably do a few. Before I tell you of some of my recent purchases though, I urge you to recycle as much as you can, not only is it better for our environment and easier on the wallet, it promotes creative thinking in the garden, which is part of the fun of the growing experience. I will most likely do some posts on recycling ideas for your garden at a later date so keep an eye out.

I have shopped around quite a lot the past few weeks, trying to get good deals. It’s always a good idea to check your local hardware shop for tools etc as they will most likely be a lot more affordable than those in the larger shops. Tesco have a sale on their gardening supplies at the moment, I managed to pick up quite a few cheap items, plant labels for 79 cent, garden twine for €1.50 and an eight pack of pots for €2.50. I bought a lovely blue spade for only €7.50, they also have matching gardening forks for €12.00.

It’s almost foolish not to check Aldi and Lidl for their weekly deals. Aldi in particular have excellent deals this week, I spent less than €30 this morning and bagged myself two large sheets of protective fleece, two packs of weed control fabric, two large bags of organic compost, protective netting and bamboo canes. I also bought a heated propagator last week in Lidl for €19.99. These prices are a fraction of those in the large garden centres and it’s well worth investing in them now as they sell out very quick.

Only €2.99 each in Aldi

These shops are also brilliant for buying seeds with many of the packets costing only 79 cent, compared to the €3 or €4 in the garden centres. That being said, garden centres are,of course, better for buying certain items, in particular seed potatoes, onion sets, perennial plants and special variety seeds.

It may seem like a false economy to buy cheap gardening tools, however, in the first year, there’s quite a lot of expense and I think the more deals I can get, the better. Once I have all the essential items, I can then think about buying more expensive items if I want.

On the growing side of things, I’ve had some excitement the past two days as my chilli and pepper seeds have germinated. It only took six days which is very quick, I was expecting them to take at least ten to twenty days, investing in the heated propagator is already paying off. I also planted some parsley yesterday, as I hear it can take up to a month to germinate.

Devils Brew seedlings

I’ll put up more tips on where to find gardening bargains in a few weeks. For now, I’ll leave you with the second verse of the garden song which is very much echoes my current sentiments about my gardening efforts.

Inch by inch
Row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone keep them safe below
Till the rains come a-tumblin’ down

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