When you are trying all the time to live as frugally as possible but feed your family and live well, then growing your own veg is something we can all do - whether it is herbs on the kitchen windowsill or spuds at an allotment.
Over the last few years we have transformed a third of our garden into food production, and have tried growing different veg. Even with the appalling weather in the UK last 'summer', we had wonderful crops of potatoes, spinach, onions and spring onions, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, peas - all grown in the garden; and tomatoes and chillis - in the lean-to greenhouse.
I spend a little time each day pottering, tidying, watering my veg patch - I can whizz around and water a full patch in 15 minutes if I don't have much time, followed by a wonderful lost hour the next day with Radio 3 on my solar radio as background accompaniment.
The rewards speak for themselves: we eat everything we grow which saves on food bills. I don't use harmful chemicals, so the food is as healthy as it's going to get. To repel slugs I mix coffee grounds (from MW's cafetiere) and crushed egg shells, and sprinkle this around my leafy plants.
I buy my seeds from an amazing company online - I am not sponsored, and gain nothing by promoting them - but they have never let me down, and the quality of their seeds is excellent.
The company is called Haddons: Click here the seeds arrive in little brown envelopes with no additional unnecessary packaging, and the postage is minimal.
I've been using this online company for three years now for all my seeds, and honestly cannot fault them - and I have emailed them to tell them as well! - and wholeheartedly recommend them to you.
I have purchased everything to grow our veg for the year, and including postage this comes to £10.89.
For this I have purchased:
Lettuce 500 seeds
Spring onions 1000 seeds
Leeks 300 seeds
Spinach 250 seeds
Carrots 1000 seeds
Beetroot 100 seeds
Swede 250 seeds
Celery 1000 seeds
Parsnips 500 seeds
Tomato 50 seeds
Onion 500 seeds
All I buy in addition to this is seed potatoes, and MW and I like to pop up to our local garden centre to buy these. (He likes to have good look at them - you know, properly look them in the eyes!) And we have our annual cuppa there as well - we like to keep them in business!!
I plant my spuds in sacks - I was given six spud growing sacks for Christmas a few years ago and they are washed out at the end of the growing season and reused - and I also use large bags for life and empty compost bags with drainage holes punched in the bottom.
I make my own compost from kitchen scraps and shredded newspaper, grass cuttings, etc. This gets beautifully turned into the richest compost by the garden worms - I've never added any additionally (although I know of folk who have) - and the compost-y soil is then taken from the bottom of the compost bin and dug into the garden or popped into pots.
For seeds, I use old margarine tubs, and loo roll insides for root veg (this is no guarantee for perfect long roots, but gives them a good start) before transferring them to the ground when they are established.
It's a cold day here, the greenhouse is empty and the last of the winter parsnips are waiting to be pulled form the ground.
My gardening task today is planning - HM socks on feet, cuppa in hand, pencil and paper and dog by my feet.
What are you planning to grow to eat this year?
Even a few cress seeds in an old tub can save you money, after all....