Our Friends Blogs: Mouthy Money - Ever thought of sharing your garden? Now renters can reap the benefits
Joyce enjoying her borrowed garden. What a fab idea!

Joyce enjoying her borrowed garden. What a fab idea!

When life’s filled with unpredictable financial instability, being as self-sufficient as possible can help.

For private tenants, the possibility of moving house is always on the cards, and I know I’m not the only one sick to death of renting. How did I deal with this stressful situation? I dealt with it by gardening, and growing food! It not only saves money, but it’s good for mental health as well as working major muscle groups (a great replacement to costly exercise classes), and it’s widely proven that meditative gardening tasks help you look after your mind. Allowing you to keep on, well, keeping on.

Lucky me, having a garden? Actually, I don’t! At the end of my last tenancy, the landlord wanted me out and the rent up (an evident trend for many), which meant moving and losing plants I’d spent time tending. After that, I decided that I’d never lose a garden I’d spent money and back breaking hours on again.

Gardening not only saves money, but it’s good for mental health.

During the hunt for my 13th (unlucky for some) home in as many years, I was green with garden envy as I noticed dozens of untended gardens around me, just as I was about to move into yet another garden-less flat. I knew this was something I could act upon. I now garden in someone else’s garden locally and I want to help others do the same and share gardens. That’s why I set up a website which allows those who have gardens lend their green space out to those who love to garden, in return for produce.

Allotment spaces in the UK have waiting lists decades long.

Not everyone can garden and many don’t have time to. Naturally, specialist garden work requires professional advice, but sharing gardens could also mean saving money on non-skilled maintenance. Garden sharing allows untended gardens to be used by others who can grow edibles and help with chores like mowing or weeding. Saving both parties money! Allotment spaces in the UK have waiting lists decades long. So, for people waiting for somewhere to grow, garden sharing is, again, equally valuable to garden owners and the garden-less. There is also evidence to show that neighborhoods where gardens are tended to, see community congruity and less crime.

Naturally, specialist garden work requires professional advice, but sharing gardens could also mean saving money on non-skilled maintenance.

Garden sharing has allowed me to become virtually self sufficient: pruning unloved fruit trees back to health has provided me with dozens of jars of jam (much appreciated thrifty gifts) and bottles and bottles of homegrown, home-brewed cider, not to mention an endless supply of greens.

Getting back to the fitness benefits, I’ve drawn up a table.

Gardening Vs. Going to The Gym. How does it weigh up?

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There you go! As effective as 45 minutes on a treadmill (burning up to 450 calories) without burning through your savings. 

Like finding a fiver, there’s a buzz to picking your own potatoes and eating home grown salad, but it also benefits the planet and your purse. Yes, eating any veg is good for you, but bagged salad can be not so good for our environment. A lot of energy is required to get food like rocket onto your plate and can equate to a substantial carbon footprint – one that seems especially big when compared with its low calorie value. There’s also the human cost to consider; logistics and labour from the picking process. So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why homegrown salad should be the way forward! As if you need more convincing, growing food for a year can cost less than a month’s supply of supermarket produce. So, essentially, you could eat free food.

Being outside gives you a greater well-being, and having better well-being means being able to deal with living in London.

Foraging is another amazing money saving tip and now’s the time to do it. Instead of looking for Pokemon, look for food in fields, trees, and bushes – Britain is bursting with berries, crab apples, and edible weeds like nettles. You can often find free food in parks in or on the outskirts of London. Also, being outside gives you a greater well-being, and having better well-being means being able to deal with living in London.

So, with no garden, it’s no problem. I hope that many more of you will join me in garden sharing, making it all the more possible to grow food. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but free food can and you’ll feel all the richer for growing and sharing it.