And the living is easy… That may be the case for the wild nasturtiums above in our home made polytunnel, but for many, today in the UK, it is not so. With prices of basic necessities rising left, right and centre, being frugal has, in itself, become a necessity. Frugal summertime is upon us.
Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.
The frugal garden has been somewhat neglected due to health problems here this year. But nature carries on regardless. Things still grow. And now a little catch up is happening, slowly, as can be managed.
Frugal Garden: Polytunnel
Life goes on in the polytunnel. This was built of pallets and food hygiene plastic discarded by a food factory. Cardboard box path.
You can see nasturtiums which self-seeded from last year and lettuce seedlings from a cheap pack of Lidl seeds which we just scattered onto a layer of homemade compost (see compost post here). Last year’s winter lettuce, kale and cabbage are still providing copious leaves. Some beans have been planted in the gaps. And some things have grown out of the compost by themselves:
A sturdy butternut squash grows among pak choi seedlings. Some tomato plants have come up like this too.
The latest upcycled pallet project, a corner seating unit, just in need of facings:
Our favourite place to buy seeds (apart from Lidl!)
House sitting and/or pet sitting can be a simple way to get really cheap
holidays or maybe even free ones if you don’t have to travel far. TrustedHousesitters
have owners registered in over 130 countries, from townhouses in London
to renovated farmhouses in Tuscany, apartments in New York to beach
homes in Hawaii. They connect pet and home owners with reliable sitters,
saving costs for both home and pet owners, and sitters looking to
travel and stay somewhere new. You can register as either a sitter or an
owner on their site with a range of membership options available.
To answer our own question: yes, eating banana peels is most definitely a thing. It’s a sustainable, no food waste, frugal and nutritious thing too! See our new pasta sauce recipe here along with more information on eating banana peels.
Creating a Forest Garden: a great book on this novel way of growing edible crops – with nature doing most of the work for you. A forest garden is modelled on young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops growing in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, there is little need for digging, weeding or pest control. Buy UK
We’ve been doing a little bit of early gardening. In the pots pictured above are: red chilli seeds bought for 10p last autumn from Asda, coriander seeds from a Thompson and Morgan sale (their special offers are always worth checking out though we also saved the seeds from last year’s coriander and will be doing later plantings with them), rosemary that we grew from cuttings (so easy, just snip healthy looking bits and stick them in pots or the ground), and some thyme that was reduced to 30p in Tesco last year. These herbs have survived the winter well.
This golden soup is light and nutritious and fragrant, the perfect panacea for all the rich food around at this time of year (post written in December). The quinoa is a great source of protein and turmeric is nicely anti-inflammatory for this hectic season. (See Frugal Christmas).
Quinoa has come down in price in recent years and most supermarkets now have it. We found it cheaply at Approved Food recently (also check Low Price Foods). Rice would also work well, as would rice noodles.
Golden Soup Ingredients (serves 4)
a handful of quinoa
2 large carrots, cut into thin inch long strips
2 sticks of celery, cut similarly
half a leek, ditto
1 small sweet potato, same cutting
1 yellow pepper, thin strips
a cup of frozen peas
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek
salt to taste
Golden Soup Method
It’s very simple. Place all the ingredients except the salt in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the quinoa has swollen and released its little tail things. Add salt to taste and enjoy!
Everything5Pounds have a great range of clothes and homewares. All for £5, sometimes less. Designer items end up in the mix too. The Works are fantastic for selling sets of books for the price you would normally pay for one, so great if you have lots of kids to buy for (or adults!).
Travelling over the festive period?
Near the Motorways: Affordable Alternatives to Service Stations (10th
Edition). This book lists places that provide a meal or a quiet rest
just five minutes from a motorway junction. The author has personally
visited and selected over 200 entries in the guide which are included
for their ambiance, friendliness, imaginative menus or peaceful
surroundings. They do not pay for inclusion so each is chosen solely on
merit. Each entry is illustrated by pen and wash drawing by the
author, for ease of recognition. Special mention is made of the welcome
for dogs and children and of any places of interest which are nearby. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Whether you want to reduce your debts, save for a holiday, stay at home with your children, live more simply or just beat the system a little and end up with more cash, we hope you find something here to help. Consider yourself as in a clothes shop – look around, try the ideas on for size, take what’s right for you and leave the rest for someone else.
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