Frugal Living Basics and Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes and Garlic to be planted

Happy New Year!

It’s wintry here in Scotland. Of course it is. It’s January after all. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have garden plans. Above are Jerusalem Artichokes (like wee nutty potatoes, but plant once and have them forever) and some garlic bulbs that sprouted in the fridge. This is a good time for planting both. We just have to brave the cold and dig them in now! See our gardening/foraging/free food section here and Jerusalem Artichokes here from Thompson and Morgan.

But on to the Frugal Basics, great for a new year and a new start. One of the quickest ways to start reducing your spending is to rein in the food bill. See our food shopping tips here and all our frugal recipes here.

frugal recipes

Also see:
Frugal Living Around the House
Cheap Holidays and Days Out
Healthy Eating on a Budget
The 25p Meal
Sourdough Bread for Pennies

Some cheap places to shop online:

Low Price Foods
Approved Food
Everything5Pounds (clothes etc.)

Featured Recipes:

Wishing you all a happy and fruitful 2022!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Making Compost, Reducing Waste, Saving Money

making compost in recycled pallet containers
Making compost in recycled pallet containers

Making compost is a great way to reduce waste and nourish the soil. It also saves money if you are in the habit of buying ready made compost. And it’s easy.

Making Compost in Triple Bins

Above are our triple compost bins made from old pallets. They are the perfect size for hot composting (faster composting) as you want your pile to be 3 feet wide x 3 feet high to make sure it heats up in the middle. You can, of course, just make it in a pile or heap. The idea behind having three bins is to have one that you’re adding material to, one that’s being left to rot down (usually for 6 or 7 months) and one that’s finished and being used in the garden or pots.

making compost from kitchen scraps and other materials

What to Put in the Compost

  • kitchen scraps of raw vegetable origin (cooked food will moulder)
  • used tea bags
  • coffee grounds
  • grass cuttings
  • leaves and twigs
  • weeds that have not gone to seed
  • garden waste such as dead or finished plants
  • seaweed
  • hair and nail trimmings
  • the contents of your hoover bag/bin
  • ripped up cardboard, the lower quality the better

You’re looking to get a good variety of layers in there to balance the nitrogen from green things and the carbon from brown things.

Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Doing It Wrong Can Be Right!

When we first started composting we did it all wrong in this container:

making compost in a plastic container

We used exclusively kitchen scraps which went a bit smelly and gooey. However, after about a year the goo did return to being basically soil and proved to be an exceedingly rich food for the plants. The ones that had a layer of this fertiliser in their pots or beds grew significantly larger than the ones that didn’t. So it can be done like that, even if you don’t want to use it for growing; it still reduces waste and returns veg scraps to the soil. The ground around compost bins always becomes beautifully rich, as you can see with the nettles above. And we don’t mean to knock the plastic bins – they can be very handy for smaller spaces.

making compost and growing squash

We intend using the wee boxes at the base of our pallet bins above to grow squash in next year.

No Dig Potatoes

Another use for cardboard in the garden is to lay it down on the ground to prepare the soil to be used in a “no dig” manner. The grass will rot away and you’ll be left with bare soil. We’re doing it over winter for next spring’s growing. We’ll then lay the seed potatoes on the ground without digging and cover them in a thick layer of grass cuttings which we will replenish throughout the summer. Potatoes should grow well in that – we will report back!

no dig poatatoes
Weighed down with old roof tiles.

Related posts

sunflower
A sunflower growing by the upcycled polytunnel (more to come on that later).

The Secret Gardening Club always have great offers of overstock from nurseries:

Newsletter: food forests and frugal gardening

frugal gardening

There’s a new article up on site about growing a food forest, turning lawns to food, though this concept can be as small as a windowsill of herbs and sprouts. See the article and read about our frugal gardening ways here.

Super Cheap Food
We also posted about some really cheap seeds and store cupboard grains we found in Asda here (still there last weekend).

Clearance food outlets Low Price Foods and Approved Foods are well worth a regular check as they get new products in often.

Cheap Clothes
Everything5Pounds: exactly what it says, though there are still some items in their £2.50 sale.

Featured Seasonal Recipes:
Bramble Chocolate Chip Cakes
Radish Top Soup
Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
Apple Pie

May the August sun shine brightly down upon you and your frugal gardening!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!



Bargain Alert: Cheap Seeds and Grains

Bargain alert for Asda - vegetable cheap seeds

Bargain alert for Asda: seeds are 15p each, and will still be fine for next year. Barley and broth mix are 20p (not sure if that’s a Scotland only situation).

Perfect for our Vegetable Barley Soup recipe!

Bargain alert for Asda - cheap barley and broth mix.

Don’t miss Low Price Foods for more food bargains.


Clearance Food and Frugal Sourdough

Clearance Food

It’s all a bit short and sweet from us today, just like the choccies pictured above! They’re from new clearance food outlet Low Price Foods, and though the front page is focused on snack items we found really cheap pasta, tins and dried fruit there too. Definitely worth a regular check as they get new things in often.

Sourdough and Gardening: We have a new post on making Sourdough for Pennies here. It also details some of our recent gardening exploits and which seeds are still good to plant in July.

Cheap Clothes: Everything5Pounds are selling three pairs of shorts for £5 at the moment!

Frugal Recipes:
All our recipes gathered together for you here: soups, mains, sides, cakes, puds, Christmas and weightloss!

May your sourdough ever rise high and your clearance food prices constantly be low…

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Sourdough Bread for Pennies – easy too!

sourdough bread decorated with parsley
A somewhat volcanic loaf, decorated with flat leaf parsley

Sourdough bread is absolutely delicious and can be really easy and cheap to make. It’s the way bread was made for thousands of years, containing healthy bacteria for the gut, and the long fermenting process partly breaks down and digests the gluten. We’re not experts by any means, and are quite lazy bakers, but we’re successfully making lovely sourdough for pennies. Tesco sometimes sell off 1kg bags of plain flour for 15p (in baskets round the store) and those are what we’ve been using here, each one making just over two loaves.

We made this starter recipe using grapes and it certainly created a wonderfully frothy active starter that sits on a windowsill and is called Herbert! There was no wasting the discard when we first fed Herbert; we made pizza dough and left it to sit all day, then topping with tomato sauce, tomatoes and Asda free from Mozzarella (they have much cheaper free from cheese than the other supermarkets). It was gorgeous.

sourdough pizza

There’s a basic sourdough bread recipe here. What follows are our lazy variations!

The first bread we made was a herby olive oil focaccia. We kneaded the dough once, coated in herbs and olive oil and left it to rise all day in a tin before baking late afternoon along with dinner. It tasted amazing.



Then we tried olive bread, and returned to the dough after a couple of hours and gave it a second kneading and shaping. This one was left to rise overnight and baked in the morning. Again, the taste of this stuff is delectable.

It was great sliced up and served with our tomato rice soup.

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

The loaf pictured at the top of the page was the result of putting it into an oven that was not pre-heated (told you, no expertise here). The high rise happened during the lower temperatures, and we love it.

For a more expert view and LOTS of ideas, we highly recommend the book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading. We’re going to be trying a jalapeño bread from there soon.

And in the garden we’ve been sowing some seeds that are good to put in during July:

potato patch poppy
A frilly red poppy popped up in the potato patch!


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site