Grow Your Food for Free (well almost)
Great money-saving ideas for your garden

By Dave Hamilton

Grow Your Food for Free (well almost)
Paperback, 240 pages £14.95
Published: 9th May 2011
ISBN: 9781900322898
Format: 170mm x 234mm


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Don't like spending money in garden stores? Think you can make it yourself for a fraction of the price or find a cheaper option? Dave Hamilton shows you how. By recycling and reusing materials creatively and making the most of what you have, you can gather all you need to grow your food on a budget. Whether it's building your own shed from scrap, constructing a path out of recycled materials, or storing your harvest without a freezer, it's all here. This practical guide takes you on a frugal journey through the seasons, from planning your space and setting up a plot to raising, harvesting, and storing your plants. It offers money-saving tips every step of the way, and tips on the actual gardening.! It's crammed full of satisfying projects, from seed saving and making your own plant feed to building a fence or garden shed and gives step-by-step instructions, with easy-to-follow diagrams.



1   Your growing space               

2   Planning                               

3   Wildlife gardening                  

4   Paths, hedges and fences     

5   The living soil                        

6   Water                                  

7   Treasure in the trash             

8   Wood                                   

PART 2  SPRING                               

09   Acquiring seeds                    

10   Protecting from the cold           

11   Seed and potting compost           

12   Raising new plants                

13   Plant labels           

14   Growing in containers           

15   Gathering ‘wild’ extras           


16   Growing upwards           

17   Dealing with weeds           

18   Feeding plants           

19   Dealing with pests and diseases                        

20   Propagating plants           

21   Making the most of your crops           

22   Gathering ‘wild’ extras           

 PART 4 AUTUMN                            

23   Harvesting                            

24   Saving seed                           

25   Propagating plants                

26   Storing crops 

27   Making leaf mould                 

28   Gathering ‘wild’ extras           


29   Winter protection                   

30   Small-scale construction        

31   Building large structures        

32   Tools                                    

Final words                                                       





1   Your growing space               

2   Planning                               

3   Wildlife gardening                  

4   Paths, hedges and fences     

5   The living soil                        

6   Water                                  

7   Treasure in the trash             

8   Wood                                   


PART 2  SPRING                               

9   Acquiring seeds                    

10           Protecting from the cold           

11       Seed and potting compost           

12 Raising new plants                

13                            Plant labels           

14              Growing in containers           

15             Gathering ‘wild’ extras           



16                    Growing upwards           

17                 Dealing with weeds           

18                        Feeding plants           

19                   Dealing with pests

     and diseases                        

20                  Propagating plants           

21  Making the most of your crops           

22             Gathering ‘wild’ extras           


PART 4 AUTUMN                            

23 Harvesting                            

           24 Saving seed                          

           25 Propagating plants                

           26 Storing crops                        

           27 Making leaf mould                 

           28 Gathering ‘wild’ extras           



    29 Winter protection                   

           30 Small-scale construction        

           31 Building large structures        

           32 Tools                                    


Final words                                                       


"Providing ingenious gardening solutions for all seasons and problems, it's sure to satisfy both your bank balance and inner eco-warrior."

- Kitchen Garden - August 2011

"Clear illustrations and photos on almost every page - but, whether dipping in and out, or reading straight through, it's like gaving a knowledgeable gardening neighbour chatting over the fence, fast-tracking you to the good stuff."

- Urban Veg Patch - June 2011

"Provides step-by-step instructions and easy-to-follow diagrams as well as being packed with ingenious ideas and money-saving tips. This book is great fun."

- Positive News - Summer 2011

"This rather clever guide includes chapters on assessing your growing space, finding materials that have been discarded by others and encouraging a healthy eco-system."

- Country & Border Life - June 2011

"Dave uses anecdotes and humour to get his message across and has created a very entertaining, yet comprehensive read. A good choice for a novice gardener with a limited budget."

- Emma Cooper - author of The Alternative Kitchen Garden: An A to Z

"Dave's book is an inspiring introduction to sustainable vegetable gardening, and is ideal for new gardeners or those seeking to change their ways. It should be in the rucksack of every student who heads off to university intent on changing the gardening world."

- BBC Gardens Illustrated - July 2011

"There are some good tups like using digital photography to help plan your garden but it is the shear warmth of the illustrations that draw me to the pages. The author takes heaps of inspiration from permaculture so it is a good guide for those seeking fresh inspiration. A highly enjoyable and useful primer for self-sufficient growing and living."

- Permaculture Magazine - Autumn 2011

"Beneath the easy-going prose lies a huge amount of helpful and practical advice. Good photographs and lively, smart illustrations also help bring the book to life."

- Real Men Sow

“Grow your Food for Free -well, almost takes a refreshing viewpoint and shows that by recycling and reusing materials creatively you can easily gather everything you need to grow your own food on a budget and end up with an individual and unique garden in the process.”

- Sepa View

“Dave’s enthusiasm for living the good life on a budget is matched perfectly by his ingenuity and resourcefulness. This book is packed with brilliant, money-saving tips that are perfect for the thrifty gardener.”

- Lucy Halsall - Editor, Grow Your Own

"A good introduction for the novice, although old hands will also find a few items to interest them."

- Bob Flowerdew

"Given the future convergence of ecological, economic and social crises we're faced with, Hamilton's book is absolutely perfect for anyone concerned about both their pockets and the planet that sustains them. Not only is this book beautifully illustrated, it's also an incredible wealth of information that will empower you to simultaneously save a lot of money and walk more gently on the Earth. Fantastic."

- Mark Boyle, author of The Moneyless Man and founder of Freeconomy.

"Dave's considerable charm and warm writing style are clearly evident in this book. Ditch the expensive 'must have' gardening gadgets - this book is a real treasure trove of ingenious ideas that anyone can put together for pennies. Readers stand to glean invaluable growing tips by the spadeful!"

- Benedict Van Heems - Editor, Grow It!

"Dave Hamilton is passionate about encouraging self-sufficiency, and is keen to show how this can be achieved at minimal cost. Dave writes in a clear and accessible way, and his Self-Sufficient-ish Bible has proved a highly popular guide to low-impact living in an urban environment."

- Simon McEwan - Editor, Country Smallholding

Dave Hamilton

Dave grew up in the midlands market town of Northampton, a place hailed as the most demographically average town in the country. He travelled throughout his late teens and early twenties in both the UK and elsewhere in the world. When he wasn’t travelling he played in a series of bands reaching the dizzy heights of supporting Rolf Harris and one hit wonders, Doctor and the Medics.

After leaving Northampton he moved to Oxford to study Nutrition and Food Science at Oxford Brookes. It was here he began experimenting in self sufficiency in an urban setting, growing most of his food in his back garden, on his allotment and supplementing this by foraging within the city limits. He soon realised the limitations an urban environment brought with it and coined the phrase 'self-sufficient-ish'. This led to the setting up of the website which aimed to share his experiences with a wider audience. He still runs the website along with his twin brother Andy and a team of hardworking volunteers, the self proclaimed ‘ishers’. The website’s success saw the commissioning of his first book, also a co-project with his twin, the critically acclaimed Self Sufficient-ish Bible.

Dave continues to grow his own food and has always done so no matter where he has found himself living (flats, terraced houses in towns, cities and in the countryside). He’s worked for numerous charities taking care of their productive gardens and their volunteering workforce. He has always championed the low budget approach to gardening, not only as it is accessible to all but also as his chosen career (writer and gardener) has meant he never really ever has much money. This has resulted in many years of finding low cost or even free solutions to everyday problems.

He occasionally appears on TV and Radio to talk about urban gardening, allotments and foraging. He occasionally works as a forager and has taught the subject to National Trust staff and at the Eden Project. He also now writes for a diverse range of publications including gardening magazines, food magazines and comic book legend Alan Moore’s latest offering Dodgem Logic. He sometimes still plays in bands and was once runner up in the Tuborg Comedy Awards for his German Techno Band ‘Vontergarten’.

His website is


Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781900322898
Format: 170mm x 234mm

BISAC Code:  GAR005000, GAR025000
Imprint: Green Books

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