Magic Money Tree

Magic Money Trees?

They say money doesn’t grow on trees but savings do – and on bushes – and in the ground – if we grow our own fruit and veg. Find out how at-home harvesting helps Cloud Gardener Jason Williams save on groceries and improve his wellbeing

With food prices going up, there’s never been a better time to grow your own…

Plot Your Path

Most of us don’t have our own allotment and the waiting lists are long. But that doesn’t have to stop us growing our own. A single bed in a garden can be used, and we can even grow lettuce, spinach, radishes, and even carrots in a window box.

More community gardens are cropping up, where fruit and veg are often grown. The social farms and gardens website has a list of these all over the UK. We can find our nearest on their website.

Feeling bolder? We can set up our own community garden. The Royal Horticultural Society has a resource page with all the steps needed to do exactly that. It includes everything from finding the land and what we’d need on-site, to finding a grant to get us started.

Meet the ‘Cloud Gardener

No matter the small space, or height of our building, there is always room to sow our seeds. Just look at Jason Williams, who set out to grow a garden on his 18th floor balcony during lockdown. 

“We have different challenges with the wind and the sun,” he says. “I had to rip up the rule book and learn on the go. And then I decided to create a social media platform to share what I’d found out.”

And so the Cloud Gardener was born! It wasn’t just his balcony garden that was blossoming – his following was too as he branched out on social media.

“I have a whole segment on my YouTube channel all about indoor gardening and my indoor kitchen garden and how to grow from seed, cheap ways to regrow things. I regrow spring onions and garlic and lemon trees and all sorts of different things from kitchen scraps just to save money.”

And he was amazed when his creation caught the eye of the late Queen, who asked her driver to pull over and let her speak to Jason to find out more about his garden.

Jason is keen to spread the message that gardening can be for everyone – even if we rent our home or don’t have loads of cash to spare. In fact, if we can grow our own it can turn into a hobby that actually saves us money.

Healthy and Wealthy?

Jason also discovered that nurturing his garden was helping his long-term struggle with anxiety and depression.

“I’m quite open with the fact I’ve struggled,” he says. “But having a garden is a really great way for me to go out and just pause and reflect. There’s something great about watching plants that you’ve nurtured come alive.

There are loads of health benefits of growing our own fruit and veg. Gardening is physical, and all that digging and planting, weeding and watering gives us a healthy workout. 

The mental health charity MIND ran a project called ‘Eco Therapy’ where people spent time gardening and growing to try and help their mental health. Seven out of ten of the people involved said the programme gave them a ‘significant increase’ in wellbeing. 

Cheap and cheerful?

Is it really cheaper to grow your own fruit and veg? Which? Magazine found that for things that are expensive in the shops, like soft fruit (raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes etc.), the answer is yes, it’s cheaper. These vegetables are also easy to grow on balconies. 

Angela Slater from Hayes Garden World said, “Homegrown produce could cost you as little as £24 for an estimated 2-6 months worth of harvest, with the seeds required to plant these being easily accessible at many garden centres and online retailers.” 

With all the benefits that come from community and home gardening, it can also be a challenge. 

“Be prepared to fail. It sounds awful but part of gardening is learning to accept failure because it doesn’t always go to plan,” Jason told us. But he encourages us to not give up and keep on trying. 

Follow Jason’s journey with gardening and learn from his trials and errors on his social media accounts. 

Jason’s website is and he’s on Instagram (@cloudgardeneruk), Facebook ( and YouTube (@CloudGardenerUK)

Image: Krailath / Shutterstock

Co-edited by Joe Cohen-Evans

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