Changing the conversation about health

Gardening with no garden: Producing abundant pots with a £50 budget – using old beer cans and mole hills for compost

‘I’ve been eating fresh strawberries every day for a month now’, keen amateur gardener Piers Day, a Neuro Linguistic Programming trainer and College of Medicine member, tells us.

On a sizeable patch of gravel outside his front door, Piers has managed to create an enviable lockdown garden without access to green space.


Tins of Suffolk brew Old Speckled Hen are brimming with salad while terracotta pots house blossoming courgettes, radishes and chard.

He explains: ‘Every single pot that you can see in the photos is rubbish destined for landfill. We had to drink the beer, obviously, to get the cans but the larger pots came from friends who were throwing them out or I spotted them dumped on the roadside ready to be thrown out.’


Living in rented accommodation ahead of a house move, Piers decided to make the most of his temporary home’s sunny disposition and set about getting free manure from local stables and even using mole hill soil to top up his plants – just as the country was going into lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


In all, the NLP trainer and coach says he’s spent just £50 on his garden – with £30 on extra compost and £20 on seeds.

Piers told us: ‘I’ve always had a vegetable garden and while in between houses I can’t have a garden so I decided to put a trailer on the drive and give it a go.’

‘My tip is don’t be scared of gardening. All plants need is good soil and water and sun.

I’ve been able to focus on it more because of lockdown; for the first eight weeks I was here alone and it kept me sane – the mental health side of gardening is hugely important.’

And in the spirit of social prescribing, Piers says he’s not only eaten well from his fresh food source but he’s also traded his own vegetables with others, including swapping his courgettes for sweetcorn from a local resident.