Escape to the Chateau's Dick and Angel Strawbridge reveal their trick for saving money when planting up their walled garden every year

They can plant more crops each year without spending a penny.

tv show escape to the chateaus cast
(Image credit: Ian Wallace)

Fans of Channel 4's hit show Escape to the Chateau will already be familiar with Dick and Angel Strawbridge's sprawling walled garden. The space is packed with rows of vegetables, fruits and flower beds they use to feed and adorn the Chateau where they not only live but host weddings and other big events.

It's not easy filling such a large vegetable garden on a budget, but they've let us in on their secret for how they make their money and plants go further every year, and it's a smart budget garden idea you can use yourself.

Speaking to Dick and Angel ahead of their 'Forever Home' UK tour in Autumn, the couple told Ideal Home that they are avid seed savers and it's how they make sure they can plant more crops year after year without spending a penny.

Carrot metal sign in a veg patch

(Image credit: Ian Wallace)

'Seed saving is something we really advocate, you keep the seeds and next year we'll have more,' Dick tells Ideal Home. 'We have the same salad bowl lettuce we planted in our first year - which is eight years ago - in the garden because we keep the seeds and replant.'

So after shelling out for one packet of seeds, you can keep growing more and more plants without spending anymore. It's the ultimate gardening trick for making your money go further when planning a vegetable garden.

However, it doesn't stop there, as Dick and Angel had an additional top tip to ensure your seeds continue to deliver year after year. They recommend looking at the back of the seed packet to check you are investing in traditional seeds, not hybrids.

Row of produce with copper sign on a tree

(Image credit: Ian Wallace)

'Buying a hybrid plant you can't be sure of what the plant will give you, you have two plants together and those seeds can go in all sorts of directions. So we always buy the traditional seeds, which means any seeds we keep breed true. They give the same tomatoes again, they give the same lettuce again,' explains Dick.

'We bought a dozen sweet corn seeds, Rainbow sweet corn seeds, and 12 seeds, which cost about 10 euros,' adds Dick. 'We planted them last year, I think we had about six or eight of them grew, and then I kept a cob of the rainbow, and since then we've never bought any seeds for our sweetcorn or rainbow sweet corn and we give everybody seeds for theirs.'

The easy way to check that you are not accidentally buying a hybrid seed is to look out for 'F1' in the plant name. If it says this, then you're looking at a pack of hybrids.

If you're keen to try seed collecting yourself all you need to do is let your plant 'go to seed' in the form of flowers, or collect the fruit or berries. You will need to keep a close eye on your ripening seeds to make sure they don't disperse on their own.

Then you simply collect the seeds and store them in an air-tight container until you're ready to plant them.

You can learn more about the Strawbridge DIY and gardening tips at the Forever Home tour, where they will also be searching for the UK's ultimate 'Jack of All Trades' to kickstart the next big Escape to the Chateau project. Guests can expect anything from icing a cake to plumbing and electrics, no task is out of bounds. Will you be taking part?

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.