Real Men Sow

Are Tomatoes Really Worth that Much?? How Much Money Can Growing Your Own Save Me? August Update

I feel like a politician when they get asked on tele how much a pint of milk costs, except obviously not as influential as one.

Having grown my own since I left home, I have almost no idea of veg in the shops. I hold my hand up, I’m completely out of touch.

So you can imagine my surprise when my spreadsheet told me that the 3.3kg of ripe, red tomatoes I’d just harvested were worth nearly 14 quid.

‘That can’t be right!’ I muttered to Ailsa. ‘Look, look at this!’

‘Are you still persisting with that weighing thing?’ she replied dryly. Point taken.

Anyway, despite what MySupermarket.co.uk told me, I still didn’t believe it, so I took a walk to my local co-op to check whether these tomatoes were really worth this much money. Sure enough, they were. And these were just the bog standard toms too.

In addition, I harvested another 3kg of tomatoes during August. After previously complaining about how slow my fruits had been to ripen, they suddenly exploded. I’m proud to say that I did use them all, without freezing or chutneying. Highlights were pasta sauces, a massive cottage pie, a couple of curries and my favourite summer lunch, grilled tomatoes, sage and brown sauce on toast.

Boosted by my lucrative tomatoes, August saw my record monthly harvest record smashed. I made 52 pickings, worth £88.74, an average of £1.70 a time.

In other news, the French beans finally died off, but still provided me 863g and a saving of £4.80 during the month. I’ve got a late sowing that’s nearly ready, so hopefully I’ll get a few more before the winter.

My Autumn Bliss raspberries were also a winner. I picked 1.1kg, which worked out at over £15 compared to shop prices. I’m really pleased to be harvesting some raspberries, as my earlier varieties were rubbish this year.

And as winter approaches I’d like to extend a warm welcome back to curly kale. As well as the normal green variety, I’m growing the striking Purple Scarlet, which will really brighten the plot up once the barren months arrive.

You can have an in-depth look at my progress by clicking here to view the 2011 Veg Savings Spreadsheet working version. Please feel free to download it, and let me know how you get on.

If you’d like to read my previous montly updates, click here.

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4 Comments

  1. RobSeptember 3, 2011 at 9:33 amReply

    Wow! I had no idea they cost that much either – and the sad thing is we do buy them. Obviously not at the moment though ;>) Polytunnel will have paid for itself quicker than expected at those kind of prices!

  2. HelenSeptember 3, 2011 at 4:18 pmReply

    Just pulled all my tomatoes up due to blight – what varieties do you grow?

    My Autumn Bliss raspberries have produced a few bowlfuls which is more than I expected for their first year so that is great.

    I haven’t been keeping track but I must have saved quite a bit on veg as I don’t seem to spend much time in the veg aisle these days which is fab, just need to break my bad habits more and eat more seasonally

    • Jono

      JonoSeptember 5, 2011 at 8:29 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Helen and Rob, thanks for your comments.

      Sorry to hear about your tomatoes Helen. I’ve been lucky to avoid blight so far, but my friend had to pull up all 17 of her plants at her allotment. Heartbreaking. Guess that’s one of the downsides of allotments: if one person’s plants gets a disease, everyone’s plants get them.

      I played it pretty safe this year and grew Moneymaker, Harbinger and Gardener’s Delight.

      My raspberries are strange ones: I put loads of new ones in when I took the plot on, but they’ve been really disappointing, yet the odd, old looking Autumn Bliss ones I inherited have been really consistent.

  3. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Strange Strawberry Goings On – How Much Money Can Growing Your Own Save Me? September UpdateOctober 5, 2011 at 7:38 pmReply

    [...] Compared to August, September was a pretty low key month. It was the first month this year where an upward trajectory of savings hasn’t continued, and perhaps one of the biggest signs so far that Autumn is here, despite the balmy weather. [...]

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.

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