An Excellently Obvious Allotment Beginners Tip: Grow What You Eat!
…and why I need reminding of it: there are a bunch of parsnips in the bottom of my fridge. They’ve been there nearly two weeks.
I remembered they were there when I was cooking yesterday. ‘I must use those up,’ I muttered to myself as I pushed them aside in favour of something else.
That something else was cavolo nero – something else that I actually really like to eat.
I was cross with myself. One of my favourite GYO beginner tips is grow what you like to eat. Yet every year I waste space with veg that we don’t eat much of.
Parsnips are one such veg. We’re not much of a Sunday roast family, and I went off parsnip soup a while ago. So why do I carry on growing parsnips every year? Why don’t I follow my own advice!
It’s a pretty obvious concept when you think about it, but still one that often passes me by, despite their being a number of excellent reasons to stick to growing what you eat.
You’ll save money #1 – eat what you would otherwise buy
If you eat a lot of a certain veg, it makes sense to grow as much as you can. If you only eat a couple of cauliflowers a year, I’d recommend buying them. For good money saving returns, concentrate on the crops that you and your family eat lots of.
We munch through loads of squashes in our household, as well as extra beetroot and French beans. Veg such as these can be stored, frozen or pickled, so make them a great option for money saving crops all year round.
You’ll save money 2 – you won’t buy loads of seeds you don’t need
This always reminds me of my first trip to the nursery. The sun was out, and I was as keen as mustard. There weren’t many seeds that didn’t go in to my basket that day. If you could grow it on an allotment (and even if you couldn’t in the case of the indoor aubergines), I bought it.
You could imagine my embarrassment (and shock) when the till rung up nearly fifty quid. Ouch. Thanks goodness for my mum offering to go halves for her garden.
(I never did grow half those seeds…!)
You won’t waste your food
See parsnips in blog intro…
Not growing veg you don’t eat? You can use the extra space for an experiment
Every year, I like to try a different crop that I’ve never grown before. This helps develop my growing knowledge and adds extra interest to the season. In the past, I’ve experimented with sweet potatoes, melons, aubergines and different varieties of squashes.
Of course, you can just not use the extra space…
Not using the extra space you’ve created by avoiding some veg is definitely just as much of a valid option too.
Concentrating on nurturing the other veg that you really want to crop well is important, and if growing less allows you to focus on those mainstay crops then this can only be a good thing. It is definitely better to grow 8 excellent crops, than 15 average ones.