Real Men Sow

June Grow Your Own Money Saving Experiment Update – A Saving of £51.09!

strawberry (5)

One thing I learnt from previous GYO money saving experiments, is that when it comes to grow your own, soft fruit is a winner.

Harvests are generally good, plants are pretty low maintenance and the prices in the shops are sky high.

Strawberries are no exception to this, and as the strawb season came around, I harvested approximately 3kg of strawberries from my beds, to the value of £20.42.

You’re Only Saving Money if You’re Eating It!
This is a lesser yield to ones I’ve experienced on my allotment, but my space is smaller. This has taught me something else: a saving isn’t really a saving unless you’re eating fruit and veg you would otherwise be buying.

As much as I love strawberries, there is only so much one can eat. In the past, I’ve harvested upwards of 10kg in a month but ended up giving lots away or in some sad circumstances, throwing the fruit in the compost bin as it had gone off.

3kg of strawberries is actually just about right for me, Ailsa and Lewis. I maybe wouldn’t have minded another kilo or so for some cakes or jam, but I’ve realised the size of my patch is a good one. If I go back to an allotment one day, I now know I won’t need as much for strawberries, and can designate the spare space for other fruit or veg.

Working out estimated savings is also dependent on what you’re comparing your homegrown goodies to. I decided to go against the mid-range supermarket offering at £5.71 a kilo, as opposed to the ‘value’ £2.75 per kilo or the ‘extra special’ £7.14 per kilo. My strawbs aren’t that great. :)

Broad Beans and Mangetout
Broad beans were a big surprise to me as well. I don’t grow a big amount as we don’t eat many, but there are a few seasonal recipes I really enjoy, such as some risotto and pasta dishes. I was really taken aback at how much broadies are in the shops though: at £5.98 a kilo, my 2100g harvest was worth £12.79.

Shame the blackfly have got them now!

The mangetout continue to be productive growing up wigwams, and contributed 1.1kg of pods, to the value of £7.55.

Gooseberries
My next conundrum is how to work out the value of the gooseberry harvest. I enjoy eating fruit with yoghurt after dinner most evenings, so from a financial point of view, growing fruit is very beneficial, especially if the fruit is freezable like gooseberries.

I’ve harvested the first of my gooseberries, which I stewed up for dessert, but the bush is laden and a lot of the remaining fruit is likely to be frozen for the Winter. I’m undecided whether to value this crop as fresh gooseberries, or against tinned ones as I use the gooseberries in the colder months.

Oh the travails of spreadsheet geekiness. :)

In summary, this has all added up to a June saving of £51.09, bringing my total for the first two and half months of the experiment to a steady £91.56.

See the Working Spreadsheet
I’ve uploaded my working spreadsheet with all my harvests, and if you’re interested in calculating savings or curious as to what I’ve been harvesting, you can view the spreadsheet by clicking here.

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One Comment

  1. LizzyJuly 8, 2015 at 8:51 amReply

    I’m sorry but I think your spreadsheet link might not be working – it just takes you back to the blog homepage.

    I find your updates really useful. We took on an allotment last June but are counting this summer as our first real year since we spent all last year clearing perennial weeds! We are keeping a similar spreadsheet. Have you heard of myharvest (https://sites.google.com/a/sheffield.ac.uk/myharvest/home)? They are studying how much urban/suburban growing could contribute to food security for cities. I’m sure they’d be keen for you to contribute your yield data.

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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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