Real Men Sow

How Much Money Can Growing My Own Save Me? March Update

a march harvest

At last, it happened. On March 13th, after weeks of begging and cajoling, my purple sprouting broccoli finally sprung in to action. My plants had looked really healthy for weeks, but just wouldn’t sort themselves out. And then, one glorious Sunday afternoon, I picked 50g of perfectly purple heads, saving myself 39p in the process.

During March, I picked a total of 364g of PSB, which represented a saving of £2.86. Interestingly, this all came from a solitary plant, so once the other two catch up, I’ll be on to a winner – especially with purple sprouting currently commanding £7.85 a kilo in the shops.

Rhubarb!
Another newbie for the year, and something else that made me very happy was rhubarb. I absolutely love rhubarb. It is probably my favourite fruit or veg that I grow. For me, cutting the first delicious stems marks the start of a whole new season.

I tucked into over a fiver’s worth of rhubarb during March, despite only picking three times, making rhubarb a really good option if you’re looking to grow money-saving crops. In fact, the price of the ‘barb shot up in between my second and third harvests, from £6.25 a kilo, to £7.50 for the same weight.

Sadly, I did say goodbye to my Brussells in March. One last handful saved me 26p.

Other Produce
The rest of my harvests were much the same as February: curly kale at its new price of £7.00 a kilo (up £1.05), carrots and leeks, which continue to provide good, steady savings. Four harvests saw savings of £5.33, or 53p a leek.

I also continued to harvest spinach, although I didn’t increase my spinach consumption as much as I said I would, and my squashes made me megabucks each time I fetched one from store. I used 3 squashes in March, worth £6.76 in total.

Outgoings
Outgoings were minimal this month, with a £1.89 packet of parsnips the only expenditure. I’m running low on other seeds though, so I might have to take a hit in the coming weeks. I’ve also managed not to buy any multi-purpose compost so far by rejuvenating last year’s container soil with some of my own compost.

Total Saving
All in all, I used £30.23 of veg in my meals last month, up £9.90 compared to February. I made 33 separate harvests, which averaged a saving of 92p per picking – the same as last month. However, that did include a few penny salads, bringing my average tumbling down!

You can have a look at my up-to-date spreadsheet at the 2011 Veg Savings Spreadsheet page by clicking here. Please feel free to download it, and let me know how you get on.

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9 Comments

  1. b-a-gApril 2, 2011 at 6:36 amReply

    Really interested in your project. You could extend your spreadsheet to compare flavour as well as cost.

  2. EmmaApril 2, 2011 at 8:06 amReply

    A lot of it comes down to how you grow. As James Wong pointed out at the Edible Garden Show, if you’re an urbanite who invests in posh pots for the patio and all the gear then your potatoes are likely to be frightening expensive – they’re better off growing the expensive, exotic stuff. But if you have an allotment (or a sizeable garden) and a penchant for cost-saving then everything you grow can save you money.

    • Jono

      JonoApril 3, 2011 at 7:52 amReplyAuthor

      Hi all.

      Thanks for your comments as always.

      Emma – I agree completely. If you’re looking at it purely from money saving, its not just about the veg. The other bits soon stack up.

      I think sometimes it is easier on an allotment, as there is less pressure to make it look attractive. You can get away with using more or less anything. I’ve seen old fishing rods to hold runners up for example – not sure I’d get away with that in the garden! Mind you, Mark at http://www.VerticalVeg.org.uk manages it. That site is a real inspiration.

      Alan – I’d be interested to know how our prices stack up compared to yours. I use http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk for prices.

      b-a-g – Welcome to the site. :) I reckon next year might be the year of flavour, so watch this space.

      Julia – thanks for your kind words, its good to know people are reading!

  3. Alan @ it's not work it's gardeningApril 2, 2011 at 12:17 pmReply

    Your veg prices seem really high there! I’d be interested to see a list of common veg and the prices the shops are charging now, for comparison with our prices here. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to find PSB in our grocery store though. =)

  4. Julia@PolkaDotGaloshesApril 2, 2011 at 11:01 pmReply

    Congrats on the broc and the wonderful savings! Always love stopping by your blog, fills me with hope for my own veggie garden, love learning so much here!!! Cheers Julia

  5. CroilaApril 4, 2011 at 12:41 pmReply

    I’d love an allotment so I don’t get moaned at when I’m “inventive” with plastic buckets, bags, canes, all that kind of paraphernalia that, yes, does look pretty ugly! But then again, having food growing so close to the kitchen offsets that I guess :-)

    • Jono

      JonoApril 5, 2011 at 8:21 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Croila.

      That’s a good point. This year, I’ve put the stuff I just grab and use, like salads, radish, spinach etc in my back garden. I moved my herbs there last summer and it was great just being able to walk out and pick things.

      All my other veg and fruit is at the alloment.

  6. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » My Favourite 5 Rhubarb RecipesApril 4, 2011 at 8:44 pmReply

    [...] How Much Money Can Growing My Own Save Me? March Update [...]

  7. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Anxious Times for the Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Wishing It Would Get ColderApril 17, 2011 at 8:08 pmReply

    [...] Start My PSB was slow to get going this year, and initially only one plant was producing. I made my first picking around the middle of March, and once the other three plants caught up, I was harvesting decent crops about every three [...]

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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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