Real Men Sow

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

It’s getting to that time of year when veg is few and far between. ‘The ‘Hungry Gap’ between winter crops and summer ones is taking hold.

I used £34.25 of homegrown food during April – my best monthly total yet, even despite a 5 day holiday over Easter, but produce is starting to wane.

What’s Left?
Of my winter grub, I’ve got half a dozen leeks left, the dregs of my curly kale, and some finally failing perpetual spinach. There are three squashes left in store which are showing their first signs of deterioration, and some 2010 gooseberries in the freezer.

On the bright side, my rhubarb is still going strong, and has been a real moneysaver this month. I picked over 1.5kg, saving me a whopping £11.34. I couldn’t believe the price of the fruit-cum-veg when I checked, but I did notice yesterday that it had plummeted in cost from £7.50 a kg to £3.75 over the last few days. I can only speculate that this is because it is now more readily available, and maybe the early stuff was forced and therefore expensive.

Financial merits aside, this seems another brill reason to grow your own. Sometimes, just sometimes, your own veg and fruit comes well before the commercial growers. I’ve been picking rhubarb since the middle of March, unforced.

PSB Struggles
The other cash-crop, my purple sprouting broccoli, continues to struggle with the scorching weather. I’ve not picked any since the 9th April, and already two of the plants are going to seed. Lots of frowns and disappointment here, as PSB is such a tasty vegetable.

Leeks continue to be surprisingly steady financially. I harvested about 1.5kg in April, worth £6.44.

What’s Coming?
I expect the next month to be a bit of a lull in terms of produce, but broad beans, spring greens, onions, garlic, globe artichokes, lettuce and radishes should hopefully start appearing on the spreadsheet during May. Finger crossed for a few gooseberries and strawberries too…

Check Out the Spreadsheet
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. Alan @ it's not work it's gardeningMay 3, 2011 at 7:24 pmReply

    One possible fault in your spreadsheet logic: would you normally be eating 1.5 Kg of leeks a month if you weren’t growing it yourself? If not, then the full 1.5 Kg can’t be used to calculate savings. With my garden for instance, I’d probably buy one small container of cherry tomatoes all summer long — they’re just not something I buy regularly. But since I’m growing them, I’ll eat loads more than that — probably 5 times as much at the very least.

    Still, it’s great that you’re calculating the food costs — I’m certainly not trying to discourage you. :-)

  2. PaulMay 4, 2011 at 8:06 pmReply

    I’ve thought about doing something like this before, but then I worry that if you add in the cost of seed/seedlings, the potting compost and water etc you’ve used to grow them things would suddenly start looking less impressive… Having said that comparing it to the price of veg at farmers markets etc (a fairer contest I guess) and you’d be laughing… :)

  3. TrevorMay 7, 2011 at 7:29 amReply

    Hi Jono, Just come across your blog and have to say l am well impressed. I used to live in Burnham years back. My brother, Jared and sister Kim still live there.I now live in France but after 7 years we are coming back…not to Burnham though! I had my first allotment in Burnham when l was about 10. Blimey, thats over 40 years ago! I still garden today and love it. In fact, its how l earn a living. Anyway, will be calling by, keep up the good work and say hello to Burnham from me!

  4. TopVegMay 9, 2011 at 9:11 pmReply

    Hi Jono This is very interesting – great savings! Do you cash in when you have a glut & sell a bit? That would really help the spread sheet!
    TopVeg

  5. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Radishes in a RushMay 11, 2011 at 8:33 pmReply

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

  6. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » How Much Money Can Growing My Own Save Me? May UpdateMay 31, 2011 at 6:06 pmReply

    [...] After April’s prediction of a May blip in harvesting levels, you can imagine my excitement when I totted up my pickings and had actually beaten my previously monthly record by £17.46 ! [...]

  7. Stephen MarkJuly 13, 2011 at 4:25 pmReply

    Jono, you are a great inspiration! It is one thing to concentrate on the money-savings aspect of growing your own. But the wonderful added benefit is having the very best fresh greens available to help you live healthier and longer.

    I recently read about changing our internal PH balance, and having fresh produce all the time is a big key.

    Thanks!

    Stephen

  8. AlexAugust 24, 2011 at 10:00 pmReply

    Nice to see I’m not the only one who’s been trying to save money by growing my own produce. Apart from the money aspect (and you do save in my opinion) there’s just a great deal of personal satisfaction in growing something from a seed to where it’s on your plate in all its fresh glory. Great hobby to have on the side!

  9. Robert SharpNovember 21, 2011 at 6:10 pmReply

    I love growing my own food. Reason being is that you know where it comes from and you know what you are putting on your food. This is one of my favorite hobbies. I wish i had more land to grow more food and plant trees.

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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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