money saving total

2011 Real Men Sow Money Saving Total: £473.90

127kg of fruit and veg, as well as 22 cucumbers, 39 onions, 8 lettuces, and 7 garlic.

That was my harvesting total for 2011. Phew, glad I didn’t have to carry all that home in one go.

Fortunately, it was spread over 444 harvests, at an average of £1.20 per harvest.

After a year-long experiment, involving weighing every single one of my fruit and vegetables, and hours of my life spent plugging figures into a spreadsheet (okay, maybe only a couple), I’m more than a little happy to estimate my growing total at £531.57.

This figure is quite a lot lower than the estimated £1564 by the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, but then I don’t tend to push my plot that hard, and I’m only growing for me and Ailsa. I’ve also had a few failures this year, such as my leeks and peas.

I got this return from just twenty quid’s worth of seeds, £18.50 annual rent, and three bags of multi-purpose compost. These outgoings totalled £57.67, which in theory gave me a profit for 2011 of £473.90.

I reinvested £30 of this back into two blueberry bushes in February. They yielded their first 62p this summer, which will hopefully increase in 2012!

Apparently, ‘reinvestment’ in fancy bike parts from the rest of the savings is not a goer…

Manhours and Start-Up Costs
Back in March, I listed my start-up costs too, in an attempt to put the allotment money-saving idea into a longer-term perspective. I estimated a start-up cost of £280, which I reckon means I can safely say I’ve more than paid this sum back over the last four years.

I didn’t calculate man-hours in the experiment, but hopefully, the figures will give an idea of what’s possible with the 2-3 hours of work a week, which is the time I estimate I spend on the plot in total.

The Largest Value Fruit and Veg
Of course, I couldn’t talk about savings without analysing the fruit and veg that carried the biggest value in my crop.

I don’t think it’ll come as a shock to anyone that the clear winners were my 15kg of various tomato varieties at £64.62, and the £59.86 of strawberries, which weighed in at just over 7kg, but there is some veg in the next 7 most valuable that might raise a few eyebrows. They certainly surprised me, and I’ll be revealing them in the next couple of days.

If this stuff arouses the geek in you and is of interest, then please check back soon, but in the meantime, any guesses on the third most valuable veg of my 2011?

I’ve got to say, for ease of growing, abundant cropping and remarkable reliability, it seems this veg really is hard to beat…

10 thoughts on “2011 Real Men Sow Money Saving Total: £473.90”

  1. Interesting results. Personally I don’t reckon to saving anything in financial terms each year – although buying a polytunnel didn’t help last year!

    My outgoings also have manure and fertilisers which bump up the costs, and I’ve just had to replace my pruning saw which was another 20 odd quid. Then there’s the membership of the allotment association (not to mention the cost of the beer at the meetings!), fuel for the hedge cutters, etc.

    However, I balance it all out by the fact I don’t (need?) to go to a gym, I’m outdoors in a pleasant environment, I’ve made quite a few new friends down there, we’ve had loads of great social events for the whole family down there, over five years in I’m still learning loads, the fruit and veg is really tasty, I know exactly where it’s from and how I’ve grown it, and it challenges us to create intersting meals with the produce we grow. And it’s loads of fun!

  2. I’m going to guess kale. Easy to grow and just keeps on going. You’d think kale would be cheap as chips in the shops but I’ve always found it to be surprisingly expensive.

  3. No one’s got it yet…

    Rob – agree with your sentiments. Its certainly not about the money, and I’d definitely still grow veg if it cost me.

    Love your point about being challenged to cook different things with the produce. I find myself cooking lots of different stuff that I wouldn’t normally, as a result of a glut or growing a different vegetable. This is one of my favvourite things about GYO.

  4. Courgettes?? easy and abundant….

    I’m amazed and the weight and value of the veg you’ve grown in one year!

  5. Runner beans?

    I’m impressed, Jono – every year I try to weigh my harvests and do my own calculations, but I can never keep it up! £500! Nice work!

  6. It’s been interesting reading your various ‘balance sheets’ postings throughout the year and this is a great summary.

  7. Thanks for your comments everyone. No one got it unfortunately. Some good guesses though – kale and runner beans are along the right track!

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