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…