May update

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

May update£51.49!

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 previous monthly record by £17.46!

I made 45 harvests – up 13 in April, at an average of £1.15 per picking.

Strawberries are Expensive!
On closer inspection, the reason for my bumper saving became clear: 3kg and £27.56 of gorgeous, juicy strawberries.

Having grown my own since I left home, I had absolutely no idea how expensive strawbs are. Analysing my first handful of the lovely red fruit using My Supermarket left me bewildered. Organically grown, British strawberries just like mine were fetching £9.17 a kilo!

In fact, I was so disbelieving of this, that I popped into a local Marks and Sparks during my lunch hour. They had no organic strawberries, but even the standard jobbies were fetching nearly a tenner a kilo at the beginning of the season!

There are more expensive veg and fruit at this weight kilo, of course, but factor a strawberry’s weight into the money-saving equation, and suddenly you’ve got a seriously good bang for the buck – the biggest single savers that I’ve grown so far.

Strawberry plants are a super investment too, as they self seed new plants through ‘runners’, so having bought my first batch four years ago, I’ve not needed to buy anymore since.

The Rhubarb’s Not So Good in May
Unfortunately, while the strawberries make strides, another big saver has been in early decline. My rhubarb has really taken a turn for the worse in this incredibly dry weather, becoming soft and bendy and not producing much at all.

I made three harvests, saving £4.77, but apart from an isolated picking on the 19th, nothing since May 10th. Fingers crossed we get some rain and the plants perk up. I’ve not had nearly enough of my rhubarb fix!

The Not Quite so Rapid Radishes
Although they’re growing fast, my second batch of rushing radishes didn’t quite make it within the month. Oh well, plenty for June.

Goodbye to the Winter Veg
I also said ta-ra to my winter staples. My remaining stored squashes went soft, I pulled up the last leeks, and the ever-faithful combo of perpetual spinach and curly kale went to seed.

Pulling up plants always makes me a little sad, but the crossover of the seasons is a very exciting time too. After months of the winter veg, the onset of Spring’s bounty brings a wide smile to my face. As well as the strawberries, May saw the allotment provide salad leaves, lettuces, radishes, spring greens, herbs, early potatoes, onion, and garlic.

Although it has been very dry here, the warmth is now making everything grow extremely fast. My broadies are close, as are the globe artichokes and peas. Thinking of the crops I’ll be adding to the spreadsheet next month, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that everything’s starting all over again.

7 thoughts on “How Much Money Can Growing My Own Save Me? May Update”

  1. I am suffering from strawberry envy. I have ONE solitary strawberry that is refusing to change colour from green to red. You are doing well on the finance stakes – strawberries are clearly the thing to grow!

  2. Wweeeeeeee! I’ve juse had a first picking of strawberries and raspberries – Thats £3 of strawberries and £2 of Raspberries right there! BOOOOOOM ;oO Mmmmmm now – where’s the cream???

  3. Jealous of the raspberries JB – I have very few at the mo, and they’re piddly. Reckon we could do with some more rain.

    Doing okay Ronnie, thanks. Started out as a bit of fun, but it is really interesting analysing how much veg are actually worth.

  4. Have you seen the survey the National Allotment Society did of value of crops grown on allotments? From memory, the average was £1500 (from a full sized plot) and the crops that most significantly pushed up these figures was….. soft fruit!

    So for saving money it looks like you have found the secret.

    I’ve got a copy of the report somewhere, let me know if you’d like a copy.

    And congratulations on a great harvest!

    Mark

    1. The website is just a dfluaet installation, very easy to set up. You can customise it in pretty much any way you want to (that’s my day-job), but I thought I’d see whether I managed to find the time to keep it updated before putting the effort into doing that!Nearly time for next year’s garlic to go in too. I’ve got some Thermidrome sets from the allotment shop, and I’m just waiting for some other crops to finish and some space to become available.

  5. Hi Mark,

    I did see that survey – made interesting reading, and just go to show what can be achieved.

    I’m finding it fascinating working out which crops are the most cost effective to grow. Be great to put together a plan for someone who wants to grow in a small area to save money.

    Got plenty of gooseberries coming too, so be good to get them weighed. Raspberries not so great though.

  6. Yes, quite right, Jono – and be interesting to know which crops are most cost effective on allotments and which in containers and how much it varies. Raspberries, for example, are tricky in pots. I think my most cost effective container crops are: salad, herbs and tomatoes.

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