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.