three back garden raised beds

How Much Money Can Growing My Own Veg Save Me, Version 2 – My Back Garden

back garden

2015 will be my third season of growing in the back garden.

I keep my hand in at the allotments by helping my mum on a plot, but primarily my efforts go into what I can harvest from the three raised beds at the end of the garden.

I’ve learnt a lot over the past two years, such as how to effectively space plants in a small area and how vital well planned successional sowing is when trying to maximise yields.

This Summer I enjoyed some ace harvests, such as runner beans, courgettes, beets, and the ever-reliable French beans, but something nagged at me. Just how much could I get from this space?

And how much could I get with as little effort as possible?

It’s not that I’m lazy, or falling out of love with growing my own veg – far from it – but the busy little baby boy that came along two years ago has changed both my life and my growing style.

The Days of Lots of Space and Lots of Time
Pre-Lewis, when I rented my own allotment, not only did I have plenty of space but I also had lots of time to spend using that space. As I result I grew loads. Sometimes I even grew stuff I wasn’t all that keen on, just because… well, just because.

Now, I’m different. I’m much more focused. For me, at this stage of life, a smaller, manageable space is much better suited than a big plot that I can’t dedicate the time to. The veg I grow follows a similar theory too: I reckon it is much more rewarding and far better for morale if you grow 8 crops well than 15 bad to middle.

How Much Money Can I Save in My Back Garden?
It is also difficult to eye up maximum efficiency on a plot without considering the value of the crops you’re growing, and this has returned me to the question I first posed myself in 2011: how much money does growing my own veg save me?

So, the spreadsheet is back for 2014. How much can a bloke save growing veg in 3 modest raised beds and a bonus greenhouse, whilst trying to juggle a life controlled by a nutcase 2-year-old?

There will be a few slight differences from before. For example, I’m going to run the project from March to March, so that I can properly quantify the winter veg, rather than using stuff planted the season before. Generally, though, things will be the same.

Like weighing every single harvest. Ailsa loved that bit last time. She really did. 🙂

In the meantime, I’ll blog some more about how the experiment will work, as well as dimensions I’m working with, the veg I’ll be growing, and the reasons behind what I’ve chosen and publishing the spreadsheet in case anyone else fancies a go.

10 thoughts on “How Much Money Can Growing My Own Veg Save Me, Version 2 – My Back Garden”

  1. I find life, like gardening, is all about seasons and being adaptable. I agree with you, it is much better to grow a smaller amount well than to grow more with less success.

  2. It’s my first full season after moving into my own terraced house last year, with what looks to be a similar garden (albeit, no greenhouse). I’d love to do the spreadsheet as well, to see how much I can save growing up north.

    1. Hi Rach – that’s great. 🙂 As soon as I’ve refreshed it, I’ll send the spreadsheet over.

  3. I can’t wait to see your seasons throughout the months! I had hoped by now to have my own vegetable garden running but health issues decided to put paid to that: hopefully this year will be the year!
    Thank you for providing lots of inspiration 🙂

  4. I have been following you since you started your blog – always very interesting, and so professional.

    For health reasons and being elderly, my allotment ‘life’ has shrunk over the years from a plot that was over a quarter of an acre, to this coming season it will be 10mtrs, with extra being grown at home. I did keep a record of produce, but bad health changed priorities. Suffice to say that we manage to survive all winter and up to the next harvest from my produce. Which as you have found is very rewarding. Plus supplying friends and neighbours with the surplus. By following you this year, and keeping a record, it will force me to be more ‘scientific’ which will be brilliant. Maybe I can spend the money saved on something as a reward

    Keep up the good work’

  5. Well you can see how long I have been going through and re – Reading all your 2014 posts while hubby is watching the rugby. You have reignited my enthusiasm again for my allotment, and I feel some significant changes coming in my garden this year to increase the amount of veggies I grow at home. Looking forward to joining in with your spreadsheet.

    Happy growing

  6. Really like reading through your posts … I’ve kind of done the allotment/garden thing the other way around … had raised beds here at home for 20 odd years as the children were growing up (I sympathise totally with the ‘enthusiastic 2 year old helper’ ) … and last year finally moved on to a half-sized allotment as well which was great fun. I am looking forward to your updated spread sheet and trying to track what I sow and grow … did download it last year but it was too far into the season to make it work but March to March seems like a good idea.

  7. Thank you Nicky. 🙂

    Interesting to hear that you did it the other way around.

    Will let you know when I’ve refreshed the spreadsheet and reposted it.

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