A remarkable thing happened this month in my veg money-saving experiment. Because of my honeymoon, I was only picking up until June 18th, but still, I managed a new monthly record of £56.52, which is a massive average of £2.26 per picking!
Soft Fruit is the Secret
In May’s update, fellow money-saving investigator and all-round incredible grower Mark, from Vertical Veg, commented that I’d found the secret – soft fruit – and boy, has June confirmed that.
Until now, I didn’t realise quite how expensive summer soft fruit is in the shops. For example, the first gooseberries hit the supermarkets at £8.70 a kilo. I harvested a basket of 1.5kg for jamming in June, and my eyes nearly popped out of my head when my spreadsheet pumped that out as a saving of £12.55!
2011 has been my best strawberry year to date, and Ailsa and I enjoyed 3.4kg of the sweet little fruits before we went away, saving ourselves £28.58 against the shop prices.
My first raspberries popped up too. Not a huge harvest, but at £12.50 a kilo, 356g still gave me a very tidy saving of £4.45 (well, the ones that made it home, anyway!)
My First Ever Blueberries
However, despite big volumes of this stuff adorning my muesli and providing me with desserts most of the month, the most exciting soft fruit harvest was a puny one. Back in February, I treated myself to some blueberry bushes, and just before I left the handful of berries ripened into that gorgeous purply-blue colour, ready to munch.
Blueberries are around a tenner a kilo in the shops, so even the 43g I picked was worth 44p to my pocket. Got a little way to go before the £15 the bush cost me is paid off, but we’re on our way.
What Else is New?
I harvested the first perpetual spinach from my new summer sowing, and I couldn’t believe how fast this had grown. I only planted it in May, and 5 weeks later it was ready for harvesting. The shop equivalent to this is £8.30, making the easy, low maintenance, long-lasting perpetual spinach a really worthwhile thing to grow.
I picked my first broad beans and mangetout of 2011 too. Mangetout is an interesting one from a money-saving point of view as they cost approximately a third more than peas in the shops, so offer a better saving if you’re limited in space (100g of peas are priced at 65p in the nation’s largest supermarket, while the same weight of mangetout costs 85p).
Of course, homemade peas are one of the tastiest things on a summer plot, so if we’ve got a room I reckon we should all grow them regardless of the inexpensive prices in the shops!
On Course for a Biggie July Saving
I’m really looking forward to my savings during July, as we’re heading into that time of year when the plot is chock-a-block, and every day’s a harvest. A sneak at my up-to-date spreadsheet shows that I’ve already harvested nearly 25 quid’s worth of produce this month, and we’re only a week in.
At that ratio, I’m on for a record-smashing month.