There were nine fruit and veg that saved a substantial more than everything else during 2011, and here they are:
It’ll come as no surprise that tomatoes topped the table, saving me £64.62. I grew about six different types, ranging from the sweet little cherry toms to the whopping fatboy of a beefsteak.
I had a fairly productive year, growing nearly 15kg of fruit, and believe it or not, I managed to use all of them without a chutney, sauce, or passata in sight.
Another one of the more glamorous allotment staples comfortably took second place. My strawberry plants are now 3 – 4 years established, so at the height of their powers, and 2011 saw a record yield. I even grew enough to make a few pots of jam, something I’ve never had enough surplus to do before.
They might only hold a short season, but I managed over 7kg of juicy fruit, worth £59.86 (these are the strawbs that actually made it home!). I’m not sure I’d have bought this many if I wasn’t growing them, but I can safely say I didn’t waste a single one.
Now, this is where things get interesting…
It’s said that nice guys finish last, but to my great delight, the good old beetroot has just blown that theory away. Easy to grow, reliable and without a complaint in the world, the beetroot is my vegetable best friend, especially now I’ve sussed out that it’s a real money-spinner as well.
I confess, I grew a lot of beets – three row’s worth (12.5kg), as me and Ailsa love them, but I hadn’t realised that fresh beets are over 3 quid a kilo in the shops.
They’re a lot more versatile than given credit for too: beets aren’t just for salads and pickling. Check out Love Beetroot for a whole host of cooking ideas.
Just pipped into fourth place was my squash crop. This was my heaviest harvest at just under 25kg and saved me £41.29. Squashes are great fun to grow, delicious, attractive, versatile, and store for ages – in fact, I waxed lyrical about them back in April.
French beans saved me about £30 and were another veg I didn’t expect to be amongst the biggest money savers. Once again, I think this was down to reliability and the sheer volume of the crop – I reckon 5.6kg of French beans is a good harvest in anyone’s money.
The plants really like my plot, and I’ve had good, trouble-free harvests ever since I took the allotment on. They’re also good money savers as you can grow extra and freeze them to eat all year round.
For me, this was the biggest surprise of the lot. The humble spinach contributed £28.67 towards my total, despite most harvests only ever saving me about 80p.
You can get spinach, and its sister veg chard, to grow most of the year, and I think it’s this presence that makes the leaf such a good money saver. Spinach is simply always there to harvest and is so versatile, we used a lot of the stuff.
Pleased to see my favourite allotment produce make an appearance, giving me even more excuse to invest in some more. My plants are now about 4 years old, and beginning to bear good fruit, so hopefully the 5kg and £28.60 of 2011 is just the start…
Oh, the great What Could Have Been of my experiment. Between Christmas 2010 and Spring 2011, I harvested over 6.5kg of leeks, worth a healthy £27.73. I had no idea leeks commanded such a price in the shops, so vowed to plant many more for the next winter. Unfortunately, the new crop got rust and wiped them out.
I love leeks and we use loads of them, so I planted another three rows. Who knows, had the rust not struck, I might have been crowning the leek my savings winner.
For the full list of veg, fruit, and herbs I harvested during 2011, complete with value and crop weight, please see below.
To conclude my summaries, I’ll be posting my top tips for growing veg to save money later in the week.
Thanks for all the comments and interest in the experiment. They’re much appreciated.
|total fruit and veg subtotals|
|veg||amount harvested (g)
|purple sprouting broccoli||654||5.13|