It’s very easy to go over budget when you’re growing your own fruit and vegetables, and this year I’m keeping a strict eye on the costs. My budget for 12 months is just £50, less than £1 a week, and I’m hell bent on sticking to it! It’s partly to give a practical example for people who are new to grow-your-own, but it’s also to stop me getting over-enthusiastic and going overboard on seeds, plants, containers, equipment and the rest…
So far already in 2013 I’ve spent £1.24 on seeds and plants, and £39.85 on everything else, including compost and crop protection. £12 of that was spent in an attempt to stop the cat digging everything in sight up, so hopefully that was money well spent – she’s a real digger beast.
This month I’ve been digging about in the mini-shed looking for plant feed. So far I’ve found an almost-full package of Growmore granules in what looks like, er, vintage condition, and I’m going to take a risk and give it to my brassica seedlings. I know it isn’t organic, and it’s generally better to feed the soil and not the plants and all that, but it isn’t a toxic substance and frankly it’s a free way to add some nitrogen and get a higher yield from the same amount of space.
Feeding plants for higher yields
I also found a few drops of liquid tomato feed, and I’ve used that all up on my raspberries, strawberries, cherry tree and the two baby tomato plants with fruit on them. Liquid tomato feed from the poundshop is probably the easiest way to add potash/potassium to plants that have a high need for it, and again, I don’t think it’s toxic so it’s safe for edible plants and the local wildlife. Anyway, I ran out of it, so I stocked up on another bottle of the £1 concentrated stuff.
Next year I might get a worm farm for worm compost or worm tea, or some chicken manure pellets or some seaweed-based tomato food, because I suspect it will give slightly healthier, tastier crops. But for the meantime I’m going for the cheap option to bring things in on budget.
I’ve also spent another £4.00 on compost because I’ve started potting up some of my hardier veggies and moving them into their final positions. So that’s £5.00 spent in total on the kitchen garden this month. Meanwhile it has given us more than £5-worth of food, so that’s good.
So that brings the grand total up to £46.09 – here’s hoping that I don’t need to make any emergency purchases in June!