Can you Save money by growing your own produce?

Can you save money by growing your own produce? Brexit has had a big impact on the price of supermarket food imported from European countries. UKICE has reported that trade barriers introduced after leaving the EU led to a 6% increase in UK food prices between December 2019 and September 2021. The current cost of living crisis means that households in the UK are suffering the worst living standards squeeze since the 1950s as inflation soars due to rising energy, food, and fuel prices.

Growing your own produce now seems even more worthwhile, but just how cost-effective is growing your own?

If your initial costs can be minimised and kept in check, growing your own produce can be pretty economical whilst also providing you with tastier, more nutritious food.

Minimising the initial cost of your garden

Save on soil

Good quality potting soil can be very expensive. You can skip out on the cost by prepping your soil in autumn with compost and mulch. Making your own potting soil from scratch also allows you to better cater to the needs of your plants, and there are numerous online recipes that have varying components to suit different plants and vegetables.

Take cuttings

Another way to save when planting your produce is by taking cuttings for free. Almost all perennials, lots of shrubs and vines, and many trees can be propagated by cuttings. Find someone you know that’s growing the desired plant and cut a few bits from it to pot in your own garden- the roots and leaves will start to emerge after a few weeks/months.

Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces are great for finding free or very low-cost gardening equipment. Check Craigslist, Facebook, or any other second-hand online store. You may even be able to find free plants or piles of compost too.

Investing in a polytunnel

The long-term investment in a garden polytunnel can help you to continue to grow even in the coldest winters saving you money all year round. Garden Tunnels provide a covered space to grow your vegetables, fruits, and herbs and help you in your home growing efforts whether in your garden or allotment. It also protects your produce from pests, bad weather, and diseases.

4 cost-effective veg to grow in your garden

1. Growing Kale

Curly Kale seeds cost just £1 or less and only take 6 weeks to grow as they are easy to germinate, normally giving a high yield. Although kale is weather-hardy, seedlings still grow well in a garden tunnel to help protect them from the elements.

2. Growing Tomatoes

One tomato plant can produce several pounds of fruit and only take 12 weeks to produce its first harvest. They are also cheap and grow well in warmer soil, which means growing tomatoes in a polytunnel allows you to start growing them at an earlier date than you would in the soil outside.

3. Growing Garlic

Garlic is very economical as it takes up little space, keeps for months and the excess harvest can be saved for planting again in autumn. Even though Garlic grows well in the cold you can also plant it in a polytunnel to protect them from birds.

4. Growing Lettuce

One seed packet will provide five months’ worth of fresh lettuce. Lettuce can grow well in smaller spaces which means it’s great for polytunnel planting allowing you to make the most out of the garden tunnel space you have. Growing your own salad leaves means you’ll also no longer have to put up with wilted bagged supermarket quality!

Grow your own herb garden

If you buy herbs from the supermarket, you are probably used to a small amount being packaged in plastic bags that only last for one week in the fridge.

Most herbs used in the kitchen are very easy to grow as many are perennial so can be harvested for years without much TLC. Tender herbs, such as basil and oregano can grow outdoors for around 6 months and then should be moved into your polytunnel where they will do reasonably well for the rest of the year. They also take up minimal space and can help to deter certain pests.

How to make use of excess veg

In order to maximise the return on your investment, you should preserve your excess produce. There are different ways to do this depending on what you’re trying to keep fresh. The best method for preserving herbs is to put them in ice cube trays with olive oil and freeze them. This will allow you to instantly throw them into your cooking all year round.

Excess vegetables can be frozen, but make sure to blanch them first to kill any germs and to prevent enzymes from degrading the veg. They should then be packed in freezer bags with as little air as possible, as this can cause the veg to degrade in quality. Most veg can be frozen except for lettuce, celery, and potatoes. Things like potatoes and celery should be made into soup and frozen.

There are many benefits to growing vegetables in your garden that can help you save money in the long run. Our Haygrove Garden Tunnels are great for extending the growing season and allow you to grow in all conditions. We make home growing easier – helping you to save the pennies!