With the non-stop price increases at the supermarket, I thought it was about time we began experimenting with growing some of our own fruit, vegetables and herbs.
For Christmas my parents bought me a Herb Garden Kit which is essentially ‘a garden in a box’, complete with seeds and instructions. The idea being you follow said instructions and end up with basil, parsley, thyme, chives, coriander and rocket.
This set off an idea to grow some other things we use a lot of in the kitchen – namely tomatoes and strawberries.
Come summer every week I’ll purchase 2 or 3 punnets of strawberries and at £3-4 a go for some decent ones that quickly adds up. Likewise for decent tomatoes, and a whole box of tomatoes can disappear into one meal.
What if we could grow our own herbs? Our own strawberries? Our own tomatoes?
Finding Suitable Sites & Containers
We spent a good while wandering around looking for some containers that were both aesthetically pleasing, and suitable to the task at hand. Our outside space is quite limited with no grass so we would have to make it up as we went along.
In the end we settled for some ceramic-effect long troughs, and a ceramic strawberry planter. These were placed along the back wall of our patio area, which gets the sun from about 11am until 4pm. Not ideal, but the best we can offer with the layout we have to work with.
The Results So Far
They have only been ‘at home’ for around 20 days now, but they all seem quite happy. The strawberries more than the tomatoes if I am honest, as I think the tomatoes are feeling a little over-watered and under-loved in the recent storm we suffered. They seem to be bouncing back though.
Initial Costs & Projected Savings
We didn’t buy the cheapest containers, and if we had, we’d have saved around £15. In the end we spent approximately £40 for the containers, and £30 for the plants. Initial outlay: £70.00
Given we can re-use the containers for other produce later on I’m going to discount the container costs from the calculation, which leaves us with £30.00 spent on the plants. To break even we only need 3 punnets of strawberries out of the 8 plants and maybe 4 containers of tomatoes to break even.
Seems like a done-deal to me to come out of this quids in!
Plant Care – Learning As We Go
After about a week of them being in their little beds, we got attacked by black-fly. Some organic spray sorted that out. Then the tips of the tomato plants started to go brown, which we later learned was most likely as a result of over-watering. Since we have cut back on the watering, they seem to be picking up again.
The strawberries have been mostly trouble free. So far…
Do you “grow your own?” Would you like to?