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Great “Easy Lucrative Garden Crops” Hunt: What costly foods can you grow with ease?

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  • definitely rocket, lettuce ('salad garden'), spinach ('leaf beet', sometimes called 'perpetual'), spring onion and radish - these are all dead easy to grow from seed in a border or a pot and you just pick them when you want them - just watch out for slugs (either use crushed pistachio or egg shells sprinkled about, or go non-organic with slug pellets from poundland). the rocket/lettuce/spinach will grow more as you pick it so you only need a few plants of each, the spring onions and radish are a one-off but take up less space so sow them into tight rows and thin them out as they grow.

    herbs - either from seed or even easier is to get the potted versions from the supermarket - morrisons are 69p - harden them off (put them outside in the day and bring them in at night) for about 5 days then either re-pot them into a bigger pot or into a border.

    purple sprouting broccoli - i saw this in tesco the other day for £2.49 for about 5 stems!!! which means I have hundreds of pounds worth in the garden alone, never mind the allotment. This 'gourmet' vegetable is so much nicer than Calabrese ('normal' broccoli), mind you i did spot it in aldi for 49p a bag of about ten stems too (don't go tesco!). It is a big plant so needs space (grows to about 1m tall) and support if in a windy area, easily grown from seed - sow now in pots on the windowsill or in a few weeks into the ground - watch out for cabbage white butterflies in the summer - lovely and pretty, but their little caterpillars find the leaves as tasty as we find the broccoli! look for the yellow eggs on the bottom of the leaves and scrub them off (or again go non-organic and spray with insecticide). when the first sprout starts forming in the middle chop it off, this will cause many many others to sprout from the sides in retaliation! harvest time is spring next year, but trust me it is worth the wait.....!

    Obviously anything can be grown that likes our climate (even some varieties of oranges/lemons!) but i think that those i mention here are some of the easiest to grow that give you the best value for money and space (e.g. carrots/potatoes are also very easy to grow too but they are actually quite cheap in the shops at the moment and to get enough for a few meals worth you need plenty of space and effort.... is it really worth it....?!)

    RHS websiote is a good one for explaining how to grow all sorts of fruit and veg - google "RHS grow your own". have fun, and get the kids involved too!!
  • I would say grow what you are most likely to eat!! We always grow onions from sets (55p for a bag from our local shop)as they form the basis of most of our recipes. Salad crops are a must for accompanying bbq's - start a few seed cells off on the windowsill every week then you will have a continuous supply. We haven't much room so have turned our small front garden into our veggie plot. Neighbours weren't too keen at first but last year it looked great with flowers interspersed with veg. Grow sweet peas in the wigwam with the runners then you have a pretty display plus cut flowers for the house (and neighbours). French marigolds edge the borders with bush tomatoes (companion planting for white fly!). Pumpkins are great not only for eating but for children at Halloween - save space and grow one on the compost heap if you have one - it'll love it! Finally a pot of mint by the front door for your Pimms!! What could be nicer?
  • KittyCat
    KittyCat Posts: 6 Forumite
    Not listed so far...For winter savings try brussel sprouts (also available in 'red') and purple sprouting broccoli. For inclusion in flower beds, on in the top of a wall bed seen at Wisley, try Swiss Chard either Ruby or High lights - grow from seed and this crops for a full year or longer. Beetroot are very easy and versatile if you look up recipes.
  • Badrick
    Badrick Posts: 605 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    I've found the pot grown supermarket herbs are good grown in a planter and placed in a sunny position, in fact the mint, sage and thyme I put in last summer have all survived the winter and are coming up again. :j
    Mark Steyn has stated, "In the UK, everything is policed except crime."
  • :T I have a teeny paved backgarden but we grow loads - tomatoes, squash, peas, beans, lettuce, carrots, raspberries, strawberries, courgettes, broad beans etc etc. If like me you've only got a limited space, dont grow veg that take forever e.g. garlic but rather make the most of your space (and remember to freeze excess). I use a great system called Autopot which I bought at growyourown.co.uk which is self-watering so I dont worry when I go away (or when I forget to water) and plants like tomatoes seem to grow much quicker. Fellow moneysavers, I defo recommend growing your own - lots cheaper, loads of fun and I know exactly what I'm eating.
  • tim_n
    tim_n Posts: 1,607 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    courgettes are the easiest and amazing heavy croppers I know of!
    Tim
  • Hello all,

    I work for Garden News (a weekly paper) and Garden Answers (a monthly magazine).

    I hope this isn't out of place as I don't want to sound spammy, but want to help out fellow money savers and thought if you want to get into 'growing your own' on a budget you might be interested in this weeks Garden News.

    We've just started a series called 'Just Grow It!' which is all about, as you may guess, growing your own. Over the next few weeks, we'll have advice for the absolute beginners, through to the more experienced veg grower, with lots of useful tips.

    Even if you don't have a garden, we're discussing how you can grow your own in simple containers or even just a window box, with time related tips to help you get the most out of your growing, even if you don't have much time to do it.

    I'm really new to veg growing myself, and i've got to say, it's not just the fact you can save money by doing it, it's also the satisfaction of knowing you grew what you did from scratch. It's also quite nice to know it means a few extra pennies Tesco won't get ;)

    To get back onto the topic in hand however, potatoes are by far the easiest thing to grow in my opinion, and rhubarb is always a winner! :)


    p.s not quite veg related, but as the BBC has run out of seeds, I have 6 packets of Petunia seeds on my desk looking for good homes if anyone wants them :)
  • Cheezy
    Cheezy Posts: 3 Newbie
    edited 17 April 2009 at 10:01PM
    Firstly buying seeds is an initial out lay , and can be costly especially if they are F1 hybrids. More and more growers prefer to sell these as their seeds will not come "true" the following season, so you have to buy them again.
    Do not buy expensive hybrids (F1) , buy old fashioned traditional seeds, and you can collect the seeds and sow for free the following year.There's plenty on the internet on how to do this with different seed types, but anything that has seeds can if treated right be grown the following year.

    Onions sets seem to be cheap in November when the shops havent sold them. Go to No Frills DIY or Wilkinsons in November and you will see lots of seeds etc cheap. I bought 50 onion sets for £1.50, these were "Japanese" autumn, so I sowed them in Nov 2007, ready in June 2008, and I won first prize at our allotments for best dressed onion from set which was £3.00! And had 50 onions as well for nothing!!!.

    Topest tip is Garlic as others have mentioned. It's worth buying a good quality English grown seed bulbs first, as these have been grown in this country (and therefore like our climate) disease free. Each bulb usually has around 10 cloves, think about how much Garlic you use, we're heavy users, so I work on a blub a week say 50, plus 6 bulbs more (ie next years "seed bulbs" ie 6 x 10 cloves). So our inital out lay will be 6 bulbs, you don't have to do this all in one go , you could buy half your requirement and build up your stock, thats how I did it. Seed bulbs usually come in packs of 3.
    So you plant from Late October to November (tradition says plant on the shortest day and pick on the longest), the key is to make sure they have a frost, as this encourages bulb division. As soom as the leaves turn yellow you can harvest. These need to be kept dry and cool, it's best not to let them get very cold over winter as this encourages them to sprout in the following Spring. There are 2 types hard neck and soft neck. Hard neck have bigger bulbs, and you get the advantage that they form a flower spike called a Scape, which is a stir fry must and very expensive normally. Every one of your hard neck bulbs will form this and you can pull the whole spike out while it's still growing (around May/June) and enjoy a bonus crop. You can also eat the young leaves in Spring as a garlic chive, great on your new potatoes. The benefit of soft necks is that they store better. I would recommend that you plant a few soft necks to take you through from end April to July.As the hard necks start sprouting in April and are not at their best. So after your first crop choose the biggest bulbs to put to one side, store these until the following November and plant up the cloves. It's best to do this in a different area to the previous year to avoid disease such as rust.
    During the growing season garlic doesn't need a right lot of attention, a bit of water if its very dry during June/July to encourage bulb swelling , but very little else. And now your self sufficient in garlic!.

    Edit, I forgot to mention I grow a whole years supply in an area about 9 ft x 3ft, (raised beds) not massive.
  • Sweet peppers worked well for us in the greenhouse last year and any I didnt use, I chopped up, bagged and put in the freezer. Only did three plants last year but have ten on the go for this year so hoping it will save us a fair bit. Peppers are expensive!!

    I have had an allotment for 3 years and grown most of the things mentioned on this thread but the one that is supposed to be the easiest for most seems to be not working for me and don't know why? :rolleyes:

    Salad leaves. Put some in the border of my greenhouse a few weeks ago and they seemed to be doing ok but been down today and they have all died.

    Too much water? Not enough? I don't know. lol
    Make £10 a Day Feb .....£75.... March... £65......April...£90.....May £20.....June £35.......July £60
  • sarahemmm
    sarahemmm Posts: 116 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    As somebody else said, grow what you like to eat! On the assumption that most people reading this will not be knowledgeable gardeners, or even particularly keen, things that don't require much attention are a good idea.

    Salad stuff is usually easy but will need watering most days and you do need more seeds each year. There are some perennial (keep going year on year) veg which are tasty too. Perpetual spinach is just like normal spinach if you pick the young leaves and needs no attention once it is established. Sprouting broccoli is very tasty and equally easy.

    Many herbs are perennial, and attractive too. Parsley is biennial (two years) and hard to start from seed, but if you get a small plant and keep an eye on it you will get a huge amount of parsley for your trouble. Just pinch off any flower shoots and keep it moist. Coriander is annual but treat as for parsley and you will be able to make lots of yummy asian dishes. Chillies are ridiculously easy and you will get loads.

    I'm lucky enough to have a greenhouse. Last year I tried tomatillos, mainly because I have never seen them for sale. They are fantastic! Treat them like tomatoes and you will get lovely, lemony-tomato flavour fruit which are great for salsa (and lots of other recipes you can google for). We also had one cucumber kindly donated by my gardener neighbour, which produced more than 30 good sized cukes. The only disappointment was physalis, which mostly just didn't ripen in time, though they were no trouble to grow.
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