Myth: Grow Your Own And Save Yourself Money

grow your own and save money image courtesy

[image courtesy]

I have heard too many green companies people for far too much of the what can only now be described as the grow your own pandemic use the cliché:

Grow Your Own and Save Yourself Money

The question is, does it ? Does growing your own vegetables actually save you money ?

superquinn vegetables

A quick glance between Superquinn’s prices [correct as of 05/01/12] and what potato seed and onion sets [2011 prices] cost make me wish to mildly scratch my head, a lot.

I and you can figure the maths out on an abacus.

seed potato onion sets

note: All prices from supermarket websites were taken January 5th 2012 and show their normal prices before and after discount. To the potatoes alone, I know I was able to buy 10kg for €2.49 in Dunnes Stores up until recent.

lidl carrots b and q grow your own kit

I had noted the B and Q grow your own kits way back in 2009. But it seem how we grow our own has evolved so much more, or at the very least the range of products available to you to do so has.

[image courtesy]

If we trail all the way back to 1917, the cliché may make a little more sense. Here it’s slightly more honest in todays relevance and notes ‘to cut food costs’. That however was a time long before compost at €4-7 per bag ever existed.

I spoke before about the gentleman I witnessed in the hardware superstore buying organic compost with miraculous powers [4 bags @ 6 euro each] one pot [15 euro] and non-organic seed potatoes [6 euro]. Throw in some raised vegetable beds instead if you should like – and you possibly have the most expensive spuds per kg in the country.

Back to the original question. Can growing your own save you money ? Personally, I believe it depends on how you [in this case] grow your own.

potato planting by hand

There is a bigger picture in all of this. And if like camping in 1980’s Ireland and Britain and its recent revival, the trend is to continue I believe the PR firms need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new slogan.

Maybe it’s just that as a 6 year old in Ireland in 1982 I chose to spend my pocket money on garden sieves as versus growing mediums, at a time when gardening wasn’t very popular and I was cutting grass to supplement my hobby – how times haven’t changed.

But from then til now aged 35 – I don’t believe my personal life outdoors [to an extent] and gardening has ever been about how much it cost me to enjoy my passion. It was more about who I spent the time with and in a different context, in my working life, what had or can be been achieved. Most of the time however it’s simply because I love what I do – and equally as important – I get to smile doing it.

ireland outside

2 replies
  1. Dee Sewell
    Dee Sewell says:

    Good post and well put. I find it quite alarming how cheaply fresh veg is sold, knowing how many hours of work it takes to prepare, sow and grow.

    Completely agree it’s about how you grow on whether you save money and it’s one of the reasons I (mostly) grow veg 365 days of the year in the polytunnel so that it can earn it’s keep. I grow directly into the soil rather than containers or raised beds though can see the advantages of both (bar the additional cost). It also of course depends upon where you source your seeds etc.

    Another factor about whether growing veg saves money however, is that it can keep (me) away from temptation luring shops ;)if all I need for the weekly shopping is meat & a few toiletries for several months of the year, a surprising amount can be saved.

    I think you’re right about the PR to a certain extent. For me growing veg myself is more about knowing the circumstances it has grown in, what (hasn’t) been sprayed on it, and teaching my kids what our food looks like, introducing unavailable varieties to them and recognising it in it’s raw format.

  2. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:

    Hi Dee,

    thanks for taking the time to comment. I like the old days of swapping seeds, in my hay day [?!] maybe for some plants, which came with some mutually bartered advice on how to propagate or take cuttings. Swapping some gladioli for some unwanted geraniums is how I first learned to make cuttings root in water. I was about 10 years old at the time.

    Costs analysed – raised beds will never save you dollars. Heck as soon as you sit in the car to go and buy compost, I guarantee one is down a few bob. That said raised beds, polytunnels and the cat pyjamas are great assets…. they just won’t save you money.

    Now that I think about it, I remember writing something similar about rearing your own hens. Originally I got the hens because I thought my niece would like to see them. And says he on who’s just about to go and sow some mammoth onions.

    On a side note, I like the thinking behind the youngers have an appreciation for the [all encompassing] great outdoors. I’d think I’d like mine to grow up with an appreciation that birds like trees and bees like pretty flowers.

    Now… where did I leave those jam jars [?] 😉
    best for now

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