What Are The Best Vegetables To Grow To Save Money?
Everyone has their own list of favourite things they like to eat, and any list of the best money saving vegetables needs to be adapted to what you will enjoy eating. I have learned that growing turnips does not put smiles on the faces of my family at dinner time!
Nevertheless, there are some vegetables that are inexpensive to purchase as seed, easy to grow, and capable of delivering a bumper harvest. My money saving list takes account of whether the vegetable can form the basis of a meal, and not simply add a flavour to it. The ability to store the vegetable is important too, allowing a bumper crop to be enjoyed over many months.
Five pounds, or 2.5kg, of seed potatoes can easily turn into two or three sacks of potatoes that can be stored from autumn to the end of spring. If you inherit a healthy plot and practice good crop rotation, it’s likely you’ll find potatoes are relatively disease free. See how to grow potatoes.
Easy to grow and very hardy, beetroot is also highly nutritious and full of vitamins. Apart from salads, beetroot makes excellent soups and can be baked, boiled, or roasted for a delicious sweet side dish. Also good for pickles and preserves. See how to grow beetroot.
Onions are very reliable to grow if you use onion sets rather than seed. Overwintering onions is possible (planting in October) but a very cold or wet winter can destroy the crop. I prefer to wait until spring. Onions can store very well for many months if dried properly and left in a cool (but not cold or damp) place. See how to grow onions.
Whether for soups, oven bakes, or as an alternative to onions in many dishes, leeks can be a good bet. Best of all, leeks are very hardy and can grow over the winter. They are one of the few vegetables that can be harvested in the spring. That is actually the main reason I’ve included them on the list. See how to grow leeks.
Cabbages can be grown all year round and are highly nutritious. They are also easy to grow, but I have found on my plot it is vital to protect the young plants with a net to ward off bird attack, with many growers preferring to use a fine butterfly net to prevent caterpillars destroying the crop. Given the right protection, cabbages grow well and store especially well. I like to grow savoy types to leave on the plot through winter for picking when needed. See how to grow cabbage.
Not everyone likes parsnips given their distinctive taste, but more people seem to love them for it. I’ve included them because of their ease of growing and storage. I leave my parsnips in the ground over winter to dig them up fresh for cooking. Frozen ground is said to improve their sweetness. Compared to carrots, parsnips are much more resistant to pest attack, and if they are scabbed, a little extra peeling is often all that is required. See how to grow parsnips.
7. Broad Beans
Broad beans can be harvested from early summer. Germination is almost effortless – provided it’s attempted at the right time of year. Best of all they can be washed, peeled, and frozen for use all year round. See how to grow broad beans.
I have found it is possible, and all to easy, to grow too many courgettes! Squashes are a different proposition in that they come in all shapes and sizes, with many varieties capable of being stored throughout the winter. They are delicious baked or turned into soups. A super tasting large vegetable that is easy to grow, easy to store, and available in many more varieties than it is possible to buy in a supermarket. See how to grow squash.
I’ve selected colourful chard as an alternative to traditional spinach, as is it much easier to grow and less likely to bolt. Chard leaves and stems can be cooked and enjoyed wilted, just like spinach, but it also adds a delicious flavour to soups. What’s more, chard is hardier and can survive longer into the autumn, extending the growing season. See how to grow chard.
I don’t think any money saving list would be complete without herbs. Many herbs are perennials, so any investment in a plant will enable you to add their delicious flavour to meals over many years. My favourite garden herbs are sage, rosemary, and thyme (and bay leaves from a small tree). From a maintenance point of view hardy herbs are very little work – the biggest commitment being an occasional prune.
You may also like to see my collection of allotment recipes. Wishing you every success in your growing!