Gardening: Monty Don advises on how to harvest rhubarb
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For anyone looking to save money or budget, several vegetables can be easily grown which saves hundreds of pounds on a food shop over a year. It’s not just about money, home-grown produce tastes better, can be cooked within minutes of harvesting and contributes to good mental wellbeing. Which? gardening experts tested a range of vegetables to ensure the varieties grown are the best and give the highest yields, perfect for beginner gardeners.
Cucumber is the cheapest vegetable to grow.
The Marketmore variety is around £1.50 a plant and 30-40 fruits per plant can be expected to be produced.
That means the cost of each homegrown cucumber is around 5p, making a 38p saving compared to buying a cucumber from a supermarket.
Tomatoes are the second cheapest vegetable to grow, with Gardener’s Delight the number one variety to produce 3kg of fruit per £1.50 plant.
That means a kilogram is around 50p to produce, making a £1.98 saving compared to the supermarket’s own.
The third cheapest vegetable to grow is courgette and in particular the Defender.
Costing £1.50 per plant, you can get up to 30 courgettes per plant, costing 5p each.
A saving of 34p per courgette could be made growing them yourself.
As for what other vegetables are cheap to grow compared to buying in store, mangetout, carrots and baby leaf salads were named.
Strawberries and raspberries are cheap fruits to grow at home.
Several of the ‘cheapest vegetables to grow’ were also the ‘easiest vegetables to grow’.
To get started, a gardener only needs a couple of pots, a patch of soil or a windowsill to contribute their five-a-day portions of fruit and veg.
Salad leaves can be grown for many months – from spring right into autumn if a steady sowing schedule is kept.
An 85p packet of lettuce seeds could produce up to 16 bags of salad, which means a possible saving of £24.
Which? also said courgettes are easy to grow, particularly if a gardener has a patio space.
They can be placed into containers, and once they are well watered, the fruit will grow.
Courgette flowers can also be eaten and “taste great when stuffed or fried”.
Another easy and cheap fruit to grow is tomatoes.
They are “easy to raise from seed in spring on a warm, well-lit windowsill”.
“Alternatively buy plants from a garden centre in May.”
Which? suggests keeping tomatoes in a greenhouse, container or border.
“Alternatively plant them outside once the danger of frost has passed in late May or early June.”
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