Saturday, 18 April 2009

Vegetable Economics?

Whilst I started the London Vegetable Garden project as a horticultural hobby, there are several social issues that not only surround urban gardening and growing your own organic produce, but wider economic factors as well as gardening in general.

‘Growing your own’ has been well documented in recent years thanks to your friend and mine, the ‘celebrity chef’, as well as programmes such as ‘River Cottage’ and a nostalgic longing for a simpler, rustic lifestyle. But recent events of the last twelve months (I refer, of course, to the dreaded ‘credit crunch’) have left many British residents turning to their gardens as a way of saving money rather than an enjoyable pastime.

An abundance of ‘grow your own’ websites have shot up on the web (an apt analogy!) and as long as a year ago (April 2008), papers such as the Independent were publishing articles highlighting the fact that growing your own vegetables would allow you to harvest significant savings on your supermarket shopping bill.

This insightful article (available to view here) suggests that by growing our own vegetables, we could save up to £1,400 a year – a significant amount whatever your income. It’s important to note here that this figure is guessed based on the running of a successful, productive allotment or vegetable garden – so where does this leave the London Vegetable Garden?

Whilst excited about the thought of eating home-grown, natural vegetables, I’m under no pretensions that this project is going to impact my supermarket bill in any radical fashion – corporate behemoths such as Tesco need not worry about losing any of my custom just yet. But it is interesting to see just how realistic figures such as those quoted by the Independent actually are.

I have the price of my seeds and compost all written down. As soon as I can accurately measure how much produce I’m actually producing per seed packet etc, when things really start growing and yielding vegetables, I’ll be writing an entry detailing exactly how much I’m saving – or not.

Watch this space…

(Top-left photo courtesy of Drunken Monkey)

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