Making the Allotment Pay

As I was busy weeding on the allotment a passing couple stopped to talk to me. They were interested in having an allotment and they wanted to know who to contact. In the process of talking to them they commented on what a lovely hobby it was and how very restful gardening could be.

After they had gone I began to think about what they had said. Growing your own food is only restful and stress-free because we have a supermarket just down the road. If we depended upon the allotment for our food for the year I would be really stressed out. My onions went to seed remember... and I have flea beetle eating my brassicas and I definitely haven't planted enough potatoes for a whole year. And then I thought... why didn't I plant more potatoes?

I have not been approaching this from a farming point of view at all... it could be under-confidence but I seriously need to up my game a bit if I want to save money on my shopping bills. For example: I use about 5 onions a week, every week, over the whole year. That's 260 onions. How many did I plant? 24!!! Just planting a few of this and a few of that actually costs me money... it doesn't save me any money at all.

I was looking at my strawberry planter... what a lot of work that is... and virtually no return at all. Only enough strawberries for scattering on my cereal of a morning... and only a few mornings at best. If strawberries are going to pay their way then I have to have enough to make jam. That would save us a few pennies.

What's this? 3 tomato plants! I have some fabulous recipes for tomato sauces for chilli or spaghetti which freeze really well... and they certainly would save us some money... but of course you need hundreds of tomatoes... alot more than three plants could produce.

Yes you need space for all those vegetables... but that's why we have the allotment. It's a D'oh! moment I can tell you... well it will have to be next year but it's definitely food for thought.

I do have a glut of something.... beetroot. I'm fed up of them already and we don't ever eat the one's I preserve in vinegar so I wombled about the internet looking for a different way of using up the excess. And boy have I a recipe for you! Beetroot and Chocolate Cake. The beetroot makes it sort of fudgy and moist and it is absolutely scrummy. You can't taste the beetroot at all (except when I mentioned to PhillyBilly what was in the cake he couldn't eat any more of it...even though he was really enjoying it before I opened my mouth!). I am making a couple more to put in the freezer for rainy days to come...

The recipe is here for those who would like to try it... I can definitely recommend it!


  1. You are right about the cost of growing your own food. Although it tastes a lot nicer than shop bought because it is organic, you don't actually save money. In my last three years of growing I produced loads which meant I didn't have to go shopping so often, therefore not leaving myself open to the temptation of putting things I don't need into the trolley. If it keeps you out of the shops that's where you save money. But you pay for it in time and effort. This year I am not growing quite so much because I want to do other things.

  2. I love beetroot, it is a real superfood high in so many beneficial compounds and the like!
    Roast it, pickle it, juice it, in sandwiches, in cakes, in borsch, on its own.

    I wish I had managed to grow any beetroot this year, it doesn't look like it is doing anything in my garden.


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