Home-grown fruit could help cut your supermarket bill

Have you tried growing your own?

Have you tried growing your own? - Credit: Gregg Brown

After a slug attack wiped out my spinach seedlings earlier this year I was beginning to think there was nothing I could grow successfully, writes Sheena Grant as she continues with her missioner for a thriftier existence.

But I was wrong. Judging by the crop on my modest line of raspberry plants, I am reasonably good at growing this particular variety of soft fruit.

Don’t get me wrong; I probably haven’t got enough for a pavlova yet but there are plenty to make up the fruit contingent in a school packed lunch each day this week. And, in my garden, that’s an achievement.

Now I just have to remember that, when pruning them in the autumn, I must only cut down canes that have already fruited, or next summer will be raspberry-free (that’s a lesson I’ve learned through bitter experience).

It’s just a shame I don’t have many home-grown strawberries to go with them, but they have been feasted on by the local woodlice population. I know. I was surprised too.

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But I have got runner beans growing, and a few courgette plants. So far, they haven’t yielded anything but they’re slug free as yet and looking good.

If you think I sound remarkably unconcerned about the meagre amount of vegetables my garden has produced this summer, you would be right. That’s because as well as discovering that I can’t go wrong with raspberries (leaving the pruning aside) I’ve also found out that the next best thing to growing your own is having a friend who grows their own.

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I have been inundated with courgettes, strawberries and even the odd marrow this week from just such a buddy, who, in truth, has more time, garden and expertise to devote to raising crops than I do.

It’s probably good that my own courgette plants are yet to mature, otherwise I would have something of a glut.

And that seems to be one of the problems of growing vegetables. Even after consuming grilled courgettes, roast courgettes, stir-fried courgettes and stuffed marrow, I have more to spare. I am even considering a recipe for chocolate courgette cake. I say considering as, to be honest, courgette cake just sounds slightly wrong. In the meantime, I think I’ll go and harvest a few more raspberries...

• Thanks to Deborah McKinley for her helpful composting tips, which will be put to good use once the ants that have made a nest in my composting bin have moved on.

See more from Sheena Grant here

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