With increases in the cost of living and everyone trying to cut costs where they can, many are turning to growing their own fruit and veg at home in pots, containers and gardens.
There is not always space at a rental home for a sizeable vegetable plot but many of the foods that can reduce your shopping bill can be grown in pots on balconies or in small gardens.
Here are our top suggestions for what to consider planting in May to help your budget go further:
If you love cooking with herbs, then this is an area you can certainly make savings. Fresh and dried herbs are pricey and using your own will certainly reduce your shopping bill. Dried herbs don’t always go very far and fresh herbs bought from the supermarket are not always at their best. Try sewing rosemary, sage, basil and thyme in pots inside or undercover, while dill, coriander, chives and parsley can be sown outside in pots or into the ground.
In the summer we all munch our way through these, week in week out, and buying them in bags from supermarket can be costly and not the freshest way to enjoy them. If you plant the kinds of leaves that can simply be cut from the plant, allowing the plant to continue growing then you will have a bottomless supply. Most salads can be planted straight outside at this time of year – try rocket, spinach, radicchio and a glorious variety of lettuces. These cut-and-come-again plants will keep you going right through the season and can grow well in pots.
Some vegetables that grow like fruit can be cultivated at home very easily and make a great addition to the cooking pot. Many will keep producing for months and can be grown in pots, containers and bags of compost. Look for fast-growing tomatoes to sew from seed or buy small tomato plants to put straight into the garden or other growing spaces. Find varieties that are prolific and remember that those with high yields will be the most cost effective. These will have so much more flavour that any you buy in the supermarket. Peppers come in all sorts of wonderful, colourful varieties. Again, plant seeds for fast-growing varieties or opt for small plants to be a few steps ahead.
Think about planting courgette, pumpkin and other squash inside at this time of year. Leafy greens, cauliflower and broccoli can also be planted in innovative places, including large containers. They may do better if they go in a little earlier in the year but there is no reason not to give them a try – especially if you try an all-year-round variety – and, growing these yourself, will certainly reduce your shopping bill. Leafy greens can also start undercover now, and you should hopefully have a bumper crop as the weather starts to cool down. Packed with vitamins and fibre, these are a healthy and nutritious addition to any meal and can be chopped up added to a range of meals to help your store cupboard food go a little further.