Value Space Rating – Autumn Top 5

About 3 months ago I wrote a post about the value space rating of my summer crops, you can find it here.  Value Space Rating is basically a way of determining the value of growing a given plant.  If you are interested in how I weighted the ratings then its worth having a look at my previous post.  If you just want to see what Autumn’s top 5 rated plants were then read on.

1. Herbs – Herbs won this reasonably easy, and in fact if viewed as individual plants then basil, parsley and lemongrass would have all made the Top 5.  For me herbs will always feature highly on my VSRs because I not only eat and harvest a lot of them but the convenience of having them readily available means I give them lots of additional points in that area.

2. Tamarillo – Tamarillo makes the Top 5 due, in part, to being a very heavy cropper as well as being quite expensive to buy at the supermarket (I use Woolworths online to source fruit & veg prices).  I must admit I’ve loved having a constant supply of fruit.  Great for lunchboxes and snacks and as Tamarillos don’t mind a bit of shade the space they do use is far from the most valuable in the garden.

3. Silver beet – Yay for silver beet, always ready with fresh leaves.  The rainbow ones look pretty and I find it really versatile to cook with.  The fact that it costs about $4.00 a bunch helps its VSR no end.  If you like silver beet it is probably the first vegetable I would plant in any garden.

4. Chillies – Ah the benefits of productive plants.  Most of my plants were in their second year and considerably more productive as a result.  I was so pleased with all my chilli varieties this year but from a VSR perspective the winner was probably the Scotch Bonnet as that had the heaviest fruits.

5. Figs – this is cheating a bit as its not even my tree, but the branches do come into my yard (they grow under the fence from next door) so I do get to harvest the fruit.  As it can be difficult to buy them they score well on that basis, as well as the benefit of having them fresh.

Honourable mention – Eggplant.  Eggplant came 6th on the list and if you discount the fruit they would have made the Top 5 along with beans.  If I could get my plants to fruit earlier I think it would feature higher.  I am planning on sowing my seed earlier this time to see if that helps.

Note: The results may have been quite different had Mr 2 not decided to do some ‘weeding’ thus creating havoc in my lettuce bed and setting cropping back by quite some weeks.

This week The New Goodlife talks about the Top 5 things she has learnt about cooking from scratch.

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23 Responses to Value Space Rating – Autumn Top 5

  1. The fig ought to feature as number one as it takes none of your space at all!

    • Liz says:

      Well it kind of does take up a bit as it protrudes at ground level – but you are still probably right.

  2. Nina says:

    Ha, ha! Two year-olds are so unpredictable and lovable. They wreak havoc but you can’t help but smile. :)

    I haven’t analysed my crops like you have (I’m impressed!) so they don’t have an official VSR but my gut tells me that during Autumn the silverbeet, capsicum, chillis, carrots and herbs were well worth my effort and the space they used. And maybe the celery. I’ve loved most things I’ve grown, so I don’t begrudge them the space they take up. Apart from the weeds!

  3. Daphne says:

    Herbs really do make the top bracket for dollar per square foot. It is so expensive to buy them fresh. Here they only sell them in little tiny bunches for lots of money. Though I think my chard will outdo them, just on sheer production. Or maybe it is usage. I will only pick so much of the herbs. They each have about two square feet. I shear them down once a season for drying, but then it is just picking lightly when I want them fresh. I probably ought to do herb pricing differently though. All the harvests get the same value even if they are being dried. But I’d never buy fresh herbs to dry and store. I’d buy them already dried. And dried herbs are about a little more than half the cost of the fresh ones (based on drying and seeing how much fits in a bottle).

    • Liz says:

      They only sell tiny bunches here too. I luse almost all my herbs fresh so the drying isn’t an issue for me – except for oregano I do dry that each year.

  4. I always love your analysis Liz, though I agree with Sue the fig being on someone elses land has to be the winner doesn’t it. I too share that fortunate circumstance and actually have TWO trees that over hang our fence. A friend of mine bought two figs from the green grocer just the other day (she loves them and thought they would be the last she could get for the year) for $6.80!!! You have me curious about the tamarillos, I tried one years ago and didn’t like it, perhaps I need to have another try. Did you plant the tree or was it already there? My silverbeet is ever reliable too and of course I think herbs are just the best thing to grow in terms of ease and value for money.

    • Liz says:

      I planted it from a seed I saved from a fruit a friend gave me – its parent was in her friends garden in Geelong. I planted it about 3 years ago. They are both pretty quick to start fruiting but also quite short-lived.

  5. Hi Liz,

    Really informative post!!

    I do have to say I too treasure all those veggies/herbs that I can’t get or are just too expensive to buy in the shops. At the moment the chard of all colours-green, ruby, golden and white are doing fantastically well and even as young as they are, I can get a good harvest every other day. The watercress is enjoying this warm wet weather-even if we are not-and is providing a wonderful crop every few days. And as for the Sorrel-the best year ever so far with huge leaves.
    All of this for just a little outlay for the seeds…ok and just a little work on my part…but so well, well worth it!!

    Thank you Liz for the useful update-your photos as always- are wonderful!

    • Liz says:

      Thanks! I do think that there are some veggies that really do make gardening worthwhile – the herbs, the tomatoes etc and thats why I keep doing it I guess….

  6. Bumblelush says:

    Very interesting! All my veggies grow in containers, so I wonder if I could do a VSR for them. My peppers would probably win (both hot and sweet). Although they’re easy to find at the grocery store, they’re expensive, and it’s too conveneient to run out and cut one for dinner.

    • Liz says:

      I think so – particularly as given the cost of potting mix etc it probably is really worth knowing which ones are actually worth that outlay.

  7. maryhysong says:

    I will have to look at your VSR that sounds like a good idea, tho I might figure it differently based on selling at the farmer’s market, which I’m trying this year in a small way. I don’t use that many really hot chilies so they probably wouldn’t rate too high.

  8. leduesorelle says:

    I think crops like your figs that are grown in someone else’s garden, beneficial without the work, should be given extra bonus points! There should also be a separate category for container crops — things grown which I otherwise wouldn’t have room for, more bonus points.

    • Liz says:

      I could come up with quite an involved formula. I think I’ll keep going with my current one for the rest of the year and then make adjustments.

  9. Liz,

    I started doing my own VSR for my garden after reading your first post like this. I listed a long list of desired characteristics and made a chart. I have been filling it out as the season has gone on.

    I was surprised to discover, using this method, that I really don’t care if the squash did die from the Squash Vine Borers. They scored very low across the board.

    Thanks for cluing me in to this method of evaluating your space. It has really helped me decide what to plant and what to plant next year. :)

    • Liz says:

      It is interesting how some crops just aren’t really worth growing. But then I also find there are some that scored lowly but that thyere’s no way I would stop growing – strange eh.

  10. Julie says:

    You should start gifting your neighbors edible vines and then train them into your yard! I love the VSR approach- I need to try it since I’ve been keeping track of harvests this year. Just looking at how much crops are worth, my lettuce and peas are in the lead. I haven’t kept track of herbs, but they are definitely very nice to have on hand.

  11. Louise says:

    I actually like how this has turned out ranking things I really like really high! But, as you said, its not really going to stop me growing other things that might rank lower. Cause its not just about VSR , but I do like the analysis! Here hers for chillies, herbs and eggplant. I wish I could grow tamarillo!

  12. Diana says:

    Having fresh herbs in the garden is really handy and it taste much better than the shop. We don’t have specific section for herb corner, its tuck here and there with other plants. I like your tomarillo it look like bulbs decoration for Christmas! I never have yellow rainbow chard yet so I enjoy looking at yours.

    • Liz says:

      I grow my herbs amid the other plants too, I find they are great things to put in those little bits of space that crop up from time to time.

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