Value Space Rating – Top 5 for Spring.

At the end of each season this year I have done a top 5 VSR (Value Space Rating) for crops for that season.  I fully intended to do one for Spring using the same formulas I used for the other seasons.  (For details on how the formulas work please see my summer post by clicking here.)  The only problem is that due to my computer issues  I completely failed to keep my spreadsheet updated accurately.  So this is an approximation of the my Top 5.  I have looked back over my harvest posts, seen which things featured most regularly and then chosen my 5 favourite – which probably amounts to much the same thing….

Coriander – Spring is pretty much the only time I can successfully grow coriander in Melbourne and its so nice to have fresh that this gets points on all counts – $$$ savings, benefit to the garden (the flowers attract bees), convenience and the fact that it is lovely to have fresh.

 Lettuce – By far my most consistently harvested crop this Spring was lettuce.  It appeared in each and every one of my Monday Harvest posts.  I definitely saved a decent amount of money by growing my own.  I love the convenience of having it on hand whenever I fancy a salad and I also appreciate not having to wonder how they stop the shop bought leaves from wilting….

Beetroot – Beetroot grows quickly in Spring.  It doesn’t take much space in the garden and it is really useful for putting in spots vacated by winter crops.  Conveniently it is often ready to be pulled at about the same time as summer crops are big enough for planting out.

Silver beet/Chard – One thing I noticed about Spring crops is that there is quite a big variation between what is available at the start of the season and what is being produced at the end.  Silver beet appeared in pretty much every Monday Harvest post until the end of October when it dried up due to bolting.  Still 2 months of big bunches earned it its place in the Top 5.

Broad Beans – Taking over when the silver beet left off were the broad beans.  For me these are worth growing due to their scarcity if nothing else.   I have no idea how much broad beans cost to buy but even if they are cheap you can’t put a price on both; the benefit of having them fresh and that lovely nitrogen they are fixing into your soil.

There is one crop that I have deliberately left off this list, despite the fact that it appeared in enough Harvest posts to qualify.  That crop is garlic.  The reason I’ve left it off is partially because it is only a borderline Spring crop –  I harvested the majority of my crop on the first day of summer.  The other reason I left it off is that I am still not over the fact that my entire 1.5kg crop is worth approximately $15.00 based on Woolworths Online price for Australian grown garlic (admittedly not organic).  Depressing eh?  Not sure how the growers make any money at all based on those prices.  I still think its worth growing for flavour, for having a year round supply, for the savings in food miles etc etc.  But at a return of  not much more than 50 cents a month per square metre you do have to wonder….

And that was my Top 5 for this week, head over to The New Goodlife and check out hers, but not before you tell me what grew well for you this Spring/Autumn.

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25 Responses to Value Space Rating – Top 5 for Spring.

  1. Pingback: Tuesday’s Top Five – Jamie’s 30 minute meals | The New Good Life

  2. Most of the things that we harvest in spring have been sown to overwinter, Lots of brassicas – cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli. IN early spring we are still digging parsnips and leeks. Also mustn’t forget the rhubarb!

    • Liz says:

      Ah Rhubarb – I have been enjoying my parents it has to be said. I don’t grow – mostly because they have more than enough for everyone. if I had more space I would though because I really like the plants.

  3. Dave says:

    Interesting picks. Lettuce and chard are so productive for the space they take. And I try and have cilantro available year round, even when it bolts quickly. In my garden arugula/rocket is such a valuable green. It’s sort of pricey in the grocery, and homegrown tastes better. Same thing with kale, since it’s growing well right now.

    • Liz says:

      I have left my coriander to go to seed in the hope that it will seed in, be happier for that and not bolt so quickly – we shall see if it works.

  4. Michelle says:

    The seasons here are weird. Autumn is our real summer so the superstars in my “autumn” garden were tomatoes and peppers and eggplants. I’m still working my way through the last of them.

    • Liz says:

      Peppers & eggplants ripen in Autumn here too but tomatoes seem to be more of a summer crop – interesting how slight climatic variations change the seasons considerably.

  5. Jay says:

    I really enjoy reading your value space ratings. It really makes a whole lot of sense to rate things based on the value they produce for you, both in the quantitative (saving $ or produces a lot) and the qualitative (enjoying the gardening experience because of the crop). Again, reading this post was lots of fun!

    • Liz says:

      Thanks Jay. I don’t think I’ve perfected the formula but i reckon if I spent a bit more time on it i could come up with something really useful nerdish.

  6. Nina says:

    My coriander is only now becoming viable – it was too cold earlier so I’ll swap that for parsley. I had, and have, more parsley than I know what to do with and it has been fantastic. I didn’t harvest beetroot through spring (though I have it in now) so I’ll swap that for the spinach which the chooks love even more than me.

    So my successes that are the same as yours are lettuce (can’t remember the last time I bought any), silverbeet (a couple of plants are still going strong and new ones are in) and my favourite success – broadbeans. I harvested over 4 shelled kilos and I’m chuffed with that. Rocket was productive as well. Life is good!

  7. Mark Willis says:

    Value consists not only of money made/saved. Value includes enjoyment obtained during the growing; quality achieved; accessibility at short notice; aesthetic value, etc. etc. You also need to consider how long the plant occupies the space. Something that only saves you $15, but can be grown in 8 weeks, is better than something that saves $20 but takes 16weeks to mature.

  8. Sarah says:

    We’re heading into winter now, so it’s good to read about your spring crops. I’ve not yet managed to get a spring harvest of beetroot, but rocket and spinach always seem to be at their best earlier in the year here.

    • Liz says:

      I have to say I have really enjoyed my rocket this Spring, its done really well and I’ve used it in everything from salads to on top of pizza.

  9. Barbara Good says:

    Liza I think you’re doing yourself a disservice comparing your crops to woollies when it comes to price. I think farmers market prices would be more accurate a comparison. It does make you think about just how screwed over our farmers are. I thought the same thing when I looked up how much I would have saved on broccoli.

    • Liz says:

      Thankyou, I use the Woolworths prices as kind of a general guide (you can buy fruit and veg cheaper but also more more expensively than there so it works as kind of a mean price). i have no idea how a woolworths garlic supplier would manage on those prices though. Its weird – there are some crops, I’m thinking greens in particular that are comparatively expensive in supermarkets and others like garlic that seem ridiculously cheap when you consider the time spent in the ground. i guess it just goes to prove exactly what proportion of the price of something goes into its production and what proportion is more about logistics, warehousing, spoilage, transport costs etc all of which would be much lower for garlic than greens presumably.

  10. Louise says:

    Thanks for all the calculation hard work – benefits us all. Nice to see that lettuce and beetroot are up there, I am going to have to start growing broad beans!

  11. andrea says:

    Liz i think i have a little bit more of an advantage because space is not a problem(or large trees from neighbouring properties) so I can grow what ever the weather conditions allow me, I also have an endless supply of cow/horse/chook manure to add to the beds and can grow a green manure crop in rotation each year.
    Number 1 on my list is Garlic and this season’s is turning out to be a bumper crop.
    2. Beetroot. 3. Lettuce varieties, since joining the 52 week challenge I haven’t brought any lettuce since last Summer.
    4. parsley,spring onions, leeks,
    5. Kale and silver beet for both us and to feed to the chooks each day.

    • Liz says:

      I’m sitting reading this wondering why on earth I’ve never gone out into my parents back paddock and gathered some sheep poo. Speaking of mum & dad their garlic is amazing too – interesting, I’m wondering if it enjoyed the slightly cooler winter.
      i haven’t bought any lettuce either – good isn’t it.

  12. Balvinder says:

    I agree coriander is best grown in spring, I tried several times in a pot on my window sill but it never grows back after I trim it. By growing our own salad leaves we not only save money but also eat fresh. Have a good day!

    • Liz says:

      I agree with you about it not growing back after a trim. Mine do grow some new leaves but they don’t replenish themselves like mint or parsley.

  13. pooks says:

    I just wanted to thank you for this assessment. It’s really helpful for me since I have a very small area to grow in, and I like seeing how other people work things out.

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