BANG FOR BUCK.

Costs are going up. Food is more pricey, and it’s a challenge that’s not going away soon. We may not be in a position to grow all food at home, but here in the Dibber & Boots garden, we are planning our coming food year with best effect in mind. We love diversity and taste and reliability and novelty… but right now, I’m driven by value. Financial and nutritional bang for buck.

So what about those other good value veg we always bang on about – think pumpkin, spuds, corn etc…. well of course they are ace… but they can also take 5 months to grow! We want value and nutrition en masse RIGHT NOW.

GREEEEEEEEEN!!!

OUR BEST TIP right now is greens. Greeeeeeeeennns!!!
Sow mixed greens seeds times lots –  highly nutritious, high financial value, quicker to grow than other crops and versatile in the kitchen.
Mix the seeds, scratch soil and broad sow across a whole bed, to exclude weed competition – soon as you can, then use a Hori or rake to make furrows that the sown seed fall into – that’ll keep em in one spot even if it rains (don’t fuss, it’s supposed to be quick, not pretty). Even though it’s winter, quite a lot of green crops will still grow. If you want to hurry them a little, consider using a make-do poly tunnel (see story here)
There’s a green marvel in every vegie family (EXCEPT the Solanum – tomato family – their greens are NOT for eating). Here is a quickfire list of top choices, and remember – the younger, the tastier – don’t let them get too leathery or woody:
BRASSICAS: rocket, broccoli, swede, pak choy
UMBELLIFERS: coriander, parsley, caraway
ALLIUMS: garlic, walking onions leeks
BEETS: spinach, beetroot
CUCURBITS: cucumber, squash
LEGUMES: peas, soy, snow pea, chick pea

grow, grow, grow, STOP!!

The genius of greens is not to let them fully mature, but cut them in bunches part way, so you get MAXIMUM tender leavy goodness and variety with every bunch before the high maintenance of flower, tough stems and seeds develop, and leaves develop bitterness. When you have cut n eaten all across the bed, dig ther ‘stubble’ in as green manure – BOOM!!

That last lot are for making mixed greens pesto that we will use with pasta, on steak, with bickies and cheese for lunch… yum. It is just our simple rocket pesto recipe, adapted to include the full greens mixed bunch.

The beauty and nutritional boost we enjoy about this mixed greens method is utilising all the different families of greens together – and there are other benefits too:

– we don’t really care about the final veg product, so seed varieties that werent a favourite can be used up
– old seed that you suspect are past their best can be used up
– onion and other alliums in this context are being grown for their greens, so in our case that’s great for me, as the whites of onions and garlic are not friends with my gut.
– this mixed greens thing also makes for an excellent stock base if you end up overrun with the stuff.

sooo much quicker than waiting the full season for roots and fruits. In fact, if you have very limited space, this could end up being your thing every season. Seed packets are so cheap, and available even at the supermarket. If you plant out a new bed or pot every month, you’ll have BANG FOR BUCK greens all year.

Look wide; grow well, folks 🌿