After the Horse has Bolted*

Close financial analysis of my vegetable plot – no, wait, come back, I have spreadsheets and everything – have shown that I have already made exactly five quid profit this season (last season it was more than a year before I finally broke even). This is a return on investment of over 7% in six months which is a hell of a lot better than just keeping it in our bank account. Partly this is to do with the £20 worth (and over 2 kilos) of salad we’ve eaten, which some people might argue is a cost. But then, I bet you don’t even know how much salad you’ve eaten over the summer, do you? You see, spreadsheets can be fun!

But the unexpected bonus, uncapturable by spreadsheets, is how decorative a row of bolted lettuces (with the odd bolted onion flower thrown in to give an architectural element to it all) turns out to be. I should really just dig them out but I’ve got nothing waiting to go into that bed so I’m leaving them be out of curiosity to see what the flowers are like. Barely anything down in the flower beds proper looks anything like as smart and grand and colourful (if you ignore the weeds, anyway) as my ex salad patch does. I’ve never been one for all those supposedly decorative vegetable gardens that look neither very productive nor particularly pretty, but I quite like this. Do you think I could achieve this effect if I set out to do it deliberately? Yeah. No, you’re right. Not a hope in hell.

*Actually, pedant alert, the saying is ‘bolting the stable door after the horse has gone (or been stolen)’ – because horses don’t bolt from their stable, they generally bolt to their stable. But a) that then wouldn’t have worked so well as a blog title, and b) that particular battle is lost and, frankly, any attempt to keep correcting common usage is a case of bolting the stable door after the horse has gone. But there was a little part of me that just couldn’t let it go unremarked. And besides, I’ve a wide enough pedant readership that one of you would have undoubtedly corrected me anyway. so there.

8 Responses to After the Horse has Bolted*

  1. Kirsten says:

    Very fine lettuces… they remind me of promenading Victorian ladies with their flounces, frippery and fancy hats!

    I never have the heart to yank mine out until they’ve finished.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Yeah, and there’s only so much lettuce the chickens will eat. I’ll move them when there’s something I want to put in there, otherwise they can fulfil their lettucy destiny.

  3. The Paper Boy says:

    Could you not dig them in as “green manure” – surely better than hoiking them out?

  4. John Gibson says:

    I am very confused, but I like you picture, also the moth blog was great.

  5. Nick says:

    It’s pretty, it’s decorative, it’s a happy accident – but your spreadsheets will tell you that it represents lost profit. Eat. More. Lettuce!

  6. disgruntled says:

    Paperboy – they’ll go to compost eventually anyway, so it ends up more or less the same
    John – thanks
    Nick – shan’t. But I will Plant. Less. Lettuce! next year…

  7. Helen says:

    Which price index do you use to determine the ‘worth’ of your crops? Do they count as Asda standard or Waitrose standard as that would make a huge difference in their value – I err on the side of caution. And then Paul points out that we would rarely eat most of what I grow if I didn’t grow it…

  8. disgruntled says:

    I use Tesco’s online prices as that is where we’d be shopping for veg if we didn’t grow them. I do tend to only plant stuff we’d otherwise buy, although maybe not in the quantities that I grow. And although I grow organically I don’t use the organic prices because we don’t usually shell out for the organic stuff in the supermarket. Certainly for most of July and August we’re not troubling Tesco’s veg department at all, although we usually make up the difference in soft fruit … strawberries next year, maybe?

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