Winter salads costs

I recalled whilst writing my last post that I intended to work out the costs for producing the winter salads. I’ve therefore been back through all my order confirmation emails and here they are:

Compost £6.00
Mushroom trays £19.50
Newspaper £0.00
Webbs Wonderful seeds £1.99
Red Little Gem seeds £2.49
Lollo Rossa seeds £2.49
Salad Rocket seeds £1.99
Red Chard seeds £3.00
Leaf Radish seeds £1.39
Red Frills seeds £1.99
Pizzo seeds £1.79
Robinson lettuce seeds £1.99
Coriander seeds £1.49
Chervil seeds £2.59
Land Cress seeds £1.49
Golden Streaks seeds £1.49
Total £51.68

The total seems quite high for (what I hope to be) one winter’s worth of salad leaves, but I think it’s fair to say that the costs aren’t really what they seem. The compost is clearly a one-off thing though in fact I used some that we had lying about and I could have used some we made last year, but the trays may well last for years. The lettuce seeds were all from packs that I happened to have left over from the summer and in fact I’ve probably barely used a tenth of the contents of any of the packs. I’ve put the newspaper down as free since I just raided my in-laws recycling, but if I didn’t have that then I might well just have used bits of cardboard packaging from online deliveries or something like that. Even scraps of old clothing would probably do the job. Whatever I used I don’t think I’d have paid anything for it.

For the sake of argument if I guesstimate that the trays will last five years and that I could keep unused seeds to sow next autumn and the following year as well and they’d remain viable then that would actually bring the annual cost down to about £18.60 which would leave us about one more pick from breaking even, based on the cost of buying pre-packaged organic salad leaves.

If I used our own compost and I knocked up some trays myself from scraps of timber we have lying about (which was my original plan, but I just ran out of time) then the annual cost would be just under £8.75 which should mean breaking even after one more pick even pricing based on the cost of pre-packaged non-organic leaves.

And of course there’s still the additional benefit of not having the plastic packaging waste, and perhaps also having a more healthy diet because we eat the salad we have rather than choosing something else less healthy.

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