Forum home Fruit & veg

Your best tips for increasing yields...

When i tally up all the money I spend on compost, I despair at the fact I probably barely recoup my investment from my greenhouse tomatoes and Cucumber.

Now I know I could be more displined with feeding, plant on my toms and cucumbers earlier and also getting my compost bins working better for me. 

However, curious to know pearls of wisdoms from more experienced gardeners- on how they considerably improve their yields?

Any advice, so appreciated.


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,895
    Good soil condition will provide most of what plants need - feed your soil and the soil will feed your plants.
    Some plants like tomatoes and the like will benefit from additional potassium which encourages flowers.
    Leafier plants (lettuce, cabbage etc) can benefit from a bit more nitrogen which encourages leaf growth.
    Root plants - carrots and the like may benefit from a bit more phosphorus which encourages toot growth.

    That's why you see NPK values listed on most plant fertilizers.
    N = nitrogen
    P = phosphorus
    K = potassium

    General fertilizers have balanced NPK values
    Specialist feeds (e.g. Tomorite) are biased toward whichever nutrient will help achieve the desired results, so Tomorite (N-P-K = 4-3-8) is biased toward Potassium (K).

    Something like seaweed extract contains a vast array of micronutrients which will benefit just about all plants. NPK values aren't often listed for seaweed products as different seaweed contains different amounts. I consider it one of the best feeds for plants and leafy houseplants thrive on it.

    But good soil is the key to a good plant.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    Personally, I think that growing in small quantities in compost (pots) is never going to be profitable (counting seeds, compost, water and plant food - not the initial investment or any extras).
    For vegetable growing to get profitable, you need to grow a large quantity in garden soil and you still need to be relatively picky with what is worth growing and what isn't. And you need to get lucky with your soil and pest pressure.
    My grandmother used to do this but it was a long time ago and she had an allotment-sized garden.
  • I guess it depends on how much value you place on better flavoured veg and fruit, availability precisely when you want it and whether you prefer organic or not..  I think it is difficult for the average grower with limited space/resources to actually make a monetary profit on their harvest.
  • We have had a very large allotment for 15 years and I have yet to break even let alone make a profit. The benefit is that we eat fresh produce for most of the year and the excess is either frozen or given to friends and relatives. Two things that I do is that I buy my fertiliser and compost from a local allotment association much cheaper than garden centres. See if there is one near you. They will only too happy to sell to you. I am also signed up to 3 of the major seed suppliers so when they email me that they are clearing seeds out at £1 or less per packet I stock up in fact I have got most of next seasons seeds already and they all cost me £1 
  • Don't dig.

    Try making your own liquid feed like comfrey or nettle's easily as good as shop bought stuff, if not better. 

    Visit a local stable if possible..they'll very gladly give you as much horse muck as you can cart away.

  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,717
    So long as you don't count the cost of your time making money is very easy with veg if you are growing in soil.

    The major thing is to not try to get the maximum yield per plant, or the maximum size per plant.
    If you throw a tomato seed that you take from a bought tomato into a crack in your patio it will grow, it might give you 5 tomatoes, but those 5 are free, now put that same seed into a border or veg garden and you'll get 10 tomatoes still free, Add compost 15 tomatoes, cheap but not free, start liquid feeding every week 20 tomatoes but more expensive still. and now start that plant inside in bought compost, feed it as soon as the first flowers appear, plant it out into a greenhouse in a specially bought tomato case, using compost and fertiliser, buy clips and string to tie it up, 40 tomatoes but they cost more than buying them.

    My cucumbers have been amazing this year, 7 big long 300g+ fruit from every plant, they are planted in a pollytunnel directly into the soil over a trench of compost from the local tip. they get watered but that is it, no fertiliser. the seed packets came from one of those £1 a packet sales. They made a lot more back in terms of value than I spent on them (I sell each cucumber for £1) But the greenhouse itself also costs.

    My point is, if you want to save money, don't chase increased yields.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,891
    Comfrey helps cut costs - once it's established it provides free NPK plant food in as much quantity as you want it. 
    Even in a greenhouse, try to grow in the ground rather than pots - apart from the reduction in potting compost quantities, they need less watering as well. 
    Grow basil with your toms to keep pests down a bit.
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • I wouldn't chase gardening for profit, unless you're extremely professional and have a huge plot you'll never do it.
    Instead focus on the pleasure of doing it, eating it and even giving it away.

    The other thing is (at least as far as tomatoes are concerned) working out how to lengthen the growing season will help, but usually isn't cheap or easy.

    Although that aside maximising the plots yield by Winter gardening is a good way.
Sign In or Register to comment.