Happier at home thanks for starting this thread.
I hope everyone in Perth is well into the growing season because it is now. I am from NZ where you put anything in the ground and it grows so I have had quite the learning curve growing in perth. It took me a long time to get over the idea that the prime growing season was summer. it is not it is too bloody hot then unless you have perfect soil and shady conditions. so now i get stuck in in autumn to get plants going for winter and then keep at it every month to get plants started for summer. stopping most seedling propagation in december.
Yes value for money is important unless you really enjoy this as a hobby only.
We don't grow carrots, cabbage, potatoes, onions as they are so cheap at spud shed. But I reckon carrots and potatoes are quite fun for kids. Our problem is we have nematodes and shit sand so we can only grow in winter and only in raised/wicking beds in summer. soil improvement is key and you do have to spend money on this (soil solver) unless you grow in pots or pour water and organic matter on the soil for 10 years. but nutrients are important as perth sands are amongst the most impoverished in the world.
We have a fair amount of fruit trees (3 oranges, 3 mandarins, 2 lemons, kaffir lime, 2 tahitian limes, 2 bananas, 3 pawpaws, lychee, longan, starfruit, tamarillo, 2 guavas, 2 avocados, 5 grapes, dragon fruit, 2 feijoas (pineapple guavas for aussies), barbadoes cherry, 2 apples, apricot, quince, olive, 5 mulberries, peach, 2 mangos, 8 pineapples, 3 passionfruit, 2 figs.
The best value in order of most bestness at the top for Perth
mulberry - drought tolerant, abundant plus plus, can't buy in shops, fruits very early, minimal deficiencies in alkaline sands, provides shade also
pawpaw - grow from seed so free - lots of fruit, not that nutrient hungry, expensive in shops
guava (hawaiian) - early bearer, bears for 2-3 months, not nutrient or water hungry (but fruit fly so must bag with paper bags)
lemon eureka - early bearer and all year round but nutrient hungry, water hungry when young, many uses
oranges - our navel gives us beautiful fruit for 3 months but you have to bag and watch the nutrients
mandarins - 2 months fruit but bagging essential and nutrients as above citrus
limes good value and early bearing nearly all year round but how many limes do you need?
feijoa - love love these (from kiwi childhood) but can take years to bear (3 years for me) and fruit flies love them too so bagging essential - can't buy in shops.
figs - pretty easy to grow and expensive in shops. but fruit fly susceptible and fruit don't seem to like bagging
peach - so tasty and early bearing but all ripen over 2-3 weeks - bag for fruit fly
quince - yummo early heavy bearing, not nutrient hungry, some fruit fly, expensive in shops
passionfruit - abundant, early bearers, cheap/easy to grow from seed. expensive in shops but short lived 3-5 years and susceptible to snails and viruses.
apples - pretty cheap in shops and hard to keep from getting sunburned and need to bag from fruit fly
grapes - subject to attack by downy mildew (early croppers), ants (will eat the whole bunch) and rats (late croppers).
finicky and maybe worth it if you can nurse them to maturity
mango - i see great ones in the neighbour hood but mine are in the single figure fruit production after 4 years
avocado - very water hungry and need shade cloth for 6 months. long time to bear - mine 1 fruit after 4 years. tamarillo - water hungry and hates the hot sun (shade cloth or understory) but early bearing and free and easy to grow from seeds.
lychee - mine has done nothing
rasberries - recurrent carking
persimmon - hates the hot and dry
veges I rate - tomatoes free from seed you have saved and the compost (i have never bought a plant), cucumbers but timing is important - too early mildew; too late, too hot, herbs ( but need to know different likes for each), silverbeat, spinach (only in winter), broccoli (plant in autumn and spring only), peas (only in spring), lettuce (winter, autumn only),
kale - grows for a whole year just keep picking the leaves, garlic (expensive and great if you have the space to grow),
There is a good perth based Facebook group called jettos patch where they have the most amazing garden i have seen in perth. And perth is very challenging. these guys are super inspiring.