Sunday, 6 April 2008

Back to the vegetables...

Anyway, this is supposed to be a veg-growing blog, not a pondlife blog.

Our week off is drawing to a close and there's snow on the ground again, so I think we've done all we're going to until next weekend at least.

As well as the pea-sowing and slug-protection I've already written about, we've dug almost all the beds now (just three remain) and we've built another wood surround for two more beds (courgettes and strawberries).

We've built our bean supports and sown beans at home ready for planting out in six weeks or so when the frosts finish, and I've planted out the broad bean seedlings. Since they're a bit of an experiment for me, I must admit I hadn't really thought about where I was going to fit them in, and ended up sticking them at the end of one of the pea rows, probably crammed much too close together, but we'll see what happens. And if I don't like them I'll just be pulling them up to sow some more sugarsnaps anyway!

I think beans are my favourite crop; they're dead easy to grow and really versatile in the kitchen too. I've picked six varieties this year - all climbers to contend better with the weeds! - and I don't even know if I'm going to have room for them all. I think I may end up with a few bean wigwams dotted around the melon patch, especially as only half my melon seeds have germinated!

14 x runner bean 'Scarlet Emperor'
14 x climbing french bean 'Cherokee Trail of Tears' (heirloom American variety used by the Cherokee indians and apparently the best bean there is; delicious and prolific)
14 x climbing french bean 'Italian Gold' (yellow beans)
14 x climbing french bean 'Trionfo Violetta' (purple beans)
14 x climbing french bean 'Cobra' (good old-fashioned green beans)
14 x climbing french bean 'Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco' (for drying, perhaps...)

Actually the borlotto gave me some trouble. Turns out I accidentally bought two packs; one from T&M and one from Plants of Distinction as part of an offer. But inside the PoD pack were not the pink and yellow mottled beans I was expecting, but long black ones more like 'cobra'. I checked in the T&M pack to confirm my expectations of what the beans should look like, and there has definitely been a mix-up somewhere!

I sowed the T&M ones, obviously, but I wonder what the others are...

The next pressing jobs are to finish the digging and woodwork, finally mulch around the strawberries with some black plastic, sow some squashes and some more brassicas (some direct when the beds are finished) and clear the herb patch ready for planting. It's been a great week though. I hope the sunny weather returns again soon!

Hastings had a good week too; here he is relaxing by the pond:

And here are some pretty incredible bumblebee pictures Eddie took!


Amy said...

Looks like you had a very good week off work, if only they could all be like this!

RobD said...

Yep, can definitely vouch for the Cherokee Trail of Tears. They were one of the few highlights of a washed out year on my plot last year,


Paul and Melanie said...

Looking good!
I'll be watching your beans with interest, I'm planning on doing some different ones next year all being well... :)

Matron said...

I really hope you enjoy eating your broad beans. You only get a handful really, but in my mind if they are picked young and not allowed to get to big and tough - they are a luxury gourmet food.

The Garden Monkey said...


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