Tag Archives: beans

Planting out: beans and tomatoes

After a little less than two weeks, our first sowing of French beans had developed into robust plants ready for planting out. It is probably a month or so too early to plant these tender crops outdoors, even here in our sheltered southerly locale. It is, though, a good time to plant in the polytunnel, where they are well protected and will crop weeks ahead of those to be planted outdoors later in the season. We have both dwarf and climbing sorts, the latter planted against a series of vertical bamboo canes. The dwarfs will crop first but the climbing sorts will produce the larger crop over a longer period. Thus, planting both sorts serves to spread the harvest. Continue reading

Sowing this week

With April just around the corner, it was time to sow some of the tender crops, to be planted outdoors in early to mid May or in the polytunnel or glasshouses as soon as large enough. First were the French beans, Meraviglia di Venezia, a yellow climbing bean, and Beurre de Rocquencourt, also yellow, but a dwarf sort. It is a little early to sow beans for outdoors, but these are destined for the polytunnel, where they should be fine planted out in a few weeks’ time. The dwarf beans should crop first, with the climbing beans to follow. Continue reading

Recent sowing and planting

The blog has been rather slow lately, with nearly one month since my last post. Partly, at least, one must blame this lazy blogger. In my defence, we have been busy with various other things, and the garden has reached that maintenance phase where the mad rush of propagating and planting out slows down to a more modest workload. Most of the beds are now full, with crops for summer and autumn use as well as many to go through the winter or put into storage. It has also been hot lately, and the partly walled vegetable plot can become unbearably hot to work in the summer, not to mention the glasshouses and polytunnel, so we tend to reduce our activities at this time of year. Continue reading

Sowing this week

This week we started sowing more of the tender crops. We started with French bean Beurre de Rocquencourt, a dwarf wax bean bearing pale yellow pods. Whilst the outdoor crop of climbing French and runner beans will provide a heavy crop over a long period, they take some time to develop. A dwarf bean will produce a crop rather more quickly as they do not need to put on so much vegetative growth before they bear. I am hoping to find some space in the polytunnel for our first crop, which might also help a little. I could, perhaps, have sown a couple of weeks ago, but beans are tender and there is still a possibility of a frost, even in the polytunnel. I sowed in pots, several seeds to each, rather than direct, as I sometimes do with beans later in the year. In pots they are easier to protect from the cold and from pests. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 4 – peas and beans

I am very fond of legumes of various sorts. Peas and broad beans are one of the great treats of the early season. Although they freeze well, growing enough for freezing needs a great deal of space and a lot of effort for picking and shelling. I prefer, instead, to eat them as a seasonal treat so do not grow an excessive quantity. Out of their peak season in early summer there are plenty of other crops to enjoy. Later in the year, French and runner beans are one of our staples. We grow beans for use fresh as well as shelling sorts for drying for winter use, but CT is not very keen on the dried beans. Continue reading

Blackfly on the broad beans

Blackfly on broad beans

Blackfly has arrived on the outdoor broad beans. In typical fashion, there was no sign of them until, seemingly overnight, the hoards moved in and covered the top six inches or more of stem. Their arrival should not, however, cause a rush to spray with any nasty stuff as they are readily dealt with using simple organic methods. Continue reading

Enjoying the harvest

The harvest is underway

After a slow start to the year, and with so much effort focussed on infrastructure rather than cultivation, it is good to see the harvest coming along nicely now. We have been enjoying beautiful creamy new potatoes, Sharpe’s Express and Red Duke of York, from the potato pots for some weeks. We steam these for best results, which prevents them from breaking up. The first of the outdoor potato beds is looking good now, and will be ready to supply new potatoes as soon as the pots are gone. The autumn sown onion sets are also developing nicely, with many of a good size already, and great used fresh. The outdoor sowings will provide the main crop for storage later in the year. Continue reading

Beans, beans, and more beans

Tackling the weeds

Today was a hard one. One of the two beds designated for legumes in this rotation was previously home to overwintered leeks. The remaining few had thrown up a flower spike and the rest of the bed had become overgrown with weeds. Fortunately, most of the weeds were shallow rooted and readily pulled out – helped by the loose soil that comes from these lightly cultivated beds. They seem barely compacted by the winter and spring rains, and need little more than a light raking to prepare for sowing. Continue reading