Monday 4 July 2016

Beans - and gone!

Yesterday we had our first meal of 2016 Broad Beans.

We had some broad bean tops a week or so ago, which are lovely - a bit like spinach but not so watery. Picking the growing shoots once sufficient flowers and beanlets are forming below, deters black-fly (though not many aphids this year, probably don't like all the rain), keeps the plants from getting too leggy and provides a nice meal for us humans. Yesterday I picked a dozen or so biggish pods and we had them with our roast chicken, accompanied by home-grown spuds. The potatoes are Kestrels which I planted up in big tubs back in February. They've done very well, completely bug and worm-free and very welcome before the ones in the veg bed are ready.

First Broad beans of 2016
The bad news is the climbing French beans. This year I tried a different variety - Cobra. They germinated well in their pots in the greenhouse and I was full of expectation planting them out in their wigwams - about 36 nice plants. But they just wouldn't climb. Only one threw a shoot that wound around the pole, the rest just stood there and sulked. I gave them some extra feed - chicken pellets - but no joy. I could see one or two had been eaten, the stems were bitten right through and the leaves just lay there. I came to the conclusion that slugs were the culprit. So I spread a bit of sandy ash from the bonfire, on the basis slugs don't like sharp bits on their feet. No joy - no beans, although a few mauvish flowers right down at ground level. Maybe pigeons or pheasants were to blame.

So I decided to pot up some more bean seeds in the greenhouse. After 2 weeks of warm weather nothing but one very tiny bean shoot emerged. I turned out the pots and found NO BEANS! So probably slugs, maybe mice.

On Sunday morning I woke up and decided to get rid of the French beans outside and plant Chard. Went up the garden to find - NO BEANS AT ALL. Every one of the remaining plants were cropped off at an inch high. So no French beans this year - but Chard is very nice. (Maybe with roast pigeon or pheasant - I'm watching you!)

The runner beans are climbing well and have started putting out bright red flowers, so there's hope there!

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