Tag Archives: runner beans

Biscuits and beans

It’s National Biscuit Day and I missed. Fortunately I was able to get into the spirit of things because we bought biscuits for a meeting scheduled for 11am. At 10.10 they rang to cancel. It’s an ill wind that blows no good…

I know farmers need rain (or so they always tell us until they start telling us the rain will ruin them), but I really could have done without the rain today. We’re on clay (you may have heard me mention it a time or two) so it meant I couldn’t get on the newly cleared beds.

We could still get into the herbs and Julia has been potting some of the bigger ones for the plant stall on the 7th June. I’ve been on the raised beds near the kitchen and made a couple of runner bean wigwams. One will have the roots we’ve overwintered for the last two years, and the other will have some new ones from this year. Looking at the luxuriant growth of the old ones (already in flower despite being kept in a bucket in the polytunnel till now) and comparing it with the stringy new growth it doesn’t look much of a contest. We will have to see – when you talk to people about it the majority seem to think you are better using new plants every year. I will keep scrupulous records of cropping dates, numbers and weights and see what it tells us.

It will probably tell you that after the first week the reporting system fails. When you add my lack of paperwork skills to the effect of random harvesting by passers-by it’s almost a certainty!

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Games, bamboo and beans

It’s not often we welcome a sports personality to the group but we did today, after his trip to the Disabled Games at Scunthorpe. So it’s congratulations for a job well done (including archery and curling) and a big thank you to the Rotary Club for putting on  the games.

Despite predictions of cloud and rain over the weekend we pretty much seem to have had good weather. Too good for the plants in the polytunnel – some of which had laid down and died on heat stress on Sunday. I was in on Saturday so I know all was well then. Current forecast indicates we are in for some cooler days but they haven’t exactly covered themselves with accuracy for the last ten days so I don’t know what to believe.

I’ve been ordering a few new seeds as I crave excitement in the garden and don’t think I’ll be getting that from phlox, onions and feverfew. So it’s hello to Giant Bamboo and Bananas. The Giant Bamboo is suposed to grow a foot a day when it gets into its stride so I’m looking forward to that. It’s going to make an interesting photo diary at the very least, and next year’s bean frames are going to be pretty spectacular if it gets anywhere near its predicted 100 foot tall.

Final picture is of our new, slightly out of kilter, X-shaped bean frame. The theory is that the beans will hang down and be easier to pick from an X than from an inverted V. I’ve seen a more sophisticated version of this in a book – I think by Alan Titchmarsh – which was a timber frame supporting a proper V shape. If the X works I may look at going the whole hog next year.

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More news on the beans is that the roots we saved from last year are starting to form shoots. Normally gardening books tell you to cut the top part off and leave the roots in to the soil so that all the nitrogen they have fixed from the air will go back to the soil. A couple of years ago  Julia read an article saying that runner beans were perennials and you could store the roots like dahlia tubers. We did it and they seemed OK. Opinions on the net seem a little mixed but we’ll give them another year and see what happens.