…and they’re off! The first harvest of 2013

After a few weeks of on-and-off rain made getting anything done on the allotment difficult I finally got over there this weekend.  The biggest job was, of course, weeding.  The little blighters pop up with alarming speed and I’m sure they make every gardener wonder the same thing:  “Why can’t the crops grow that well?

The ground was damp which didn’t help but I absolutely had to kick these weeds into touch – using my long-reach Draper, a cheap onion hoe and bare hands (whenever I switched to hand-pulling I seemed to happen across a patch of young nettles). Continue reading

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This year’s heroes: #3 – Dwarf French Beans – ‘Saxa’ and ‘Purple Queen’

This summer was the first time I’d tried to grow any other beans than Enorma or White Lady runners.  I do love runner beans deep down, but they do get stringy as we all know, and what’s more, Amelia doesn’t care for them.  That was the decider!

Enter french beans, then.  Two dwarf varieties chosen at random from the seed catalogue, which were started in module trays and transplanted out too soon (they were on their second set of leaves, but they went out onto the plot in May and were quickly followed by a cold snap and a dry spell).  They were slow starters because of this, but they recovered well and before we knew it we were inundated.

Saxa-PQueen

In front: Purple Queen.  Behind: Saxa.

The photo above shows around two thirds of the space devoted to beans – an area this size again was split between beans and Earlibird sweetcorn.

The taste was great, Amelia loves them (I have a great photo of her with two pods sticking out of her mouth like fangs, but that’s for another day…) and after harvesting I just pulled them and dug them straight into the ground in what was to become the garlic n’ onion bed.

I’ll be going back to these varieties (Purple Queen especially), the only question is whether to stick with dwarf varieties or build a ‘Munty’ frame for them.  I think gievn the exposed site I’ll stick to the dwarf variety, though I’m not sure how much the yield could be increased with climbing varieties.

The freezer still has half a dozen bags of blanched beans in it, which we are slowly but surely making our way through.

God Save the Purple Queen.