We’ve Bean Busy

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Since last I wrote we’ve had to endure a succession of winter storms which have hampered efforts to get on the plot and get on with jobs. Last weekend we tried to remedy that.

Hardening off the onions

The onion sets were started off in a tray on 2nd February. They’ve shot up and have now been transferred to the shed on the plot to harden off in readiness for planting out. The risk of frost is becoming less of a concern by the day (am I tempting fate???) so I am looking forward to getting these out in their bed.

The loganberry ‘trellis’

For his birthday, I bought Dan a thornless loganberry. Last Saturday, through gritted teeth and requiring much hammering, we erected the frame that will hold the plant and, hopefully, a bountiful harvest of tender, delicious fruit. This is the first plant that we have planted on the plot since taking it over – there are many more to come.

Inaugural planting of the Loganberry

What I didn’t know was that loganberries are a hybrid of raspberries and blackberries. I honestly believed them to be a species of fruit in their own right. You live and learn.

Got enough strawberries?

While we were at the plot we decided to make a start on thinning out the strawberry bed. It is jam-packed (no pun intended) with plants and their runners. This might look good to the untrained eye, however, there are way too many plants vying for nourishment and they are crammed much too tightly together.

Thinning out

For a decent strawberry harvest you should keep your existing ‘parent’ plants and remove the runners. Our bed was full of plants and so we’ve made a start on removing the vast majority. You can, of course, keep the plants that form at the end of each runner to plant up tubs, baskets or other beds.

This is exciting….

I have also commenced the one job that excites me more than most in the garden – the sowing of seeds. It is such a thrill to put seeds in soil, water them and watch them grow. I like to grow things that are a little unusual and not ‘middle of the road’. With this in mind, the first vegetable seed to be sown is a broad bean, specifically crimson-flowered.

Crimson-flowered broad bean

I don’t grow these broad beans for their culinary taste, their vigorous growth or their resistance to pests. I grow these for one reason and one reason only, their stunning crimson flowers. I have never grown any other variety of broad bean in my life, it is always this one. They are beautiful to look at when in bloom and as long as I grow them it will always be this variety.

Sowing the seed

I’ve planted 24 beans and I may well do another sowing in a few weeks time to keep the crop going a bit longer. I cannot wait to see the flowers. In my previous life I used to plant them in the border to enjoy the blooms and then I would give the pods of beans away (I’m not actually a huge fan of broad beans).

Incredible seed catalogue

Dan recently received a copy of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalogue from Donna in San Francisco – THANK YOU!!! It is incredible and I want EVERYTHING! You can check it out here. I am looking forward to sharing the other seeds we have purchased. All will be revealed as we sow them, so watch this space….there are some really thrilling vegetable varieties coming your way.

Happy Gardening One And All.

The Beau.