We’ve Bean Busy

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.

15 thoughts on “We’ve Bean Busy

  1. Wow, so exciting!!! I am with you, nothing more exciting than planting seeds. I wasn’t a fan of broad beans until I understood about double peeling and using them in salads. Totally delicious and now I am a complete convert. Hope the weather picks up so u you really can enjoy your patch.

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  2. John, (sorry can’t call you ‘the beau’), I’m also a fan of broad beans, picked young & lightly steamed & tossed in a garlic/vinaigrette dressing …yum. Looking forward to more planting news of your allotment.

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  3. I can see why you would like the bean flowers. My Mum’s garden has strawberry plants running under her rose bushes, which makes them tricky to pick. I hadn’t realised I should remove the runners. I’ve actually been encouraging them.

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  4. What with all your storms I was kind of surprised to read that you were able to plant your loganberry. The soil looks nice. As to broad beans I don’t think I have ever eaten them. The flowers do look worth having them in the garden. It will be fun seeing what all you get planted. We all keep learning from the garden. Have fun. Oh yes, one bit of advise, don’t mention the Fr–t word again. It might tempt fate. 😉

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    1. It’s like saying ‘Beetlejuice’….one too many times and it will appear. Let’s not use that F word again…

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  5. Broad beans are delicious picked small and cooked for a minute in the microwave add a splash of olive oil and lemon juice and some finely chopped mint. You’ll never leave your beans to grow large again – except when life gets in the way of getting to the allotment. Love your blogs

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  6. Loganberry needs to produce canes before it can fruit. It should not make any berries until the canes that grow this year bloom next year. Once the cane fruit, they can be cut to the ground and replaced with the canes that will be busy growing from the base at about the same time. Is yours a cultivar that fruits on new canes in autumn like some of the ‘everbearing’ raspberries?

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  7. I used to grow crimson flowering beans but prefer the taste of Karmazyn (a pink skinned bean). Excitingly (to me, anyway) the crimson flowers crossed with nearby white bean flowers and I had striped bean flowers! Stupidly I ate all the beans….

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  8. I had to check out the Loganberries….sadly they don’t grow in my zone (5a) – I have many wild blackberry brambles at the edge of the ravine on my property however….too bad the birds and bears tend to get to them before I do!

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  9. Oh dear, the catalogue looks just otherworldly (like the majority of the plants inside of it), but what is the plant importing law in UK like after Brexit? Loving the blog guys!

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