Posts Tagged ‘broad beans’

Onions – first harvest

My “Radar” onions had started to flop over and as they were getting quite large, and we had a dry afternoon today, I dug them up.  They are of varying sizes but all big enough for me to be happy with.  I’d say they were all at least as big as a tennis ball.

I also dug out a few bulbs of garlic as the leaves were getting very rusty.  In last weeks “Gardener’s World”, Monty Don suggested that this is the best course of action for rusty garlic even though the bulbs may not be fully formed yet.  The ones that came out were great but I have decided to leave the rest of them in for now and see if I can get them a little bigger.  These were “Vallelado” garlic, an organic variety from The Organic Catalogue which I planted on October 4th.  These were the first things I planted in my new veg patch and now they are fully grown and on their way in the big wide world.  I’m so proud, (sniff).

Radar onions & Vallelado garlic 1.7.12

I have put them all in the growhouse out of the rain, but with plenty of light to dry out.  Hopefully they’ll last long enough for us to eat them.

Also today I harvested another batch of broad beans for dinner, along with some lovely rainbow chard from the square foot growbag.

Broad beans and rainbow chard 1.7.12

Broad beans – first harvest

Well I think I managed to avert the blackfly crisis by taking off the growing tips of the shoots on the broad beans, and I have just been out and picked the first handful for our dinner this evening.

From 740g of picked pods……..

………I got 215g of beans………

……..and when these were shelled I was left with 115g of beans for our dinner……

Look how vibrant that green is and although my childhood memories of broad beans are that of eating sour rubber, these are lovely and sweet.  And there are still loads more on the plants.  These were planted back in the autumn, with the seeds put straight into the ground.  The veg patch was new and had hardly anything added to it, a couple of bags of manure and a couple of organic compost and that was it.  And I haven’t fed them since.

Pest of the day – Blackfly

It was going so well with the broad beans, until I walked around the “estate” this morning and found this…..

Blackfly!!! They must have moved in overnight because there were none there yesterday.  They are larvae and are all clustered around the tops of the broad bean shoots.  And they have their little attendants – the ants.  I just Googled and apparently the ants feed off of sugary secretions from the larvae.

Having read a lot of grow-your-own magazines and books over the last 12 months I knew this could happen and what to do so I went out with a pair of trusty scissors and cut all the top shoots off the beans.  One stalk I had to go down below the first few beans because the larvae were on those too but I only lost 3 beans.  It gave me a chance to open a pod and see what size the beans were and they were not quite big enough.  Perhaps I can pick some over the weekend from further down.

Bursting out all over

Cripes, where did the time go?  Over a month since my last garden update and everything has gone bananas!  And these are almost the size of bananas……….

…….and growing at a rate of knots!!  These are the broad beans that I direct sowed last October.  They survived the winter and are about 4ft tall.  The larger pods are almost ready to pick, I tried one a week ago but the beans inside were still quite small.

This morning I have finally got around to planting my tomatoes into their growing bag.  It is a two sided patio bag and I have filled it with part homemade compost and part New Horizon organic peat-free.

In each half I have put 3 plants, one each of Gardener’s Delight, Moneymaker and a cherry plum called San Marzano 2.  All grown from seed, I’m happy with them at the moment, we’ll see how they produce!  The Tumbling Tom Yellow, I have also grown from seed and have put two plants in each of two large pots.  One of them already has a couple of flowers on it…

A couple of weeks ago  gave my step-dad one of each of the above 4 varieties and he is growing his in conventional grow bags so we shall see how his compare to mine as the weeks go by.

A few days ago i caught sparrows eating the leaves of my peas so we had to rig up a Heath Robinson style net using some canes, “BuildaBalls” and netting. There was much frustration from me as it kept falling over but in the end a bit of parcel tape and some clothes pegs were employed and at the moment it is still standing – just!

Thise are Meteor peas but I also sowed some Feltham First in a pot just outside the patio doors.  They aren’t growing as fast but there is already a flower.

The square foot patio bag is going great guns, and I’ve been cutting salad leaves from the front left square for over a week now.  The rainbow chard has really taken off too and everything else is catching up.  I have two types of kale, leeks, carrots, kai-lan, chard, asparagus peas and salad in there

I think there were some tomato seeds in the homemade compost I added as there are two rogue tomato plants coming up in the back right square amongst the kale!

The potatoes are doing well and were earthed up on Saturday, and the onions and garlic are swelling nicely.  One of the onions produced a tall flower spike but on advice from UK Veg Gardeners I cut it off as apparently onions that flower don’t store as well.

I am really pleased with the amount of blueberries on my two plants, but will need to net them soon to keep the birds (and dog!) off them

And finally the two non-veg beds.  In this one I just scattered some wildflower, cosmos, echinacea, and poppy seeds back in March.  I don’t know if anything is a flower or a weed at this point!!

And this one I call the Purple Patch because by pure coincidence I realise I have planted (mostly apart from the snowdrops and a white-ish lavender) all purple flowering plants – lavender, allium (which I seem to have cut out of the photo!) and a Japanese anenome.

Last but not least I bought a strawberry pot from Morrisons a couple of months back and a pack of 6 very tiny herb plants.  Since I planted them in the pot they are starting to get going

So that’s my garden round up for the beginning of June.  Hopefully the next post will be of my broad bean harvest!!

Is there a giant at the top?

My beans are growing so fast I’m wondering if they are magic beans and there is going to be a giant at the top shouting ” Fee, fi, fo, fum!”  Here they are as of this morning, 12 days after I sowed the seeds…….

I bought some bamboo canes at the weekend, I think it might soon be time to construct some wigwams.  Although saying that, there was a ground frost this morning so these are staying inside for now.

The tomatoes are slower growers but coming along with a germination rate of almost 100% (the beans have been 50%).

Outside, the broad beans are just starting to flower

and the cabbages, onions & garlic are ticking over. (The camellia flowers are dropping in from next door!)

The rhubarb crown I planted in the autumn has two large stalks now and plenty of new growth.  Would I be able to eat the two larger stalks or just leave the whole thing be until next year?

(click photos to enlarge)

Chitting

I received some seed potatoes last Saturday and was going to hold onto them for a while before putting them out to chit.  However, I checked them this morning and there were some “eyes” starting to sprout so I bit the bullet and decided that as they had taken it upon themselves to get going, who was I to stop them!!

I only bought 6 each of Desiree, International Kidney and Arran Pilot as I only have a small plot or growing bags.

I have put them into egg boxes and put them on the windowsill of my downstairs loo which is bright but cool.

Potatoes starting to chit

Bottom row – International Kidney (also known as Jersey Royals but you aren;t allowed to call them that unless they are grown in Jersey!) and Desiree.

Top row – on the right are the Arran Pilot and on the left are some spuds that were bought for eating but started to sprout so I’ll bung them in and see what happens!!

We have heavy frosts at night at the moment and my broad beans are collapsing and then recovering during the day only to collapse again at night!!  Hope they’ll be ok, they seem quite resilient.  But I’m not sure if I need to give them some support so they don’t flop over so much?

Late November roundup

Yesterday I received two raspberry canes from a “free if you pay P&P” offer in Grow Your Own magazine.  Basically they sent me two sticks with roots on the bottom!  Anyway I’m not really sure where I want them to go but I obviously needed to get them in somewhere for now or they really would end up as just two dead sticks so I have put them in the veg bed against the fence.  One is called Polka which is an autumn fruiting variety, and the other is a summer fruiting Glen Ample.  I don’t know if I will get any fruit next year but we’ll see.

While I was outside I took a few photos of the late November veg patch

Overwintering veg

I got some of those FlexiBalls to build a low cage over the cabbages because I think the pigeons will start eyeing them up soon.  And also threw some organic wool slug pellets around them because something has already had a go.  These pellets are completely safe and made from the clinkers off a sheep’s bum! Nice!! They ponged a bit when I opened the bag. They are a good fertiliser too but whether they keep the slugs off is another matter.

Cabbages and new raspberry cane Glen Ample (back left)

There is a mystery with the garlic.  Quite a few of the organic Vallelado are coming up, but so far not one single shoot of the Solent Wight.  This is a photo of the onions with the garlic on the right, and the Polka raspberry at the back.

Onions, garlic and new raspberry cane Polka

These are my peas and broad beans, the peas are just starting to curl their little tendrils around the sticks

Peas (front) and broad beans (back)

And finally the sweet peas in pots in the growhouse

Sweet peas in growhouse

And that’s about it really.  I did have a quick look at the rhubarb and it looks like there might be a big shoot developing on the top of the crown.  I hope it doesn’t start growing yet.

I am currently reading a book a friend recommended to me called Cabbages & Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping.  It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of Bicarb of Soda and some white vinegar!!  Haven’t tried any yet but will do soon.  It’s all much more eco-friendly than the cupboard full of poisons most people have in their houses.

First frost

Woke up this morning to the first frost of the year.  And it was quite a heavy one.

All my fledgling veggies seem to have survived but the broad beans were drooping a bit

They should pick up later though because the sun is out and melting the frost quite rapidly.  My acer is a beautiful colour in the sunlight

and the last of the Gaillardia flowers are putting up a fight

Still harvesting tomatoes in November!

In my last post about my tomatoes, I really thought I would be taking them all off and getting rid of the plants into the compost.  But it is still so mild that I have left them to it.  I’m still getting a few tomatoes ripening up every few days and these are the few that are left now

I was going to try this recipe from The Little Balcony’s blog but I don’t have enough tomatoes and was very reluctant to buy any in the supermarket today.  Hopefully I can hang onto the ones I have picked and when the rest of these are ready I’ll try it then.

The various things I have planted are all sprouting nicely now

Onions & cabbages

 

Broad beans

 

Peas under fleece

 

Sweet peas

The new water butt is settled in on the patio and due to a couple of downpours in the last week is now completely full!!

New patio water butt

Until I started growing things I’d never eaten Swiss rainbow chard, but I have been buying it in a small greengrocers for the last few weeks and really like it.  So that will be on the list to grow next year.

One thing I have noticed is that I still have no birds in the garden.  The holly is covered in bright red berries and I have hung a bird feeder and fat ball in it too.  But nothing has even nibbled anything.  There were a couple of pigeons around last week and the magpies are kak-kak-kaking in our neighbour’s huge conifers but no little birds yet.  I hope they haven’t all got the hump because we disturbed their garden and took out the forsythia!!

No liposuction required………

……….but I have a lovely new butt!!

This one is to go on the patio.  We have a drainpipe that collects all the water from the new extension roofs and existing rear house roof so it shouldn’t take too long to fill once it is connected.  It is a narrow “space saver” water butt, 100 litre capacity.  I ordered it from greenfingers.com in their clearance sale for £19.99 plus a stand for £7.99.  I have got a connector kit separately from this seller on ebay, so that’s a job for the weekend when we find a suitable tool for making the hole for the connecting water pipe to fit.

You get free delivery if you order over £29, so because I was a little short I ordered this (rather substantial when it arrived) dibber and a pair of very fetching knee pads!!

On Sunday morning I planted out my 7 cabbage seedlings and covered them with fleece until the cabbage collars arrive.  And I think that is now it for the sowing and planting until the spring.  I currently have onions, garlic, cabbage, peas and broad beans in the veg bed, turnips in the patio bag and the last of the tomatoes desperately fighting to ripen on the patio.  It is quite sunny (but cold) today so fingers crossed for a few more before I have to bring them in.  I cut down and hung my French beans in the shed to dry for seeds.  But I have no idea what the original plants were, (which I bought as small plants unlabelled at the local hardware store,) let alone if they are F1s so I will have to get some other seeds as well, I was thinking of Blue Lake as they look the most like the ones I had this year.

I did have a slightly amusing tomato, a siamese twin…..

I am currently reading a book called Allotted Time, an amusing account of two guys who decided on a slightly tipsy night out to get an allotment when neither of them had ever gardened before.  I’m about two thirds through so will review it when I’m done.  And I have been adventurous in my cooking with two recipes from River Cottage Veg Every Day last week and another planned for tonight.  The River Cottage TV series to accompany the book just started on Channel 4 on Sunday evening and I am very pleased to say it doesn’t clash with the Strictly results show!!