Friday, 8 August 2014

Some You Win Some You Don’t

Thursday wasn't a bad sort of a day but nothing special for August. A few sunny spells and a high temperature of 22.3°C.

Sue has some more wallflowers and sweet Williams to plant out in the plot for cut flowers for next year. I wasn't looking forward to preparing a bed suitable for planting out knowing how dry the ground is at the moment. I took the cultivator down to the plot to attempt to prepare the allotted bed.
Now I have to admit that the soil in the picture to the right does look a little bit damper than the before image on the left. In truth it’s a bit like cultivating in gravel rather than soil. At a real pinch and using some compost to plant in it might be possible to plant out some young plants. The weather forecast is for heavy rain on Friday, Sunday and Monday so we decided to leave planting for a few days to see if some rain improves the condition of the soil.

We usually grow our runner beans up a wigwam made from bamboo canes. This year we wanted to try growing them through weed control fabric to cut down on weeding. Sue thought we ought to try something different to wigwams and grow the beans up canes placed in a long row rather than a circle. I didn't fancy trying to form a circle and cut holes in the correct places for canes and plants to pass through weed control fabric. There seemed to be a lot of guess work involved for my liking so a sort of compromise was reached with each variety of bean planted in its own little tunnel of bamboo canes.
When the beans were planted out on 06 June the bed looked like this. The beans had taken up far more room than I had envisaged as we’d normally mange to fit our sweet corn crop into this size of bed as well. This year that was going to have to move. I wasn't convinced that the beans would fill out the bed. On the plus side though it was easy to prepare the weed control fabric for this planting method. We planted a row of Inca berry plants along the centre of the bed to make it appear a little fuller. 
I needn't have worried. The beans have grown to fill up the bed and are producing masses of beans which are easier to pick than when grown up wigwams. The Inca berries are doing their best to compete with the runner beans. The only issue so far is that the end couple of climbing French beans Cobra have become detached from the support at the top of the frame. This might be a problem if it gets really windy. Of course we haven't had any weeding to do either. A result!


  1. A great way to grow them, and they're looking really healthy. Mine are leaning horribly over the path. The space for walking along is shrinking rapidly. The sweetcorn at the allotment has been completely trashed by badgers, so I think I'll have to try growing it at home next year. I'm guessing you don't have badgers at your plot.

    1. We don't seem to do badly for large damaging creatures on the plot. Certainly no badgers. We do have foxes but they tend to go for the chickens. Looks like it's going to be very windy here over the weekend and into Monday so our runner could have a real lean on by the time it's over.

      It's bad enough trying to combat the normal gardening pest, diseases and weather without having to take on the badger population too.

  2. Very nice, Martyn. I'll have to try growing like this.. Thanks for sharing.


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