Posts Tagged ‘beans’

Wet and Damp – and some Fails

It has been very wet and damp these last weeks and now the sun is much lower during the day the garden does not get that much sun.  This means things will now be wet until the spring time and so I wonder how much more we will get out of the square foot garden until that time.

This weekend it has been different and not only sunny but hot too.  The garden is still soaked but I really did have to cut the grass before the lawn turned into a some wild forest.   Quite a challenge as the lawn mower no longer has any blades attached to it.  It is a cheap flymo rip off that we bought from B&Q a number of years ago for £10 or something silly and we have kept it outside ever since.  Probably not the recommended way to look after electric equipment and “don’t do this at home kids”.    As part of this the plastic blades get brittle from being outside and break all the time and currently we have not bought any more.   Amazingly, it does still cut grass even if it does no longer hover over the lawn.   On the wet long grass it was quite a job then to get it all cut, but cut it now is and all raked up.

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The square foot garden was in a bit of a sorry state and so today was chance to tidy it up a bit.  That cat is digging up as much as he can at the moment which was the end to some of our turnips the other week.    The turnips on the whole have not been a success.   Firstly the caterpillars stripped the leaves as quick as they could which was the end to many, while the others never really developed into much.   They all had roots but not as a turnip shape ball that you would want to eat, infact just the one was anything that looked like a turnip.   We did something a bit wrong here, off to look up what happened in my veg book.

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The sweetcorn I was not too surprised with our lack of result as they were planted very late.  Next year we will be much more organised and do it on time, I am thinking it this spot was still getting a lot of sun then we would have at least tiny baby corns.  As it is, we did have tiny baby corns but they were being eating by various insects and everything was extremely wet.   This was the first time ever for growing sweetcorn and we did not know what to expect at all, at least next year we will know a bit more and might even get to eat some of it ourselves.
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Not everything is bad though, our late peas have flowers and are podding and doing quite nice.  There probably won’t be a huge number of peas as we only did one square.  At this time of year it is clear now that these late plants could go in the majority of the free squares in order to get a good overall harvest especially peas which can be frozen once picked.      Doing well too are the late broad beans, despite the wind trying its best to keep knocking them down.   All broad bean plants are full of flowers and with hope might get to producing beans before the frosts come, these last couple of hot days will be a great help.

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The massive courgette plant is taking over the square feet, lots of leave but little else.   Courgettes come and go, mostly eaten by something or rotting before they get too big, probably too wet.   Keeping an eye on things each day and picking baby courgettes before this happens has given us a small harvest but nothing like last year when we had so many we ended up using courgettes in chocolate cake!

Winter onions are still there, some got dug up by the cat but the majority are hangining on.  We’ve never grown over wintering onions before and so I will be interested to see how they all cope with the winter and hope to have a good harvest.

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Late Broad Beans

Late Broad Beans

I never used to like broad beans, but now I think they are great both with skins on and without.  When we had the allotment I would see them growing as one of the first plants for the year and I always missed the time to plant.   We missed it again this time as the Square Foot Garden was not built at the time, so I thought I would have a go while we are growing late peas to do the same with late broad beans too.  Since this photo was taken the four plants are now much taller and have many flowers, so once again fingers crossed they have the chance to produce something before the frost.

Next to the beans are the tomato plants which despite not being tied up to anything is still allowing a good large handful of tomatoes each day.

How are the winter seedlings doing?

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After a lot of rain the winter seedlings are popping up all over the place.   The turnips have come up and it that I was not too good at sowing just two seeds each time as I now have little clumps of them instead, they were very tiny seeds though.  Not a problem as I am undecided if I should have four turnips per square or 16, I am becoming more in favor for 16 like the onions in order to end up with smaller onion sized turnips when the time comes.   In a little bit then I will thin these seedlings out and put in formation for 16 per square if I am still thinking that way.   Note the metal grilling over the top, the cat has not been back to dig it all up since but I will keep this all covered just in case.

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Three squares of broad beans, one plant per square, and soon to be followed by a third when the carrots have been used up.   I planted two beans per square in order to introduce some redundancy and all have come up so I will either transplant them to other squares or bin them.  If these are meant to go over winter then I may as well keep as many squares as I can full for that time.

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The winter onions are all popping up, infact they look more impressive at the moment than our many failed spring onion sowings we did during the spring.  I will leave these for a little bit in order to get bigger before I thin any out and get each square filled with 16.   I am hoping for all these we keep with the current warm weather followed by rain followed by sun again, although maybe during the week I am off work it would be nice for just sun…

Broad Beans and Onions

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I have never tried growing during the winter period, so thought now would be a good time while the squares were starting to clear out.  As well as turnips, I bought some Japanese onion seed and some broad bean seed off Ebay.   At the same time I bought the seed potatoes for the winter harvest.  Winter is going to be quite sparse and so four squares of onions would seem a good idea, esp with the idea of losing some.  Two squares of parsnips and right at the back behind the tomatoes are two squares of broad beans with one square in front of them.  When the carrots are pulled up, one of these squares will be used for broad beans too.

Eating French Beans

French Beans

We have taken a couple of pickings of our french beans this week.  We have grown runner beans for years but never french beans which is silly as we have missed out.  These beans are so much easier to prepare for cooking, no constant slicing with a bean slicer but instead just chop them up!   Plenty more beans growing, and plenty of seed for next year too.

Dwarf Bean Flower

While we are talking about beans, I spotted the purple flowers of the dwarf beans that are tucked away in a corner square and really in the wrong place.  These beans have had to put up with towering sweetcorn on one side, pumpkin on the other and a courgette plant in a pot next to it,  add to that the square is at the back and doesn’t get much direct sunlight.  I calculated that all wrong!  Even so, two plants have grown and although small they both have amazing purple flowers.  It makes our bean display go from white to red to purple.

Beans, Peas, and the attack of the Tomatoes

French Beans

Despite the black fly which seems to be covering our garden like a blanket, these french beans are growing so well.  I didn’t notice any beans yesterday and yet today it seems it is covered in them with a lot of them ready to be picked.   We have never grown french beans before but it does make a nice change from the normal runner beans (we have them too) and much quicker to prepare when cooking too.  The white flowers of these mixed well with the red from the running beans and they all continue to put on a good show.

Peas

We planted peas a bit late so it was always interesting to see what we would get and it has been a bit unfortunate for them.   Firstly due to me not implementing vertical growing to any great degree meant that the pea plants that could have grown up and up and produced loads ended up meanly on the ground.  Secondly, and also due to me not implementing vertical growing, the tomato plants in the the next squares have grown all over the place and over powered the peas a bit too much.  Shame on me then for not doing it all correctly as by the amount everything has grown, if it was able to climb upwards then we would be laughing.   Instead, we are laughing but in a slightly different way as the photo of the peas shows our harvest!  They did well against everything but in the end the tomatoes over powered them.   These plants will come out now and over the next weeks we will plant some more for a quick last minute harvest.

Tomatoes go Wild!

So as you see, the tomatoes have grown really well all over the place and are sporting loads of green tomatoes which sometime in August must turn red and be ready to either eat raw or added to cooking.   These two plants came from a bloke off Freecycle and I think I must keep in contact with him in  case he grows loads again next year and needs to get rid of the seedlings.   My worry at the moment is tomato blight as we have had no rain for well over a month (possibly two months even) which is fantastic after the last two years worth of bad summers, but with the watering and high humidity I know I am asking for trouble here.  Fingers crossed.   Now… if only I had implemented that vertical growing…….

A couple of days of wind and rain

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After a good month of blue skies, hot weather and sun sun sun… we had two or three days of rain and wind.   The result is a sudden growth on everything and a bit of wind damage.   The sweetcorn shows no signs of any corn inside, although I’m not fully sure when they are meant to so I’m not too concerned.  They keep growing and one of them I have had to tie to a stick to keep it upright.  The water has given the courgette plant a lot of think about and that is starting to use all it’s four squares allotted to it, plus put on a display of flowers too which means courgettes will soon be on their way.

We have a number of empty squares now which are waiting for me to find time to replant them.  At the same time I will top up the soil too with a new mix of peat, compost and vermiculite.  Over the months the level of the soil has dropped quite a bit and I’m glad I planted globe varieties of carrots otherwise there would not be much to have when the time comes.

The big thing to know is that I really should had done the vertical part of growing a lot better and by the book.   The tomatoes are over grown and by clumped up and I just hope that the millions of tomatoes that it seems to be growing all survive and don’t get too damp and warm and just rot.  The poor peas are swamped by the tomatoes and while I have seen a couple of pea pods I fear that may be it.    All of this could had been avoided if I had done the vertical supports correctly and we would then have a wall of peas and tomatoes and beans.   Next year…..

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