Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Monday, September 03, 2007

HOW many beans...!?

I’m continuing with the ‘preserving’ theme, out of some necessity as the RUNNER BEANS (reg-next-plot) have gone nuclear! The freezer is full, Jane has been away, everyone I know – & some who I don’t – have had a heap of runner beans & I will soon be accosting total strangers in the street!

They do taste absolutely fantastic, so no complaints there – as do the CLIMBING FRENCH BEANS (blue lake) which have also been prolific – it’s just that the runners are such a fiddle to prepare in comparison.

So if you can’t freeze runner beans, what do you do? Well, you salt them. I’m not 100% sure of this – & for once don’t have a definitive answer on the GYO grapevine, but I’ve gone for it anyway with an inexpensive plastic airtight container & a sack of salt….

The plan seems to be to string & slice the beans & layer them with the salt – so far so good – but I’ve had a real dither on what exactly constitutes a ‘layer’ of beans (& for that matter, a ‘layer’ of salt). You keep adding layers as you pick the beans – & I’ll have one more stringing session, I guess, before the container is full. Airtight lid, store in garage, eat in winter. Come back in January for an update as to success or otherwise!

I have noticed that as the plot is in pretty good shape with a lot of established plants in, there is much less weeding to be done – hurrah! Maybe once Spring is out the way when all the weed seeds germinate, that’s it (until next year, anyway!), & it means that half an hour picking every two or three days is all that it needs to keep it ticking over.

There are a number of things which I am very pleased about at the moment – besides the sheer abundance of the beans – including the way that the CABBAGE (primo II) are hearting up, & if the PARSNIP (white gem) thinnings that I had roasted for tea are anything to go by, they will be terrific too!

CAULIFLOWERS (all the year round) don’t look so good, though – they were sown at the same time, but compared to the cabbage, they are really not doing much. I’m also a bit worried about the STRAWBERRY plants from Reg-next-plot that I put in at the weekend – I do hope that with the extensive watering that I gave them yesterday that will pick up. The RED & SPRING CABBAGES from novice-neighbour-Jody look at lot better for it, after all.

I gave everything a good old feed yesterday too – & wouldn’t it be nice if my reward for that was a few flowers – and of course fruit – on the otherwise robust courgette & butternut squash plants…?


  1. I know how you feel its bean-tastic at the mo, Ive just 'bean' down to the plot and picked a whole heap of them which will be much to the delight of the people i work with as Ive run out of storage. Your cabbages are looking great, better than mine anyway. The spring and red cabbage are looking good although i suspect slugs or butterflies as I have holes in the leaves. Reg tells me to use slug bait from the allotment store.
    Im not around on Saturday will probably be down on sunday instead.

  2. Sounds like it might be slugs - butterflies are not going to get into Fort Brassica, I don't think!

    Reg not exactly known for his 'green tendencies'...can you compromise with wildlife-friendly slug pellets? If there are any frogs/toads/hedgehogs around, it would be a shame to kill them off!

  3. Id love to but I need advice. Can you tell me more? where i get them from etc. taa

  4. Wilko, I guess - will have a look.

    I'd still only use them if the slug damage looks really bad. A few holes in the outer leaves aren't going to harm if you're going to cut them off anyway.


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