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...........

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Report - Plot A (Legumes followed by brassicas)

A wigwam of BARLOTTI BEANS was just about the prettiest crop – not enormously prolific, but each plant yielded fat red streaked pods which contain cream & red speckled beans. A slight gripe would be that there aren’t that many beans, given the ground taken up. Neighbour Ted, however, grow & ate Barlotti beans fresh as an alternative to runner beans – Mrs Neighbour Ted said they were delicious

A bean I would not grow again, I’m afraid, is the DWARF RUNNER BEAN (pickwick). Although the plants really were quite prolific for their size, & there was nothing dwarf about the beans themselves, which meant that they tended to trail on the ground & tended to be nibbled at the ends. Why would you not grow a normal climbing bean?

The BROAD BEANS (aguadulce) were an absolute hit – of course it does help that they were early cropping & were the first real veg from the plot, but even taking this into account, they were so versatile – picking from 4” pods & eating whole to mature pods boiling & peeling the beans. They cropped for over a month at a time when there’s not much else going on! I’m thinking of pot sowing them over Christmas & planting out at the beginning of Feb this time to try & get an even earlier crop. There was very little in the way of blackfly damage – it was either a blackfly-free year in general, or the trick of sowing early to avoid them worked!

In contrast, I really was not sold at all on the FRENCH BEANS (sungold) – the pods are a weedy yellowy colour & just look unappetising. They didn’t flourish either, so I won’t be looking to sow these again.

The BLACK TURTLE BEANS were fabulous, though – virtually a whole jar of black beans for eating over the winter. I’d be happy to do twice as many – & would hope that if I sowed them earlier, I could get them cropped & find it easier to squeeze the brassicas in afterwards.

Of course the RUNNER BEANS (reg-next-plot) & the CLIMBING FRENCH BEANS (blue lake) have both been super – although a runner bean overload in the summer means that perhaps we’ll cut back on these & concentrate more on the PEAS (early onward) which were fabulous, & we could have done twice as many.

Running the brassicas in with the legumes really could have been better organised – I had to squeeze in pot grown CAULIFLOWER (all the year round), CABBAGE (primo II) & KALE (from Alice) in under netting where I could, & I’ve had no room for the BRUSSELS SPROUTS (Bedford filbasket) still in pots at home.

The SWEDES (best of all) are shaping up impressively – & taste wonderful, but not all of the TURNIPS been up to scratch. Some have been woody or had slug damage.

So for next year? Possibly wigwams for the climbing beans, definitely more bean varities for podding, more peas, & with better planting, I’d hope that I can group the brassicas for netting more easily.

Here ends the bean report!

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