Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bean poles !

Welcome back to our Allotment Retreat, where we are please to inform you that we're fighting back. The weeds have run riot over the plot during my ongoing illness, but thanks to a little help, we are getting to grips with the jobs. Thanks must go to all who have helped out, most notably Neil & Stuart. It took a good ten days from start to finish to get the bed ready, but will hopefully be worth it in the end! So , how did we get here, and what did we do ? Read on!

Having first cleared the bed of weeds, and digging the soil over several times (removing amongst other things 8 x 1' sections of cast iron gutter, and copious quantities of glass) , we set about digging 2 trenches, each about 8' long and 1' wide, and about 18" deep. We then lined the base of each trench with about 6" of corrugated cardboard which had been torn into small pieces. This will soak up and store the moisture for the roots of the climbing beans. We then backfilled to give a good depth of soil in which the plants can grow.

Next off, we pushed 6 x 3' lengths of plastic tube deep into the soil. We will use this to get water direct to the cardboard reservoir area in the base of each trench, simply by watering direct into the tubes. We're hoping that this "reservoir" of water will get the roots going to provide strong plants.

And then we put the canes in! I prefer to put the canes in vertically and then bend them slightly to meet at the top. This seems to give extra strength to the structure - needed because our site is wide open to the elements. Finally we added a good layer of gen purpose compost to each trench top, to use as our planting medium. With 10 canes vertically on each side, we had plenty of space to get planting. We put Runner Beans (v. Scarlet Emperor) all down 1 side, with 2 seeds about an inch deep for each cane. On the other side, we have a bit of a mixture: 2 canes have Borlotti bean seeds, 4 canes have Climbing Purple French beans(v. a cosse violet), and 4 canes have Climbing French Beans (v.Blue Lake). This will hopefully crop the approx amount of each variant that we want.

We'll also start plants off at home, to fill any natural gaps.

Adjacent to the end of this bed, work is underway to clear enough space to put a wigwam of Vermont Cranberry Beans that were donated via Dan - cheers!

As i detailed on the 17th April, we decided to donate our greenhouse to someone who would get more use out of it. The lucky recipient of the "jigsaw" was Ralph, who in exchange was only too happy to rotovate our 3rd plot. Seems like a good exchange to me and we did the deal. Already Ralph has done half the plot, which made it very easy to plant our last 3 rows of spuds. These are our second earlies (v. Nadine) and hopefully they'll have enough time in the ground to give us a good, albeit slightly late, crop of tasty spuds.

So as you can see, many hands do make light work. Its still daunting looking around the plot - weeds everywhere, but a little and often is once again reaping rewards. The first early spuds are starting to show, the apple tree blossom is opening up, and there's a buzz of excitement around the site as summer approaches. Let's hope we all manage a good cropping year. I hope you've enjoyed our update, and hope you'll pop back soon for more from the plot.

Take care all and enjoy your gardening.



Jo said...

Glad to see that things are still moving. You should get a great bean crop, you've put plenty of effort into getting the conditions just right.

Tanya. said...

All sounds good...I don't do anything this fancy with my beans...just plant them in the ground and let nature take its course...has always worked for me so I'm not going to tempt fate with anything else.

Not much going on in my neck of the woods and still plenty of digging to be done.. :-(

Damo said...

Hi you've got a lot done, I'm also growing scarlet emporer and blue lake, best of luck.

Dan said...

Lots happening at the plot! I planted out your peas the other day, I have a post up about it a few posts down. Also started the beans you send last night in pots.

Gary and Jen, and Ruby and Peter said...

Hi Tanya,
Thanks for your comments - and sorry to hear about the shed.
As we live a good 10 mins drive from the plot, we thought the reservoir of moisture would be a good idea for the beans as we often dont get to the plot every day.Last year we had good crops, but by no means brilliant. Hoping for better this year.

Gary and Jen, and Ruby and Peter said...

Dan, where do you find the time.
We are seemingly constantly behind !

Gary and Jen, and Ruby and Peter said...

Hi Damo,
Nice blog you have.
We'll keep you posted on our progress

Gary and Jen, and Ruby and Peter said...

Hi Jo,
We're putting some extra effort in, lets hope it pays off !