All posts tagged broad beans
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 8, 2013
I enjoy the occasional fresh salad during winter, so with this in mind I decided to grow a few tasty things in the greenhouse. I’m growing autumn variety broad beans for the leaves only, autumn peas for young shoots and baby (immature) beets for leaves rather than roots. Herbs such as mint will overwinter well if kept frost-free and parsley will continue to grow happily if brought indoors during cold weather. Coriander is easily grown from seed all year round.
The plants are not going to be allowed to crop so I can afford to sow seed quite close together, packing in as many as I can. Fingers crossed for an interesting and tasty salad this winter. Have a go yourself!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on December 11, 2011
My broad beans are flowering and beginning to form small bean pods lower down on the plants. I spent a few minutes yesterday pinching out the tops. Pinching out broad bean tops helps to avoid an infestation of black bean aphid, it also encourages the plants to direct their energy into forming nice big pods of beans rather than putting on more top growth. It’s easy to do, just pinch the very tops off with your thumb and forefinger once the lower pods are approx 3in long. If you see clusters of black dot like creatures, often with a sticky substance covering them, this is black bean aphid. Pinch the tops off as normal to try to bring the problem under control.
If you’re a wildlife nerd like me, you might be interested in another way of knowing if your broad beans have black bean aphid infestation - keep an eye out for black ants on the plants. When feeding, black bean aphid secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew. Ants ’farm’ the aphids, milking the honeydew produced by the aphids as well as moving them to the fresh new growth. Apparently the sweetest honeydew is produced by aphids eating the youngest, freshest leaves – that’s probably why broad bean tops tend to get infested so easily.
Once you have pinched off your broad bean tops don’t throw them on the compost heap, try eating them instead. They can be cooked like spinach or add to a stir fry – just make sure they’re not infested with black bean aphid first!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 27, 2011
Following on from my previous post, it got me thinking. Do you have an unlucky crop? You know, one veg/fruit that you just always seem to struggle with or have bad luck growing.
I do. Broad beans.
I hadn’t really thought about it before, about how much hassle they seem to be, for me I mean. But the weird thing is, I don’t even like them that much but I do enjoy the challenge of growing them (well it is for me anyway) and everything seems to come right in the end and I end up harvesting a decent yield!
Freak weather rotting off the seed in the ground, plants being earthed up by next doors cat while it does a toilet in my veg bed (nice), mice eating the seed (I think) oh and not forgetting a couple of years ago I caught muntjac deer helping themselves to the pods. Just a few examples of my misfortunes. Do you have an unlucky crop?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on March 2, 2011
There has been much drama in the legumes department. Last autumn I popped a few rows of hardy Aquadulce Claudia outdoors in an attempt to get a slightly earlier crop – I lost the lot. The snow, extreme cold and prolonged cold/wet soil from December onwards took care of that idea for me and just to stick the boot in even harder, claimed my hardy Meteor peas too. Bah! I’m such a fool! I should have covered the rows with cloches rather than relying completely on the word ‘hardy’. I guess the seeds weren’t hardy enough to cope with a foot of snow and then ice on top of the soil for weeks on end, they rotted away. Poor things. It’s OK though, I’m getting over it.
Good job really that I’m not a massive fan of broad beans, I’m also not able to control the weather either (now wouldn’t that be nice!?) so, I have decided to sow broad beans directly into the garden around March time in future – I would rather wait a few weeks longer to pick broad beans if need be to avoid all this hoo haar. Failing that, if I do decide to give autumn sowing another try I will remember to use some common sense ( I do have some, although it’s fleeting) and cover with cloches. I think I prefer waiting till March idea best - they usually catch up anyway.
I did sow more broad beans indoors in January, the plants are healthy at the moment but rather leggy which I find does happen to broad beans started off in small pots. The plants have been hardening off outside and are ready to go in the veg garden, but because they are so leggy they are too tall for my tunnel cloches so I will pop some fleece over them at night for a while, keeping my fingers tightly crossed for them. All is not lost, there is still time to sow broad beans outside and that is what I shall do whilst mumbling a little prayer for my leggy broad bean plants.
One of these years I will crack the art of growing them without any false starts. I will! I will!
EDIT: I’ve had a late thought. Perhaps mice got to them? We certainly have a lot of field mice here. All I found in the soil were soggy broad bean skins here and there and no sign of the peas!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on March 1, 2011
The beginning of the month was a bit hairy with gale force winds battering most of the UK for almost a week, the chickens were not impressed and retreated to the safety of the coops, only leaving to eat. Despite this daily egg laying has increased this month to 4 out of 6 hens laying – plenty of eggs for our needs. Red mite in the chicken coop could be a potential problem anytime from now as the temperature begins to rise, I highly recommend dusting the inside of your coop with Diatom powder as a precaution, used regularly you shouldn’t have a problem.
I have been sowing seeds this month, tomatoes, broad beans and hardy outdoor cucumber along with an early sowing of radish outdoors undercover. Lupin and foxglove are doing well, some of the lupin seedlings already have their first set of true leaves. The last parsnips have been lifted this month and the rhubarb patch is looking great, in just a matter of weeks I will probably be harvesting the first sticks of Timperley Early. Garlic is looking good too despite being under a blanket of snow for weeks, plenty of healthy green top growth. I planted garlic cloves in October and December and the December bulbs are almost catching up. I planted Jerusalem artichokes outside yesterday near the patch of rhubarb, I’m hoping the height of the plants will cast some shade during the warmer months which I’m sure the rhubarb will appreciate as it tends to sulk during prolonged hot weather and requires a lot of watering.
Daffodils, ornamental allium and chives are pushing their blade-like leaves through the soil, fresh leaf growth is appearing on the blackcurrant bush and blackberry canes and the pear tree will be in blossom very soon. Ladybirds are starting to come out of hibernation now and wild birds are looking for suitable nesting sites….the eaves of our house seems to be popular again! What have you been doing this month?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 25, 2011
It sure is cold and miserable out there but I have still managed to get a bit of gardening done. The last of the Leeks have been pulled (some were suffering from rust so were forgiven for looking a bit scruffy) and the plots given a good digging over and general tidy up with organic home compost forked in. I weighed down my collection of empty compost bags on top of the plots to help warm the soil for spring sowing, this should suppress the weeds for a while too. The sunflowers that were left for the birds to strip were mouldy and water-logged, no more seeds remained on the heads so these got the chop, bit of weeding and digging were needed to get the ground ready for spring. I just adore sunflowers and itching to get growing them again.
Already there are signs of life from the rhubarb patch, fat buds of Timperley Early are pushing through the soil just to tease me, I would love to force it but it needs at least another years growth with light harvest in order to make it a stronger plant. I shall resist the temptation. On the subject of forcing I have been hunting around lately for a terracotta forcing pot, they look so stylish nestled amongst the fat green rhubarb leaves don’t you think?
Seed potatoes are readily available now, just lay them out in a tray or egg boxes to chit with eyes uppermost in a cool frost-free place and by March /April they will be ready for planting out. I will probably get some Charlotte salad potatoes but I need to make my mind up on a main crop variety. I cut the autumn raspberry canes down and collected up what felt like a ton of leaves from the lawn for the compost bins and potted up autumn sowing broad beans – the bad weather claimed my outdoor sowing in December. With the constant wet weather I fear my new seeds will rot off in the ground, I don’t want to risk another disaster so germination in pots it shall have to be.
Daffodils are just starting to appear, lighter nights and a change in birdsong have me feeling all excited for the coming gardening year.
What have you been doing in your January garden?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on January 21, 2011
Just a quickie update on the vegetable garden, sowing, seedlings and digging. We are still sowing like the clappers, all the seeds are germinating well so far, still waiting on the courgettes to make an appearance but so far so good.
Tomatoes and chillies have been sown and the tomatoes have already started to sprout. Runner beans will be started off in small pots this weekend, I don’t want to get caught out with a late frost or risk having the seed beans munched in the soil like last year.
The sprouts and cauliflower seedlings are doing very well outside in the mini greenhouse, some of the seedlings have their first set of true leaves. I have started off a second sowing of broad beans, the other plants are outside and doing well, even in the frost. We did lose some of the taller plants, but, I think that was my fault for allowing them to go too stringy before planting them out. We had to start the broad beans indoors because none of the vegetable beds were ready for planting.
The sweet corn seedlings are really doing well on the sunny windowsill, they will be planted out as soon as the risk of frost is over. The onion sets are coming along great as well as the garlic. No major dramas so far.
The vegetable garden is coming along slowly but we are getting there. We are still having a hell of a battle with nettles on the second half of the plot. Our very friendly neighbour asked us why we don’t just spray the blighter’s and be done with it, I politely answered that we want to be as organic as we can, otherwise what is the point? We may as well not bother trying to grow our own if we are going to pump the soil full with nasty stuff. He probably thinks we are barmy of course and cannot see the point in us out there, every spare hour we can grab, digging like crazy people possessed.
Anyhoo, we now have 5 lovely vegetable beds all fed with lovely well-rotted manure and organic compost, ready to nurture our seedlings and sowings. Oh, that reminds me, must get the carrots, beets, peas and parsnips in soon!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 3, 2009
A quick update on how the vegetable garden is progressing and what we are now sowing and growing. We had gravel boards delivered on Sunday with every intention of getting some frames built, but due to terrible weather conditions this was not possible to finish. We did get some more digging and weeding done, as well as digging in tons of organic matter to feed the soil.
The broad beans we potted up are germinating nicely on the window sill and are ready to plant out. Our garlic is going great guns, fingers crossed tightly that the very frosty weather recently has helped the cloves to split, seeing as we potted them up late. We are now sowing Brussels sprouts, sweet corn and cauliflower. Once the beds are completed the potatoes will be planted out as well as 2 varieties of onion sets.
The photo is a runner bean germinating from last year. We will be starting our runners off in pots this year, rather than sowing directly into the ground due to a terrible time with the seed beans being eaten below soil level. This meant we had to do a very late sowing of runners in pots and hope for the best. Due to a warm snap at the end of summer we were lucky to get a couple of harvests, but this year we hope to harvest a lot more.
We’re not lucky enough to have a glass greenhouse so windowsill space is getting tight. We purchased a mini greenhouse, yeah we know they are a bit flimsy but it helps out with sowing space!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on March 9, 2009
This weekend was spent tackling the over grown plot which will eventually become our vegetable garden. Although it rained quite a bit today, all in all the weather was kind to us and we managed to get quite a lot done.
The first task was to cut back the giant mass of tangled brambles to ground level. My dad kindly lent us a set of sharp loppers which made short work of the thick gnarly bramble stems. The rose gloves that we purchased last weekend proved to be an excellent choice of hand protection. After clearing the bramble foliage away, Rich began the tough job of digging out the root clumps. By leaving at least a foot of stem visible whilst cutting the brambles, it made it easier to see where we needed to dig to remove roots.
It is much easier to visualise and plan the vegetable beds now that we can actually see the ground. I potted up broad beans this afternoon, feeling confident that they will be planted out in our vegetable garden very soon. Oh that feels good!
A couple of robins took a lot of interest in our hard work, keeping close by and diving on worms that came to the surface of the soil. I’m relieved that no wildlife was disturbed by our work this weekend, all in all a productive and positive weekend.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 15, 2009