Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should have done weeks ago!

What a glorious weekend to be out on the allotment!  Sunshine and high temperatures meant we couldn’t wait to get up to the plot and get to work.

With a car full of plants, plenty of cold drinks and the sun lotion, we got on our way.  My mission was to plant out the courgettes and the remainder of the brassica plants.  David was in charge of the runner beans, which were more than ready to go in the ground.


Why did I leave it so long?

The ‘first’ bed in our allotment has always been troublesome.  It was the first we prepared before we mastered the technique, and if left, quickly becomes a tangle of weeds.  Instead of dealing with it and planting it a couple of weeks ago, I put it off.  Big mistake!  The couch grass had gone mad and instead of a 5 minute job, it was again a major exercise.  The lack of rain meant the ground was too hard to tackle with a trowel, and the fork had to be employed.  As this bed is destined for brassicas, I didn’t want to dig it over, but this was the only solution.  Note to self: don’t put it off next time!

Bean Canes

Upside down bean frames

While I was a-weeding and a-planting, David was hard at work on the runner bean canes. Our bean canes get a few strange looks, but the ‘upsidedown’ design means they are considerably easier to pick.  Alongside and keeping them company will be the Cosse Violette – climbing French beans which are truly wonderful.  I only wish they kept their deep purple colour after cooking, instead of reverting to plain old green.

The lack of rain is starting to be a worry.  Our 1000ltr tank is now only 1/3 full.  That’s the lowest it’s been in 3 years and if it doesn’t rain soon, we’ll have a problem.  Because our allotment is a very long way from the tap, we’ll have to beg or borrow 4, if not 5 hoses to reach the tank.  And that would depend on enough allotment neighbours all being onsite at the same time.   All in all, that’s as unpredictable as the vagaries of the British weather!

Another cause for concern is our swede seedlings.  There are a lot of gaps in the rows and those plant which have germinated or survived, appear to have been nibbled by a critter or critters unknown.  Although it’s a bit late, we’ll have to try another planting to see if we can bridge the gaps to provide us with a decent crop.

Bunyard Exhibition Broad Beans

Broad Beans Galore!

On the plus side, our broad beans are doing wonderfully well!  Even the sickly ones, which had been left too long, have recovered and rewarded us with an abundance of flowers.  I am somewhat alarmed at the quantity and think perhaps next year, we must remember we don’t really need 250 broad bean plants!

Finally … what I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for … an update on the Good Life carrots.  Nothing!  6 rows of carrots, 4 Good Life style and 2 conventionally planted have yielded not a single sign of life.  Am I despondent?  Well yes … quite gutted actually!


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6 Responses to “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should have done weeks ago!”

  1. Max Akroyd Says:

    Everyone should have 250 broad bean plants! Were they sown in February? They’re quite as big as our November-sown Aquadulces.

    Love the upside down bean frame and am going to prove, yet again, that imitation is the highest form of flattery!

  2. Joy McCarthy Says:

    Hi Max

    The broad beans were sown in asst pots and modules in March. We tried Aquadulces 2 years ago, but Chipping Norton is a cold spot,and they didn’t survive the winter. In fact, not one germinated!

    Last year we did 3 sowings of broad beans, but the last lot were much too late and we only had a handful from them. So we’ve decided to plant loads in spring, all in one go, and have a major freezing session. As soon as they are out, the plan is to fill the space with some late peas to make the most of the ground.

    The bean frames do work well. I was a bit anti the first year – I wanted a long row of traditional shaped bean poles. We compromised and tried 3 different constructions. I had to eat humble pie – David’s upside down ones were so much easier to pick. The beans hang down and you don’t get the tangle at the top. The downside is they need more support than the average bean pole and you do get some very strange looks!

  3. Max Akroyd Says:

    I’m used to them Joy!

  4. 2010 – not the best year! « The Oxfordshire Copywriters' Allotment Says:

    […] Flame’ runner beans are prolific and we’re swamping the neighbourhood with their harvest.  The upside down pole construction makes them so much easier to pick.  Rather than having to conduct a bean body search through a […]

  5. Bean pole challenge (40 days to go…) « Rural Idiocy? Says:

    […] Brought to you with the help of Ben Short, frequent commenter on this blog – who has been staying in the gite with his lovely family this week – I humbly present our interpretation of the patented McCarthy™ Bean Structure: […]

  6. Sad sweet corn and a beetroot crisis « The Oxfordshire Copywriters' Allotment Says:

    […] might remember our upside down bean poles from last year.  They still provoke comment from the more ‘seasoned’ allotmenteers, who think […]

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