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Growing dwarf French beans
A few months back I mentioned that I was sowing some dwarf French beans, for an early crop in spring. I adore these juicy, tender beans and would much rather tuck in to a home-grown crop, than imported varieties shipped all the way from Egypt or Kenya.
I sowed the delicious variety ‘Purple Tee-Pee’ 15cm apart in large, 60cm pots, filled with recycled compost from earlier sowings and the dregs of various bags that were lying around. The pot was situated on the path of my greenhouse, and the compost kept moist. Our resident mouse massacred a couple of the seedlings and the aphids inevitably moved in to attack, so I blitzed them with soft soap solution. The plants looked rather miserable for a while, their leaves still curling from the toxin injected by the feeding aphids.
It seemed that my efforts at an early sowing of beans were doomed, but eventually the plants sprang into life. They were admittedly rather lax, after their ‘soft life’ in the greenhouse, but that didn’t adversely affect the quality of the beans. I’m happy to report that we recently enjoyed our first batch, and the flavour was wonderful. We’ll be having more for supper tonight. The yield isn’t huge, but enough for us to enjoy.
Also, it seems that all the running in and out with bell cloches for my courgette plants has paid off. Planted before my recent trip to the Canaries and Madeira, the plants are now covered with flowers, and this morning I spotted the first tiny courgettes forming. I can’t wait for the harvest.
I’ll plant out three more courgette plants this weekend, along with a whole host of other veg plants. And in just a few months time I’ll be using the bell cloches and horticultural fleece to extend the cropping period at the end of the growing season!
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