Tag Archives: beans

Garden Update – July

July is fast coming to an end so I thought it was time for another garden update. It is not proving to be the best of summers. There has been lots (too much) of rain but thankfully temperatures are not as low as last summer, but it is not looking like we will have bumper harvests.

In the greenhouse, tomatoes and cucumbers are producing but not in big quantities so there has not been surplus for pickling. My cucumbers (and also the courgettes and squashes) have all got this strange virus – it looks like mildew, but starts as perfect circles and increases and multiplies till the whole leaf is covered. I keep taking off the affected leaves and so far the plants are surviving. One variety of cucumber (marketmore), shows no sign of the virus so I may concentrate on growing that variety next year.

In the polytunnel, the early broadbeans did well as did the Charlotte potatoes which we are about half way through. I have some beetroot to harvest and also started harvesting these purple kohlrabi. We all prefer them raw to cooked so will probably have the rest with salads. I just planted some more seed in the hope that I can get some to crop in late autumn or over winter for next spring.



Outside the first of the runner beans are appearing ( I put five plants in the poly on a wigwam and they are really not happy, and I don’t know why), and I am hoping for a better crop than last year. The dwarf beans are really suffering, probably because it is not warm enough. I did plant a couple in the greenhouse and it turns out this was a good idea because they are cropping well! Cabbages do seem to enjoy the wet and we’ve been enjoying the first (variety Greyhound), and I am hopeful that we will get a decent crop of red cabbage. Courgettes are small and slow.

We’ve had a few nice summer raspberries but the loganberries are proving very popular with the blackbirds!! We’ve picked over 2kg of blackcurrants and there are still some more. The kids are enjoying blackcurrant cordial and it’s a “bribe” to get them picking some of their own! Blackcurrants are always one of our best croppers.


Garden – June Update

Well things are busy in the garden this month but at least we are reaping some of the benefits. We’ve been enjoying broccoli from the greenhouse from over wintered plants, which are being gradually cleared out and replaced by cucumbers and tomatoes, and also a few early beans. We’ve also had a few early strawberries, and the first courgette is just coming.

In the polytunnel things are getting a bit overgrown, as the early potatoes need to start coming out. The broadbeans have cropped well and we are enjoying them for dinner. The mange tout seem to have suffered from our recent dry and sunny spell as I think they prefer cooler conditions, so leaves are looking a bit yellow but they are still producing peas.

Outside plums are forming as are some pears and apples – though I am a bit concerned that the pears are already looking a bit scabby.

In the vegetable garden things are a little slow. Cabbages though have benefited from the warm weather as there has been minimum slug damage. Beans and onions are just coming slowly. I am gradually catching up with weeding but they seem to continue to grow!!

The Day of the Bean

Thanks for Lori and Robbie for hosting The Day of the Bean, a blogger action day to celebrate International Year of the Pulses.


As a gardener I love beans; as a cook and consumer I love beans. Beans are versatile, come in a range of varieties, and you can add them to nearly any dish.

Our first bean crop every year are broad beans. Usually I forget to plant them in November and start them off in February. However, in November 2015 I actually remembered and so my beans are currently about 30cm high and begging to be planted out into the polytunnel from the pots I started them off in! Usually we can harvest in early July but this year, with my head start, (and depending on the weather) we may have some by late May!

The other beans I grow are dwarft purple beans. Usually these crop well inside and out but last year they did not respond well to our cool wet summer and so I had to rely on the greenhouse crops. They look great, though fade to dark green on cooking.

Runner beans can crop really well but again in summer 2015 they really suffered, but the previous year we had a bumper crop. Generally though you can’t fail with runner beans and this year I will make sure to have some in the tunnel or greenhouse as well as outside.

Finally, I also grow climbing french beans. Again they do better in a warm summer and so last year they did poorly outside (not helped by slugs!). I did manage to get a late crop from some later plantings  in the greenhouse.

Of course the other huge benefit of growing beans is that they fix nitrogen, and so are essential for a good crop rotation in any vegetable garden. So even if you don’t get a good crop you still get nitrogen!

And finally if you only need one reason to grow beans then think bees. Because bees love bean flowers!

Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)

Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)

July Garden

This week’s rain has confined me mostly to the greenhouse and polytunnel, both of which needed attention anyhow! Yesterday I cleared out the last of the mangetout plants (the outside ones are now cropping). We’ve been enjoying the Charlotte potatoes, broad-beans and purple kohlrabi all from the tunnel.



In the greenhouse, some of the tomato plants have set their first fruit and there are a couple of tiny cucumbers too, though the plants are still small. The purple dwarf beans have cropped quite well and the courgette plant is looking great. I need to take it out as it’s taking up too much room and I have more plants outside (looking very small and miserable) and one in the polytunnel. As it’s cropping very well I’m going to leave it as long as I can. So for now I’m removing some of the leaves.

Today, it had stopped raining so I had a chance to do some weeding in the vegetable plot. I am leaving the strawberry bed (it’s full of weeds), as the damp weather has resulted in lots of slug damage and those the slugs aren’t eating the birds are. My plan for next year is to put the strawberries in pots in the blueberry fruit cage.

Today, my son did manage to find a few nice ones. He decided he was going to eat a lunch that he himself picked. This was the result. (He did take my offer of a freshly cooked pancake too!)

My son's lunch plate

My son’s lunch plate

Yes, we have some nice black and red currants ripening. They are one of our most reliable fruits. The green bean like pods are actually the seed pods of some of my brassicas. I leave some plants to get seed for next year but the kids and I find them quite tasty too.