Thursday, 28 April 2016

Absence makes the beans grow faster

April is a strange time of year in the UK: the end of April and the beginning or May particularly so. Those of us who grow vegetables started sowing seeds at least a couple of months ago into trays and pots in the greenhouse or indoors. By now, many of the seedlings are growing well and the temptation is to plant them out. Some of the smaller plants can be protected to a certain degree with cloches or fleece but that is a bit more difficult with runner beans.

A week ago, my runner beans were about 6-8 inches tall. Time to think about hardening them off and planting them out I thought. The only problem was that I was away working at a conference in Derbyshire for a few days and I didn't want to leave them outside in case of frost. When I came back the beans had gone berserk and tripled in height! They had started winding themselves around each other but I managed to disentangle them and wrap each one around twigs that I had pruned off our rampant Garrya elliptica.

I put the trays out yesterday but nearly forgot to bring them back in when evening fell. Just as well as I did remember because we had rain followed by a rapid drop in temperature and a heavy frost. The brassicas, swiss chard and alliums were fine although some of the brassicas did have a nice crusty ice/frost coating this morning. I doubt the beans would have fared well.

The forecast for the coming week is unsettled for us here in Caversham. It looks like a repeat of last year; everything will be planted out late yet again.  

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