Monday, 2 July 2012

Raising the pulses

Monday 2nd July
A glorious morning sky.

Exotic beans
I bought a cheap packet of beans from a pound shop which contained black-eyed (one of my favourites), haricot (baked beans), purple teepee and butter bean. I must say, I hadn't realised I'd be able to grow this range of pulses but, aside from slug browsing, they seem to be doing quite nicely.
Rows of exotic beans. A few gaps, but otherwise doing OK.

The thought struck me that I already had half a jar of black-eyed beans in the pantry. Could these be any different to what I'd just planted? So, as an experiment, I've sprouted the beans and literally thrown them into the ground.

Now to wait and see what happens. Could be a very cheap way of buying lots of seeds (though hopefully I'll be able to save my own of this particular variety anyway).

I'm also growing loads of kidney beans with seed saved from last year. These are edible as dwarf beans but, being a heritage variety (Canadian Wonder), I found the stringiness not to my taste. However, the prospect of jars full of dried beans for winter protein is a very appealing one.

Meanwhile, the Borlotti beans I sowed in the greenhouse are reaching for the skies and ready to be planted out.

Borlottis protected in the greenhouse.

Likewise, all the other beans I belatedly sowed to fill the slug gaps are bursting into the fresh air. I love growing beans - they come up so strong and before you know it you've got strong, thriving plants.

Outside, most of the early sown beans have just about made it past the slugs. There's an equation here - growth rate of the plant against rate of eating by the slugs. This is where my wet weather slug culls redress the balance in favour of the plants. A modicum of sunshine in the last few days has helped too.

However, the seeds I planted direct in mid May are nowhere to be seen. This is when the slug explosion really went berserk. My French beans Blue Lake (a tender, stringless variety) have completely vanished in the soil.
Let's hope that giving them a start in paper pots and culling the slugs will give the new plants a fighting chance.


  1. I'm a big fan of beans too John- I like most kinds. Had some fresh Borlotti today, in a soup, and they were really nice. I also have some Cherokee Trail of Tears beans on the go -they produce very good-looking pods and beans.
    Have you tried the "Yard-long beans" aka "Snake beans"?

  2. Mark, you've inspired me to try even more beans next year. Looked up those Snake Beans - they look very interesting. I think I've eaten them abroad.
    Maybe one for the polytunnel when it finally goes up.


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