Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Bean Project - 2010 and beyond

Further to last year's bean listings, I now have 96 types of bean to grow out over the next few's the listing as it stands today:

Baby Red Soup
Black Box Pinto
Black Canterbury
Black Coco
Black Croatian
Black Eyed Pea
Black Turtle
Black Valentine
Blue Lake
Bobis d'Albenga
Canadian Wonder
Cardigan [Jersey Rogue]
Cherokee Trail of Tears
Chinese Long
Coco Bianco
Corona Di Spagna
Cose Violette
Cranberry Lilac
Dapple Grey
Early Warwick
Emperor of Russia
Ernie's Big Eye
Fagiolo di Spagna
Henderson Lima
Horticultural Bird's Egg
Hutterite Soup
Ice Crystal Wax
Inca Pea Bean
Jacob's Cattle
Kew Blue
Kinghorn Wax
Lazy Housewife Brown
Lazy Housewife White
Madeira Maroon
Major Cook's Bean
Maria Zeller
Minidor Yellow
Monastic Coco
Mountaineer's Haf White Runner
Mr Fearn's Purple Flowered
Neckar Queen
Necktar Konigin
Norweigan Dry
Nun's Belly Button
Pea Bean
Red Calypso
Red Soup
Rio Zappe
Roqueen Court
Rose D'Eyragues
Royal Red
Ruth Bible
Ruud's mystery
Speckle Chucky
Sweet Australian Purple
Tar Heel
The Prince
Tiger/Tiger eye
Triomph De Farcy
Wild Pigeon
Wild Pigeon Rogue
Yin Yang

Seed Circle

Well, what a lovely surprise.

I am a member of 2 seed circles, one through the Grapevine and one through another forum [allotments for all] and this lovely packet was delivered through the door yesterday.
55 packets of lovely seeds!

When you collate the circle, you separate them all out for each member as they come in, so you get a feel for what's in the packs. but when someone else does it - it is a real surprise when the parcel arrives!

We have got several on the go this year [or should I say next year] - one for general seeds, one for tomatoes, one for peas and beans and one for goodness only knows what selection box I'll have this time next year.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Winter 2010


We've had snow for a week now.....and we're beginning to get pretty annoyed with it.

I've not posted much on here this year for a couple of reasons.

Firstly - we had a huge pile of manure delivered in Jan - and spent weeks shovelling and spreading it across the plot. Then put the potatoes in. We had late frosts so I thought that was the reason we had dodgy looking haulms growing.

Unfortunately not. It was aminopyralid.

Wild? I was livid.

Still angry [we discovered it in May, and it's now December] and we lost lots of crops. Most of the spuds [a few were left to grow just because we couldn't be bothered to do anything with them] loads of onions that had to be moved, loads of beans [not happy], pumpkins and to be honest, we just thought we'd do what we could and write off 2010 as a bad job. The bad stuff was shovelled back off the plot, raked out, and it took us a month to get it into 3 stockpiles and a farmer was paid £300 to take it away and dispose of it. We of course lost at least £300 in crops and got nothing. As per usual - Dow look after the farmers and screw the rest of them.

So, on the 21st Dec starts a new year.

The few pumpkins we had - were left at the lottie until we could use them and lo and behold - the snow got them....

So - onward and upward. We are never having manure on our plot again....even though we've been offered some horse manure - the same farmer that supplier ours also supplies most of the village with the same straw his cows I am guessing that other people will still have a problem in the coming years.....but I've done my bit telling everyone and arranging for 3 people to have theirs removed.

The other reason of course is that I started a new job - working with 5 charity SEN schools to get them building and growing in their own organic veggie gardens on school sites. So the anger above was tempered with the ability to still grow veg around the southern half of the country. So I've been busy busy busy and having a great time!

So, on the 21st starts the new season proper. We currently have onion sets, potato onions and some garlic in the ground - but I will be sowing my main onions and a large amount of garlic and shallots in modules so that I can get started.

*I'm also writing a week-by-week guide for schools to use throughout the growing season telling them what they can do, what they should be doing, what they sow/grow and harvest each week/month. I'll be looking for school gardeners to have a look at this once it is written so any volunteers - please comment here and I'll get in touch.

I've also collected a few more beans for the project - and hopefully didn't lose an actual variety after the manure problem......more photos to follow soon.

Thanks for reading....and don't forget to collect those loo roll innerds for next year's beans!!!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Visit to the seaside with Holga

We went to the seaside last year; and I took these on my Holga. I have no scanner, so I took a digital photo of the contact sheet so that I can enlarge the images. I really like the middle one best.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Achocha growing nicely; will start to take over the world soon

Baby achochas already forming....


Beetroot - all sown in a grid and ready to be transplanted [yay] - 2 different types in here, Chioggia, Sanguina and Burpee's Golden.

Lettuce - sown and most of it was up within 24 hours. Will be planted out and some taken to Ryton next week for our impromptu plant swap

First pepper flower on a HSL Sheep's Nose pepper.

Onions, Radar if I remember correctly - nearly ready after being out all winter.

Seed Saving and Seed Guardian

Carrot flower [Chantenay], just about to come out, for the Grapevine Seed Saving Circle 2010

Beetroot flower [Chioggia] just coming out for the Grapevine Seed Saving Circle 2010

Crimson Giant Radish flowers as a HSL Seed Guardian 2010

More flowers and stuff from the garden...

Just a general wander around the garden

Just some general pics of flowers.

Onions, yes they really do push themselves apart [honest]

So, for the non believers.

I grow my onions in pinches in modules, and transplant module by module into their final position.

From here on in, I leave them to it.

One picture is of the onions as they are now [this season's] and the other is last seasons, which are ready for picking soon. You can take the largest one, and leave the smaller ones to carry on growing, if you do it carefully.

Lancashire Lad Pea

Three photos of the Lancashire Lad Pea. Flower, pod and pod with peas in.

Golden Sweet Yellow Podded Mange Tout

What a lovely plant!

I'm hoping to cross these with Clarke's Beltony Blue Peas and see what occurs, but couldn't resist taking this photo yesterday - these are ones at once of the schools that I am creating organic gardens in.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Onions and other stuff [but mainly onions]

These are shallots bought in Sainsbury's - they had 'grown in Leicestershire' on the pack so I thought 'what the heck'. They were put into root trainers and allowed to grow a good root system over winter and they are looking fab right now.
These are my overwintered Rossa Di Milano onions, the seeds were given to me by Piglet Willie off of the I sowed some last year and held back about 12 onions to allow them to set seed for swapping. The onions themselves are my favourite - heart shaped and red and totally lush. So, I'm really glad that these made it through winter!

We have lots of winter sown onions, [pics already on earlier posts] ready to go in the ground. After a visit to an Amish Type community this week, I am trying to really shove the veg in and grown them much closer together this year so these are not being separated out but each module will be teased into a sort of line, and they will be grown pretty close together.

Lovely lovely Flax.

Monday, 5 April 2010


I put quite a few beans in to compost last Sunday to chit. After a couple of days in the greenhouse I brought them indoors as it was a tad chilly outside. I'm pleased to say that most of them look like this [above]. So I've put them into pots, root-trainers and toilet toll holders, as shown below.


So, I've taken a few photos in the greenhouse today. Firstly some onions. We put about 200 onions from sets out in the lottie this weekend; and were starting to worry about where to put this lot. As I'm growing so many beans this year, and we've manured so much - it doesn't leave alot of unmanured space for onions. Bear in mind we already had about 300 overwintering onions in; I'm guessing we will slot these in wherever we had a nook or indeed a cranny. P.S....there's another long tray of onions to add to this; I'd estimate about another 3-400 all in all on top of the ones already in their final position. I dread to think how many there REALLY are.

The top piccie shows the onions all sown on the same day for the 5 schools that I'm getting sorted. As you can see, it can't be my sowing technique or indeed the compost that has stopped these seeds from germinating. So, if they don't come up soon, I'm going to be writing to some seed companies asking for my money back! Wasters....

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bean Bed Preparation

As you can see from my past postings; I am growing lots of beans again this year. To be successful at growing beans you need to make the most of your space. So I use the 'Munty' frame which is taken from a chap on the Allotment Forum.

First, I've attached 4 vertical posts to the South Side of the bed. Then I dig a trench along the North Side of the bed.

Then the trench gets filled with anything organic; this year as we have so much manure - I've filled it with that.

Then the trench gets backfilled with the original soil. Our soil is clay - with 2 years now of organic being added. The Main ingredients of the organic are newspapers, cardboard, coffee grounds and sawdust [we get the last 2 free from St*rbucks and from our lottie neighbour who gets it from a sawmill for us].

Once the trench is backfilled I can continue making the frame. As I ran out of cable ties today - I'm showing a frame that I made last year for effect.

The beans are planted into the north side, in the trench. They grow up the twine, and over the canes and then carry on up the sloping twine towards the top of the south side frame.

This design means that you don't lose any space under the frame - which is often the case when you grow in wigwams or cross canes. Also, the beans all get sunlight as there is no shading. The frames aren't too tall to block out light from the bed behind - so everyone is a winner!!!

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Last day of Feb 2010

Although it is out of focus; here we have a ladybird in the greenhouse today. Good to see

I have often mentioned growing celery ascut and come again, I cut this back about 3 weeks ago and it is starting to grow back, even in the shocking weather we have been having. It looks yellower than it is [must sort out that white balance...but it is a mobile phone pic so I'm not too worried]

These are the seedlings sown since Christmas day; they are put into the greenhouse as soon as they germinate and left to their own devices

These are the ones sown in Jan - same but just a tad smaller

This is the result of my Manure versus Bog Standard Compost Onion Trial. These were all sown on 31 May 2009 and a random handful were pulled and 9 were were put into each pot. One pot was full of a mix of normal compost and well rotted manure and the other just compost. I then just left them to their own devices, they stayed outside all winter until a month ago when they were put into the unheated greenhouse. They have been grown side by side the whole way through.

It is evident that the manure ones have not grown as big or as fat as the normal compost ones. I wasn't expecting that!!! The rest of the sowing was planted out under a long cloche and the second half of that experiment will be unearthed soon.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Bean Project - Yin Yang

Yin Yang


Classic double coloured bean.

The Bean Project - Tung



The Bean Project - Triomph De Farcy

Triumph/Triomph De Farcy


Nice colouring

The Bean Project - Ruth Bible

Ruth Bible


I grew these last year, and they were very prolific - wouldn't give up producing beans!

The Bean Project - Royal Red

Royal Red


Dark red and nice shape. Will enjoy this one.

The Bean Project - Rose D'eyragues

Rose D'eyragues


Nice mottling.

The Bean Project - Red Calypso

Red Calypso


Two types sent to me, again will try to grow them to get the rogue stable.