I love beans. I know it’s not cool to admit this when you’re young, (I’m sure we all remember the beans rhyme from our school days, my son is certainly well up on that particular school yard chant) but I’m now at a stage in my life where I can lift my head up high and say I LOVE BEANS. I’m growing a few varieties of beans in the allotment this year, Runner Beans, Climbing Beans, Dwarf French Bush Bean (purple podded) and of course Broad Beans. Theres something about opening up the pod of a Broad Bean and seeing all the lovely beans, cosy in their feathery beds that makes me just want to pick them all! I know the most traditional way to grow Broad Beans is to plant them directly into the ground, but I’ve decided to start mine off in doors. The reasoning behind this is that practically everything I’ve ever planted in the allotment has been eaten by slugs and snails before they’ve had a chance to really get growing. Once the plants are outside, I’ll use a barrier, such as half an empty plastic bottle to keep the slugs off. The variety I’ve chosen to grow is Broad Bean Crimson Flowered. The pods will be quite short and will sit upwards to make picking easier, and as the name states, they’ll have lovely deep crimson flowers.
As I’m starting my beans in doors I wanted to sow them in a way that would minimise root disturbance when I come to plant them outside. Toilet roll inner tubes seemed to fit the job description perfectly. They are long, so the roots can grow down as they would naturally do if planted outside, and the tube will rot down over the season so I can plant the beans, still in their tubes, so I won’t disturb the roots at all. Its win win for both me and the beans. Happy days.
Theres no time like the present so I gathered up the tubes and seeds and started planting. I’m going to have one double row of 12 plants ( 6 in each row) so I’ve planted 14 seeds to be on the safe side. If they all germinate I’m sure I’ll squeeze in the extra two plants somewhere!
The seeds have now been covered up with potting compost and watered well. I’ll leave them in the garage where its cooler for them to germinate and then move them closer to the window to get as much natural light as possible while keeping them cool. It really feels like the sowing season is well on the way now. The onions are all up (that’s over 80 in total, not including the red onions which will arrive in March…Yikes) the leeks are also growing like mad and the Cauliflowers are all growing their first set of true leaves. The next few weeks are set to be full of planning and sowing and not forgetting digging and weeding (got to have somewhere to put all these seedlings) so a busy time ahead. I had thought that at this point I might be quite apprehensive about growing so many different crops, but actually, I’m full of excitement. The thrill of growing your own veg is truly addictive, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.