Tag Archives: veg

beans two ways

They say that in Britain runner beans were grown as garden flowers for nearly a century before they realised that you could eat them too. I’m pushed for space in this little garden, the veges are grown in containers out the back, and the front garden is for flowers only. The scarlet runners can certainly do both jobs, I only wish I had found longer and stronger canes to grow them up as they are over the top already. Come to think of it, this should be a good way to grow rock melons or gherkins. That can be next year’s project, if there is room between the flowers.

If you think this is a new idea; here is an extract from a gardening book written in 1874:

Between these old Apple-trees and the young standards there was room, which I am making ornamental with cones of Scarlet Runners. We have some five circles on each side of the walk and shall train up the bean tendrils by strings fastened to a centre pole, so that in summer we shall have a succession of tents of scarlet and green. I tried this method of training Scarlet Runners on a smaller scale last year. The effect was excellent.

from “A Year in a Lancashire Garden” by H. A. Bright, eBook downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Growing veg through winter

We are keeping up a regular supply of garden veg by sowing a few seeds of cabbage and spinach in small pots. I’m hoping for 10 or 12 spinach plants and 3 or 4 cabbages, so I’ve sown 16 spinach seeds in one pot and 9 cabbage seeds in the other, I know, I counted them! When they have germinated and produced their first pair of true leaves the strongest will be transplanted into the veg garden, with some slug bait so they don’t disappear overnight. The spinach is called ‘Upright’ and is from Kings Seeds, but any sort not for summer growing will do; the cabbage is actually Chinese cabbage, the sort that makes a dense barrel-shaped head, and this one is ‘Napa Blues’ from Egmont Seeds. If you don’t already buy your seeds from a mail order company you might give it a go; they offer many more varieties than shops and lower prices too, the downside being that you get carried away in the catalogue and buy more seeds than you mean to – if that is a downside.