Thursday, 13 February 2014

The broad beans are out

After a rough couple of days weather wise today I have took the plunge and planted out the two broad bean plants that were sown indoors back at the beginning of January.

Yesterday the severe winds claimed three of the emerging rhubarb shoots. A few weeks back I decided not to force my rhubarb, now in hindsight this probably would have protected them from the gale. Even the normally weather proof ducks have been sheltering in their coop.

Not one to be defeated I took to the veg patch this afternoon, unusually with the sun shining, a glimpse of what's to come maybe. I have had the soil covered with a sheet of black polythene for the past couple of weeks both to warm it up and dry it out and it seems to have worked a treat. This is the first time I have had a chance to properly examine the soil and I was pleasantly surprised. It already has good structure, appears to be free draining and was almost completely weed free. This made the whole job of digging over and breaking it up much easier and actually quite enjoyable. I had planned to leave the broad beans inside until the weekend but encouraged from my digging efforts I brought them out and sited them towards the back of the veg patch, in what will be all day sunshine. As they will grow quite tall they wont shadow anything else and may even act as a bit of a windbreak once they put on a bit of growth. A handful of manure in the bottom of each hole before planting should make sure of this.

Interestingly these were grown in used toilet roll tubes. Where they have had a few weeks worth of watering the cardboard has been damp and the roots have begun to push through the tubes whilst still holding their shape and the soil inside. Using these is a first for me and I can now say it has been a complete success. The tubes were easily handled and were planted along with the beans. These will rot into the soil and I would expect to find no trace when the plants are eventually pulled up later on in the year.

So it may be a bit of a risk putting them in the patch before the bad weather has completely passed but today means a lot. It signifies the beginning of the growing year for me. The first plants into a vegetable patch that I have been planning for months, the first of my hand sown seeds to make it outside and one of the first things I am going to harvest in a couple of months time.

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