Feed those climbing beans

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender May 23, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment No Comments

Well it is not so much of a feed as such, it is rather a pre-sowing undermulch, if there is such a thing. Today just manged to spend a few hours on the plot and dig small trenches for my climbing beans. Many gardeners sow the beans inside like everything else but lack of space and time could be an issue for many of us and beans do well even if you sow them direct. I like to build a strong bean pole system which can stand the weather easily for a few years, only some weaker canes need replacing and retying. As the soil can get tired if you grow the same crops on the same spot it is advised to put an underlayer of mulch before you sow the beans. I dug a small trench and filled it with wood chipping (luckily it is readily available at our site, a local landscaping company just dumps the stuff there, very useful), then water well and cover it with a thick layer of soil. You can use newspaper and fresh grasscuttings too or just steal a bit of your half ready compost. As the mulch breaks down underneat it will provide heat and nutrients to the plants, very clever isn’t it.

My favourite climbing bean to grow is borlotto beans, they are very versatile. You can pick the pods when very young and eat them as runners, or leave the seeds to develop in the pods and use them as broad beans or you can leave the pods to dry out completely and then you can pop the seeds out easily and store them for a long time (just used my last lot actually 2 days ago).  Brilliant! I also grow Enorma runner bean, so far it is my favourite as does not get stringy at all and the pods grow really long. And normally I sow a few climbing french bean seeds too, for the colour I sow the purple variety Cosse Violette.

I sow the seeds direct outside in the last week of May or the first week of June. As the soil is warm by then the seeds will germinate quicker and will grow up the poles straight away without transplanting. Always successful, easy and if you mulch around them they really don’t need any care except of watering. And the beans are a great source of protein, which makes them an important part of your diet especially if you are a vegetarian. Happy pre-sowing under mulching everyone!

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