Friday, 21 September 2007

bean feast??????

The biggest disappointment of our organic gardening year has been our bean bed.
Beans and peas are important in the organic cycle because their roots put nitrogen into the soil. The stems of the plants are often chopped off to leave the root nodules in the soil to maximise their nitrogen benefit.
Early season peas were superb. But....
Usually, we have one quarter of the summer and early autumn allotment full of dwarf beans for drying or picking as green beans and climbing & runner beans. We also have mighty sweetcorn yielding big cobs.
The terrible, wet weather and accompanying slug damage of the early summer put paid to that!!!!!
Pictured is the entire yield from our beans in 2007. They are the seeds of horsehead, which are great for drying and tasty in chilli and refried beans.
No climbing beans grew and borlotti and brown dutch beans also perished. The climbing beans planted in the 'three sisters' bed (maize, pumpkin and climbing beans) also failed to thrive.
Those who got their beans in early have enjoyed a good year. The plants got going and developed stems tough enough to deny slugs and snails. Those of us who were slower out of the blocks planted, replanted, planted again and again - only to see torrential rain and our slimy enemies united to defeat us.
These horsehead seeds can't even be eaten. They can't be obtained from seed catalogues and so the precious few salvaged will be used to produce plants next year.
The heavy rain of summer will have depleted soil nutrients. The empty beds won't have had foliage to dissipate the rain or roots to retain soil structure.
The poor bean harvest is only one consequence of a disastrous year.

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