Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
- French beans 'Cobra' and 'Blue Lake'
- Runner bean 'Scarlet Emperor'
- Borlotto 'Lingua di Fuoco' and a four-year old packet of a mystery borlotto
- Dwarf French bean 'Tendergreen'
- Kidney bean 'Yin Yang' - absolutely beautiful black and white beans!
not to mention the other things I'm growing, the usual tomatoes and lettuces etc.
The garden is going to be full this year, but I have cut back on variety if not on numbers of plants, sticking to things that are better home grown - e.g. tomatoes - are easy to grow - e.g. lettuces, chillis - and things that we just love too much to not grow - beans and squashes, for example.
Even so, why have I grown so many beans, you may well ask. Well, I think there was an element of insanity in buying endless packets of beans, but it's also because they store well (dried, frozen or bottled, like Madame Georgette, our French neighbour, does), are a good source of protein in the vegetarian diet, and because they're very ornamental plants that I hope to have climbing up every available vertical space in the garden. Also they're a piece of cake to grow - I remember growing them on a piece of damp tissue paper at school when I was 8 - and they taste GOOD. I expect that by the end of the summer we'll all be sick of beans, but hopefully we'll take the time to store them, meaning that we won't feel compelled to buy Kenyan imports in the winter in order to get something, anything, green and tender.
Anyway, I'm also trying out the Asparagus Pea this year. It grows sort of ridged pods that apparently taste like Asparagus. My Grandad used to grow it, and looking through his old gardening books and allotment folders etc, we seem to have been quite similar in taste when it comes to veg varieties. So this year I am following in his footsteps and planting this strange, short, bushy green vegetable.
As far as the rest of the garden is concerned, it's well and truly springtime now! We have blackbirds nesting in the clematis, the girls are laying so many eggs we don't know what to do with them, and my currant bushes have plenty of flowers this year ^^. Also the blackthorns in the hedgerows seem to be doing well this season, which should mean plenty of sloe gin in the autumn...
As for the bees, I haven't seen them yet this year! Dad has been to check on them and feed them to get them going, but as yet we haven't carried out a full inspection. We are very unfortunate to have only one hive left now, due to the fact that every hive had litterally pounds of stores but somehow couldn't eat it (easily solved, I hope, by feeding more liquid syrup later in the autumn this year). However in some ways this is lucky, as it allows us to build up again (always exciting) and we know that these bees can stick it when others just can't (and they're our best honey producers too). Fingers crossed for lots of lovely strong swarms this May however!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The programme had some interesting bits - the tour of Permaculture Magazine's Tim & Maddy Harland's permaculture garden for example - and I like the fact that Alys is intent on growing in a polyculture, even creating a forest garden on Gardeners' World. However I found the programme as a whole too cutesy and fashionable to be interesting.
If you're new to the world of gardening, permaculture and growing in polycultures this may be the programme for you, but there is more inspiring viewing and reading out there - just look at last year's BBC Farm For A Future - an indepth exploration of climate change, food resilience and alternative growing methods. The Edible Garden seems to only skim the surface, if that, of these issues, with Alys seeming more worried about the "prettiness" of her garden than its edibleness - of course there is a balance to be struck, but it annoyed me that she was spouting about the colour of her French Beans rather than the flavour, for example. And she told some downright lies about chickens!
In all, I think it's great that a trendy young TV gardener is bringing self-sufficiency, permaculture and polyculture to the attention of a wider audience, but hopefully this is just the beginning.