Getting experimental with broad beans

There are strange goings on in the KG greenhouse and polytunnel this week

Way back last autumn I decided to sow some broad beans in the KG polytunnel. This is a great way to use otherwise empty space over winter and should provide an early crop this spring.

I must be honest and say I stole the idea from fellow KG plotter Tony, who does this every year with great results. Once the beans are over it is time to remove them (leaving the nitrogen-rich roots in the ground) and to plant summer crops such as tomatoes and peppers.

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This is a variety I’d not grown before from called ‘Aguadulce Supersimonia’ and the plants established well after being sown in Rootrainers in September and planted out in the polytunnel border. This is a variety that will reach 90cm (3ft) or more outside but was taller in the shelter of the tunnel so I decided to try an experiment and pinch out a few of the plants to see what would happen. The result is that the pinched plants are much bushier, producing three good branches all laden with flowers and they require little staking. The unpinched plants are much taller as you’d expect and required much longer stakes and are more top heavy and I reckon I have a few more flowers on the pinched plants than the unpinched ones. Setting on the pinched plants has only been delayed by a week or two, so this is something I’ll be doing to the whole crop next winter.

Now I’m looking forward to some tasty beans in a about three weeks’ time.

In the greenhouse I have two large agapanthus overwintering. They are Agapanthus africanus, a lovely large species which is not completely hardy, hence the protection overwinter. It usually flowers in July in my garden, but to my surprise has put up a (small) flower now, bringing some welcome colour to the greenhouse in spring.

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About the Author

Steve Ott
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