Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Broad Beans - again!

The Broad Beans have produced a good harvest this year. I have picked two more lots this past week:


Each batch has been between 600 and 650 grams, which provides enough beans for a generous 2-person helping.


I thought you might like to see the difference in the pods produced by the two different varieties I have grown this year - "Imperial Green Longpod" and "Witkiem Manita". The pods of the former are long and slim and normally contain about 6 or 7 beans, whereas the other has short fat pods which contain 4 or 5 beans.

Imperial Green Longpod - long and slim

Witkiem Manita - short and fat
I think the Witkiem Manita plants have been bigger and stronger, and have produced more pods, but that may possibly be because they were from new seeds, whereas the Imperial Green Longpod seed beans were ones left over from last year.

Here are the two varieties being cooked together. I don't think I need to tell you which is which!


Meanwhile, the long-suffering Dwarf French Beans "Speedy" have delivered their first few pods:


OK, so as usual it's not a lot, but they are (though I say it myself) very fine beans! I think beans like this need to be picked when still young and tender. If you leave them too long they can go stringy. I would also like to say that I have an aversion to "squeaky" beans - ones that have been undercooked, as is regrattably fashionable in some so-called posh restaurants.

The Sweet Corn is looking good too, with each plant exhibiting at least one burgeoning cob, resplendent in its luxuriant silks.


I just hope that they have been adequately pollinated. Sweet Corn is wind-pollinated, with the pollen being blown down from the flowers up at the tops of the plants onto the silks on the cobs down below. This is why I deliberately planted my corn in circles, working on the understanding that whichever way the wind was blowing at any given moment at least one other plant would be downwind. We have had so much heavy rain that I rather fear than the pollen may have been washed away instead. Only time will tell. Just a thought: lots of people hand-pollinate squashes and pumpkins. Has anyone tried hand-pollinating Sweet Corn? It might be practical with a small number of plants like my 12.

Finally for today, I want to demonstrate that the first of my Tomato fruits are (is) beginning to ripen and turn red:


Yes, it's definitely not green any more!

16 comments:

  1. Hi Mark, I am constantly amazed by our beautiful world: while you have a fantastic garden and harvest, my garden is all wilted and exhausted from the heat... The broad beans look very good, I'd like to have some of that... :) When I lived in Europe, we ate a lot of broad beans in vegetable ragu during the summer. Good memories...

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  2. I have never had any broad beans that I know of.
    Your corn looks great! You have inspired me (yet again)maybe I will try some next year, if I can find mors growing space. I'll definitely have more fertile soil as the pig is making lots of lovely manure for me to mix in with the fall leaves.

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  3. Looks like a good harvest. I also grew Imperial green longpod this year. My second variety was Crimson flowered. I would have no hesitation in growing the same again.

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  4. Typically corn is "hand pollinated" by shaking the plants early in the morning when the wind is low. It lets the pollen drift down instead of be blown away.

    And I don't mind squeaky beans as much as mushy beans, though I know Granny hates the squeak too.

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  5. Exciting times, Mark! Your beans, french and broad, look delicious. I like the look of the longpods but how does the flavour compare between the two?

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    1. Caro; to be honest, I think they taste the same. The green ones look a bit more attractive though (in my opinion).

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  6. Hi Mark,

    And here was I thinking all French Beans were squeaky...perhaps I need to have a rethink about them...

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  7. Oh i agree. Nothing worse than an undercooked squeaky bean.

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  8. People grow corn in the UK? I never would have imagined so. But that looks wonderful compared to what we see driving around these parts. One suggestion; try a blow dryer to pollinate. Just kidding but that's what it feels like out there today. Best./

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  9. Whereabouts in the country are you Mark? Your corn, tomatoes and french beans look very advanced. In defence of squeaky beans - I love them!

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  10. Our French beans have just started to flower and no tassels on the corn yet. As Daphne said yu can pollinate by brushing the plants to shake the pollen down. Is the 'fence' to protect from foxes - just wonder if it would stop the wind shaking the plants enough.

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  11. I've only just got my first flowers on my tomato plants and there you are with fruit ripening. You're way ahead of me with everything though so no surprise there.

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  12. I think they need to be just past squeaky, but bright and crisp nonetheless! Watching your corn with keen interest.

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  13. Ooh yes I had a haul of broad beans I served with my tortilla the other day and they were good!! I've got black fly on the ones that are left now and not sure how to treat them as the fly spray I have in the shed says not to use on edibles. Any tips?

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    1. Dom, If I were you I wouldn't worry about Blackfly at this stage of the game. If you are harvesting beans they have already passed the stage when the Blackfly could cause significant damage. They are not going to harm the pods - they usually only suck the sap from the growing tips of the plants. If you must get rid of them, try heavily-diluted washing-up liquid sprayed on with a hand-held sprayer.

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