As you may have read yesterday, the bean plants had developed a fairly severe case of Rust:
There were only a few bean pods remaining on the Robin Hoods, and none at all on the De Monicas, so I felt the plants ought to be removed. My six "Masterpiece Longpod" plants are also affected by the Rust, but not very severely, and their pods are not at full size just yet, so I decided to leave them in place.
Removing the last pods from the Robin Hood plants yielded another 250g, a quantity definitely worth having.
I cut the beans down at about 5 or 6 inches above soil level, leaving the roots in the ground, and consigned the foliage to the compost bin. I'll not be in too much of a hurry to remove the stumps because their roots will hopefully be covered in nitrogen-fixing nodules. This nitrogen will be beneficial to the next crop I'm going to grow here - Purple Sprouting Broccoli.
The removal of the Broad Beans will I'm sure be welcomed by their neighbours - potted chillis on one side, and Parsnips on the other - because they will get a fair bit more light now.
In the photo above you can see the Kale plants at the corners of the bed. These have already yielded a couple of pickings, but will hopefully carry on growing for some while longer, so I have now given them each the support of a stout stick to which they are tied with soft string.
The remaining six Broad Bean plants look the most promising of the three types I have grown this year, with a better pod set than the other two.
With only a small number of plants like I grow, you'll never get a glut of beans, but for me it's a matter of quality rather than quantity. Fresh beans picked at just the right moment and cooked without delay are far superior to the often tired and over-mature specimens you find in the shops. They certainly shouldn't need double-peeling, which is only necessary when the beans have gone old and leathery!
Here's a Broad Bean dish that Jane made for us a couple of days ago - cooked and cooled beans with crumbled Feta cheese and a dressing made from lemon juice and zest, olive oil and loads of mint and Greek Oregano.