Wednesday 4 May 2011

The Beans are in...

My climbing beans have been planted now. I have provided them with a support frame made of 8-foot bamboo canes, held together with plastic clips specially designed for this task (a couple of pounds well spent in my opinion - saves ages of pfaffing about and lots of stretching up aboves one's head trying to tie knots in string!).

According to most experts, I should have planted one bean per cane, but I haven't. I have planted two per cane. This is simply because I am greedy! I have climbing beans of 7 different varieties, and I didn't think that two of each was enough. (You will see that I put up seven pairs of poles). In theory, the bean plants will be much smaller because they will be very crowded, but I'm prepared to take a chance on it. If I look after them (and I will), they will probably be just fine.

The plants themselves are not looking very good, unfortunately. Many of the leaves are ragged, torn and dry at the edges. This is because over the last few days they have had a real battering from the sustained strong winds we have been experiencing. If I had had somewhere where I could have put them under cover, I would have done so, but regrettably there was "no room at the inn"...

I hope they will recover when the wind dies down (if it ever does!), but I have kept all the spare plants just in case I have to replace some casualties.  I think I may also sow a few more seeds, just in case. Remember the Umbrella Principle??

I have resorted to some desperate measures in order to reduce the wind damage. If only I had thought about this earlier... those cloches have been sitting idle down by the back fence for the last 10 days, and I could have put my bean plants underneath them. [And this next photo just confirms the fact that I need a fourth one.]

The bright sunshine is deceptive. It makes things look like Summer, but that wind is a killer! The cloches will not fit OVER the bean plants (because of the poles), but maybe they will divert some of the wind.

For the record, by climbing beans are:-
Runner beans "Aintree" and "Red Rum"
"Cherokee Trail of Tears"
"Selma Zebra"
Borlotto "Lingua di Fuoco" (including those extra dark-coloured ones I saved from last year's crop).
"Coco Blanc a Rames" (aka "Lazy Housewife")
French bean "Cobra"

Just in case I forget (and I probably will), the dark-coloured Borlotto beans are at both ends of each row.

I have also got seeds for two different varieties of Dwarf Bean, but I have not sown them yet. Mid- to Late-May sounds like a good time for that...


  1. Your garden looks enviably tidy!I know the wind can and does do more damage no matter how sunny and warm it is.Our beans and peas are in for the most part now just the runner beans to sow now.

  2. I think they will be just fine. Good job at blocking the wind. Wind is something we almost never have here.

  3. Hello! What a wonderful vegetable garden! You have so many raised beds! I know about the wind I was growing and upside down tomato plant and it cracked and died...your plants will be fine...I love to look at gardens from other coutries! Great blog!

  4. Hi Mark. I'd like to see some of those bamboo clips up close. I wonder if I could get my hands on some in Australia - I've never heard of them.

  5. The veggie patch is looking great. Like all gardeners, Mark, you are a master of invention...hope those cloches work. Veggiegobler, a cheap altenative would be cable ties.

  6. You bean frame look great! I always have my beans just going up on straight poles and I always plant 3 seeds, maybe because they are seeds and some don't make it...

  7. VG: the things I use for securing the bean poles are officially known as "cane grips", and are sold in most of our garden centres and lots of the online suppliers - google the term, or try following this link:

  8. I haven't sown any of my beans yet, but I also always grow two plants up each pole and they're fine. I make a wigwam from my poles.

  9. The frame looks great and I'm sure your beans will be fine. I always put too many to a pole and they still fight their way through :)
    I'm glad I resisted the temptation to plant out though as we have had some frosty nights - we lost a load of beans last year.

  10. I read somewhere plant 3 beans or peas each pole because one for the kitchen, one for the snail and the other one I can't remember for who;-). Oh I have never seen red rum in our seed catalog over here.

  11. I always plant 2 plants to each pole and they always crop really well so don't worry. I am really surprised l have any at all as l 'saved' my seeds from last years crop by drying some pods in my greenhouse and left them there all winter! With the wind try putting some fleece around the base of the canes.

  12. I was/am having problems with wind and took similar measures to prevent wind damage. Your garden is beautiful. I'm glad to have found your blog!


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