Tuesday 12 June 2012

Runner Beans, Aubergines and Cucumbers

Part two  of my Mid-June veg report...

First up, the Aubergines. I am not particularly fond of eating Aubergines, but I like the idea of them, and they do look nice, so I have decided to try growing a couple. Maybe I will enjoy them better if I grow them myself. I have chosen the variety "Pintung Long" which produces long slender fruits, along the lines of the Asian brinjal, of which I have some good memories from my time in the Far East.

A couple of days ago I potted up my best two plants (from a choice of four - I always have a few spares just in case - into large (15-inch diameter) containers filled with compost and some added pelleted chicken manure:

Because the weather is still not very warm, I have put the Aubergines into two of my little plastic mini-greenhouses, which have been even more valuable than ever this year.

They have a long way to go before they produce any fruit. Indeed, unless the weather bucks up a lot, I'd be surprised if they ever produced any!

Also out there on the patio in a big tub is my solitary "Iznik" cocktail cucumber plant, looking distinctly sorry for itself in the cold rain.

Actually I do have a second one waiting to join it, but it was sown much later and is still too small to be planted out. Some little fruits are just beginning to form on the first one.

This one will probably be the first fruit ready to harvest.

Finally, the Runner Beans. If you've been following my blog you may remember that I planted 14 Runners, each one with its own 8-foot cane to support it. 13 of the plants are looking really good and climbing rapidly up their canes, but one of them is "blind" - in other words it lacks a main growing point. Compare these photos:

This is a normal plant. You can see the slender main growing shoot thrusting its way upwards, just starting to twine around its cane.

But then look at this one:

It doesn't have a main growing point at all. The stem ends in a leaf set (Apart from the two lowest ones, Runner Bean leaves are produced in sets of 3).

However, this is not a big problem because side-shoots will appear from near the bottom set of leaves.

In fact, some people advocate pinching out bean plants when they get to about 12 inches tall, and relying entirely on the sideshoots.

In order to make maximum use of the space available I have planted a group of lettuces near the two ends of my row of beans.

Hopefully they will grow big enough to be worth harvesting before the foliage of the Runner Beans gets so dense that it completely blocks out their light. The lettuces are a red-tinged Butterhead variety called "Marvel of Four Seasons".

More on a similar theme tomorrow...

Late addition: Here's the "bunch of bananas" today...


  1. Looking good Mark and nice to see how your ‘bunch of bananas’ are doing!

  2. I love all your red lettuces. I wish we could grow them through the summer here. I have replanted my cucumbers so will have to wait and see how they do.

  3. It took me three years of trying before I got an aubergine plant to fruit. Good luck with yours.

  4. Good luck with your aubergines. Mine have just given up growing, like much else this year! I did have some success one year when it was really hot, although they did get lots of whitefly! xx

  5. Great to see you making the very most of the space you have!

    My cucumber looks pitiful in comparison to yours!!

    Home grown aubergeines DO taste better than the shop bought ones, good luck!

  6. I never liked eggplant either. I liked growing it since it is such a pretty plant and I love the look of the fruit. But now I don't grow them of course since I can't eat any of that family. I still think they are pretty though.

  7. I have never ever had any luck with aubergines even in the greenhouse - so I have given up on them. The only cucumber plant that I have that is doing anything at all is a grafted one that I bought which is about 2 feet high now.

  8. I've always wanted to grow aubergines for the same reason. Let me know if they are better when grown yourself! You've got so much going on in your garden, your cucumber looks sorry for itself indeed but at least you've got one on the way!

  9. WE don't have great success with aubergines but are trying again this year!

  10. I hope your eggplant do well - for me I either love or hate eating them depending on how they are cooked - there is no vegetable so hideous as an undercooked eggplant in my book.

  11. Last year was miserable for the eggplants here. I love them - in stir fry, roasted / smoked in baba ganouj, sliced breaded and fried for eggplant parmesan. Hopefully my three plants will give me some.

  12. My eggplant were wiped out last year by flea beetles. This year I have most of them under row covers. I missed my eggplant parm last year.

  13. I really enjoy aubergines - especially roasted, mixed into ratatouille with other home-grown fruits and veg. Our greenhouse plants aren't very much taller than yours, but the first flowers are coming, so you definitely have hope yet.


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