Welcome to Lesley Upton’s blog about life on the allotment, where she will look at life on her Berkshire plot, from the veg she is growing to how people are living with the threat of coronavirus. In this post, she looks at broad beans and garlic…

Broad beans

I sowed some ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ broad beans in October last year and planted them out on the allotment in November. They’re growing well, but I think I need some more so I’ve sowed another dozen of ‘The Sutton’.

May or June
The idea is that the autumn-sown ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ beans will be ready to pick in May or June and The Sutton will follow on in June or July.

Avoiding blackly
Apart from cropping earlier, another advantage of ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is that the plants become established before blackfly become a problem, so I get a better crop of beans. Last year I had a great crop (see photo below), so I’m hoping this year will be the same.

I had a great crop of broad beans last year.

Squash the aphids
The Sutton will probably be hit by blackfly, but I’ll just have to keep an eye on them and squash the black aphids when they appear or hope the ladybirds are hungry after months of hibernation.

I saw this ladybird, still in hibernation, nestled in the bark of my plum tree

Toilet-roll tubes
I sow all my broad beans in toilet-roll tubes as I have a constant supply – thanks, Al. I don’t know where he gets them from, and I don’t ask, but I’m very grateful as I use them for broad beans, peas and sweet peas. They are not the result of bulk-buying toilet rolls, by the way, as he’s been collecting them for me for months!

Garlic

My garlic is growing well, which is surprising as I thought it might have drowned after all the rain we’ve had. I planted it in October last year. Over the next few days I’ll be sprinkling some wood ash around the plants, courtesy of a neighbour who has a wood burner. I also collect his grass cuttings and use them to earth up around my potatoes.

The garlic is growing well.

Still time to plant it
For anyone thinking of growing garlic, you can still plant it. While most garlic needs a period of cold, so is best planted in late autumn or early winter, some varieties can be planted now, such as Tuscany Wight or Picardy Wight. Get them in quick, though!

Coronavirus warning
However, for those thinking it helps prevent infection from coronavirus, think again. The World Health Organisation states: ‘Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.’

 

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