It is warm enough to start planting out your tender veggies
On of the trickiest things in gardening is getting your timings right. This is especially true of springtime, when a few warm, late April days can lull us into a false sense of security.
The mercury rises, a chilled glass of something is enjoyed on the patio and then whoomph! Full of enthusiasm we start planting out things that really aren’t happy in our temperamental late-spring climate and then are disconsolate and discouraged when they turn up their toes.
Bedding plants and tender veggies (runner beans, squash, tomatoes, chillies) fall into this category, which is why I always play safe and leave planting these delicates out until, well, probably until days after I should have done.
I sowed some runner beans back in the late spring and have been coaxing them on, first on a warm windowsill indoors and then in the greenhouse. The past three weekends have been the weekend for their planting, but then I’ve got cold feet at the last minute and decided to leave it a while longer.
This weekend it could be delayed no longer – the poor beans had shot up from little plants to gangly, uncoordinated adolescents and started twining around each other in a desperate search for support.
We haven’t got much room so they are now in a raised bed, with two teepees of canes for them to clamber up.
There are a couple of things to remember when planting your beans. They are hungry plants so add lots of well-rotted compost or manure, or a chicken manure pellet fertiliser to the planting site.
Even better, a few months before planting, decide where your beans will go and dig and fill a trench with your kitchen peelings.
These will rot down and give the beans’ roots something good to get stuck in to.
Plant the beans at the same depth as their rootballs and then carefully tie their stems to the supports. As I had left ours so long, it took a fair bit of delicate untangling and twining to get them in place.
Water them well and protect against slugs and sails. I’m using a barrier method and using a slug and snail deterrent spray from Grazers.
Keep your beans well fed and watered, watch out for aphids and blackfly on their flowers, and pic the pods as they mature – the more you harvest the more you’ll get!
Check out our How To for more runner bean inspiration!
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