Beans Abound: Courtyard Gardener’s Allotment #courtyardgardener #allotment @Sarah_Ash7 @Rasumova @MishaHerwin

Beans abound this year in Plot 25. In an effort to extend my repertoire and eat healthily within my restricted diet *(no brassicas or alliums) beans are playing a big role this year.

runner-beans-ray-laceyscience-photo-libraryDSC_2427First up that old favourite the Runner Bean.  I took me a while to persuade the other half that he liked them because of memories of beans at home and school that had been left to grow to size which gives them a tough, hairy, coat that is not pleasant to eat.  Picked young, cooked lightly and lavished with butter and pepper, they are a delight. As with most veg they are best fresh but runners always freeze well.

The netting is hemp, meaning once the season is over the stems and net can all go into the compost!

The sticks at each end mark  a row of parsnips that are yet to appear – but patience is required. As the old saying goes ‘parsnips go to the devil and back before they show their heads’.

DSC_2430borlottiNext are Borlotti Beans. First time of growing so watch this space.

Can be picked and cooked in their speckled red pods or harvested and stored as a dried bean.

The tent space between the sticks leaves room for two courgette plants

DSC_2426I have Butter Beans  (top wigwam)butter beans

Also a first-time crop, and as with the Borlottis, can be eaten fresh or harvested and the inner beans dried.

I have to say this is something of an experiment as I loathedbutter Butterbeans as served by the school cooks – but then they managed to cook everything to destruction  so willing to give these veg another go.

mangeThe lower wigwam has mange tout – which are just beginning to break the surface.

Fresh mange tout are a joy whether served hot or else raw in salads and something I have grown for many years.

frenchDSC_2432I have grown Broad Beans and French Beans many times but in the interests of space saving  I have experimented with growing  dwarf varieties of bean in pots.

broad-bean-the-sutton-dwarf-50-seedsThe broad beans in the red pots are just poking their heads up.

The french beans – in more of the black cloth pots – were, as with the runners, borlottis and butters,  started off indoors.

No doubt we shall be knee deep in beans by september – but the freezer will be filled for the winter and that will be a plus.

Years ago, before domestic freezers were common, my mother would preserve beans by packing them in salt. Not that good to eat but something recommended in ww2 pamphlets to the Victory Garden holders at the centre Deadly Plot – the upcoming 5th Bunch Courtney crime novel.

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