The curly yellow climbing beans called Anellino giallo (I’m not being pretentious, they are Italian and don’t have an English name) have done very well this year, cropping heavily and climbing to great heights. As a result we haven’t kept up with picking and eating them as fast as we should and, since the pods have reached the inedible stage, I thought I might treat them like borlotti, shell them and eat them fresh. What a surprise to discover that the beans are a beautiful royal blue. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t remain that colour when cooked and sure enough after 40 minutes with a shallot and bay leaf, they were an interesting shade of pewter grey. I mixed them with steamed runner beans and stirred in some home made pesto – delicious.
As the courgettes and squashes that I planted in the straw bale bed start to die back, I’ve made an unexpected discovery. In my enthusiasm to get a good layer of logs and prunings as the base of the bed, I must have included some freshly cut branches from the fig tree which appear to have rooted and are now sending up a grove of young trees. Whether they survive disinterment remains to be seen, but if you are planning your own straw bale garden, it may be best to make sure that the logs you use are well and truly dead. On the other hand it may be an interesting new propagation technique – I also found a thicket of young fuschsias.
Sadly, some of my blight tolerant outdoor tomatoes have now succumbed. I have removed the worst affected plants but am waiting to see what happens with the others before cutting them down, but I suspect they will all have to go. I was probably pushing things by planting them next to my potatoes, but I knew if they survived there they would survive anywhere. Fortunately the greenhouse tomatoes remain hale and hearty and I have had some good pickings from the outdoor plants before they started to blacken and collapse. Next year I will be more circumspect about I plant them in the hope that they will do as well as last year’s batch and remain blight-free throughout.
I’ve been carefully nurturing a selection of brassicas since I took delivery of them as plug plants several weeks ago from organicplants.com. They have been potted on, fed regularly, manually de-slugged and de-snailed and covered with Enviromesh to keep the cabbage white butterflies at bay. Now, however, the time has come to release them into the wider world. Andrew has taken the majority to the allotment and the surplus are going to friends, while I will restrict myself to just three cavolo nero in the home plot. I have to say it feels a bit like sending my babies off to school – it’s time for them to grow up and see if they are strong enough to cope with all the things I have protected them from. I had no idea I could feel sentimental about broccoli and curly kale!