Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: beans

Climbing French Bean Purple Cascade 2017

22nd March and I have put some seed potatoes, Maris Piper, into a growing bag in the garden. We shall probably grow in a small way this year as the allotment needs a lot doing to it to get it ready. It has been quite neglected whilst we have been looking after Adam so this year may be spent just getting it back up to normal. I also sowed just nine broad bean stereo seeds in modules. We bought an oblong planter from Wilkos and I have sown Carrot Early Nantes into it and put it in the garden. The bean seedlings are also in the garden in a large 50cm pot. They are Climbing French Bean Purple Cascade and I have popped a few French bean Dulcina around them. Update 5th May. The Purple Cascade have suffered from the cold spell and I have replaced the seeds today. The other beans, Blue Lake and Borlotto are still in modules awaiting a decision as to where to plant them. Update 5th May. These Blue Lake and Borlotto have also been reseeded.

Update The Blue Lake and the Borlotto are also in a large planter and we have put in a silver obelisk bought from Wilkos for a little support. 24th March and the last four Maris Piper potatoes plus one Vivaldi are now in a big growing pot. First batch of Peas Ambassador have gone into a tray today after being soaked overnight. 29th March and the peas are germinated and have been put in the plastic greenhouse outside to grow on a bit. Laura and Glenn went to the pound shop today and bought three packs of seed potatoes. Two were early, Maris Piper and Pentland Javelin, and one Charlotte, was a second early. They seem good value at £1 for eight decent sized seeds in each bag. The Charlotte and the Maris Piper were planted at the allotment today, 2nd April, and the Pentland Javelin have been put into a raised bed at home.


Seeds of Hope

Eleven packets of seed arrived today and they look very healthy so I am optimistic about growing some productive plants. I have used a company that is new to me. It is called Seekay and is trading on Amazon. Cost and delivery has been good. Seeds arrived packed well and in individual sealed polythene packets. I will report on success and failure but will allow for grower error.

Tomato Ildie – I grew this tomato back in the day. It is mentioned on the old blog posts. I used up the last of my old seeds last year so have bought new for the coming season. I received 20 seeds at a cost of 65p. Sweetcorn F1 Wagtail – This is a new variety for me. It is listed as super sweet and at 99p for 32 seeds the price is sweet too. Climbing French Bean Blue Lake – 90 seeds for 65p. When I was able to go back to the allotment at the end of last season I was given a bag full of this prolific bean by our plot neighbour. I was very impressed and determined to grow them myself this year. Imagine my surprise when reading back over old blog posts to see that I had actually grown these before. This demonstrates to me how ones mind can be completely taken over when it is coping with a personal tragedy. New priorities move in and dominate our thinking. Parsnip Guernsey – 100 seeds for 55p. Another new variety to me. The Guernsey variety was the most popular parsnip of the 19th century. Introduced prior to the 1850’s, this variety is medium-long, and has thick shoulders and smooth white skin. The flesh gets even sweeter after a good frost in autumn. It’s not as long as the Hollow Crown and has a sweet and delicate flavour.  Information from Baker Creek.











After The Rain

We made our first visit to the plots today after a gap of two weeks. The dense growth was phenomenal and not just on our plots. I think the torrential rain has kept almost everyone away. The butternut squash plants had taken over the nursery bed and the area around it. Tangled amongst them were the Gardeners Delight tomato plants which were devastated by Blight. We removed the tomato plants and all the weeds to allow the squash plant more room. The Runner Beans were heavy with the crop which had gone way beyond the stage that I would normally harvest. I did pick a whole tray though and I shall work through them and freeze what I can. Runner Bean Firetongue turned out having to be shelled as the outer skin, whilst very beautiful, didn’t look good enough to eat. The Borlotti beans also were way past their best and again I picked just a tray and have divided them into ‘good to freeze’, ‘good to dry’ and ‘use for seed next year’. e picked a whole bowl of lovely tomatoes of all descriptions which had survived the Blight as they were safely tucked away in the lean to.





Full of Beans

white lady

Today I have sown more beans in pots to start off at home. Runner Bean White Lady, Climbing Bean Blauhilde, Black Bean Delinel and some unlabelled small white beans sent to me by a forum member last year.


Yesterday I potted on some Tomatoes Sweet Millions given to us by a friend along with a Cherry Belle and an Alicante.

Puddles also seems full of beans as he waits patiently for Jemima, who is sitting on a clutch of eggs, to produce his offspring.

Sean, Deb and The Giant Rhubarb

sean and deb

I had a lovely day yesterday as my son Sean and his partner Debbie came to visit. They brought an enormous bunch of Rhubarb from their garden. The leaves were massive. They are veggie growing nutters too so we all went down to the plots to join Rob who was working hard digging over the remaining empty beds. We took a flask of tea and sandwiches for the worker. It was really cold and windy down there. I wish the weather would warm up a bit so we could start planting. On the way back home we popped to see my other son Adam before going back to make Cottage Pie for tea.

Just as we were setting off  yesterday Simon arrived with the laths for the tunnel and we were able to deliver them to the plot and this morning Rob and Glenn have gone down to tie them on to the ribs of the tunnel for the next stage of the tunnel building project. Much sleep has been lost pondering on the best way to make the structure secure.

Runner Bean Kelvedon Stringless

runner bean kelvedon stringlessI put twelve seeds of Runner Bean Kelvedon Stringless into a 7″ pot and into a polythene bag to germinate. I have also sown a few more lettuce seeds. Little Gem, Lollo Rosso and Raddichio. The first sowing of peas I put in at home need planting out now so we intend to do that this afternoon, weather permitting. We are putting them around the inside of the old brassica cage. The peas sown direct by Rob have begun to shoot now. The potatoes planted in pots in the lean to are doing well but we shall need to move them outside soon as the space will be needed for the cucumbers and tomatoes. The melons sown at home that have survived are going very leggy and leaning over so the sooner they can go into their permanent bed the better.



Barlotti or Borlotti?

pretty beans IIbeansbar

I was given some seeds for these lovely beans by the previous plot holder and have grown them this year for the first time. I am not sure of the correct name for the ones I have but on doing a google I came up with the above. Well wether they are Barlotti or Borlotti I like them. The ones I have are dwarf  in habit but I think you can also get taller ones and I intend to try and get some seeds for next year. They are so pretty both on the plant and when shelled and they taste just great, very tender when picked young and I understand when dried can be used in many ways. I have harvested some and intend to freeze them. I did try them in the shells and cooked them as you would cook runner bean or french beans but found to be a little stringy. I prefer to shell them and mix them with a few peas and young broad beans. Yummy!

Red or Dead



This evening we spent an hour and a half at the plots. I gathered some beans and carrots for tea. We also cut a decent cauliflower to go with them. Half went in the pot and half in the freezer. We decided to dig up the Roseval potatoes and one whole row only gave enough for about two meals for the three of us. What we did get looked ok so we will do the taste test later as they are in the saucepan at the moment. I was unsure about peeling or not but in the end I scraped them and they were still red underneath the thin papery outside layer. I have pulled four sticks of Rhubarb against advice I had read about leaving the plant alone for the first year. Lastly we brought home another lettuce and a few turnips that had shot up overnight it seemed to me.

In The Frame – The Greenhouse 2007

The greenhouse is at the plot and the frame has been built up. Stirling work by Glenn with assistance from Roy and Janice. Two panes of glass got broken in transit so we shall probably replace them with polycarbonate panels with a view to eventually changing the whole lot. The next job is to lay a firm foundation so we will have to buy some slabs.

broadbean2Rob decided to plant the peas, Starlight on plot 8 and sowed the new broad beans against the low trellis on plot 18. I thinned out the swede seedlings and replanted the thinnings. Not sure they will survive but it was worth a try. We are having to keep on top of the weeding as they pop up as soon as your back is turned. We had a late Sunday dinner with produce from the plot and it was really nice. We were able to give some potatoes and cabbage to Roy and Jan too.


Steady Progress


All the King Edward potatoes are now in on plot 18 and the first earlies are showing lots of growth and have been earthed up. We are hoping we don’t have a frost. King Edward potatoes are a popular variety. They have white skin with pink colouration, cream to pale yellow flesh and a floury texture. They are a Main Crop variety and are excellent for baking, chipping, roasting and mashing. I have sown more seeds on the flower bed, Cornflowers, Columbine, Clarkia and Californian Poppy, Eschscholzia Californica, single orange, plus a small bed of mixed poppies in the main plot over by the sweet pea tepee.


calafornian poppycornflowercolumbineclarkia

We decided to risk it and planted the first of the runner beans, White Lady, as they were getting very leggy in the pots on the window ledge at home. I shall sow them later next year.



Joe gave us five small gooseberry bushes and Rob planted them on the main plot here and there. He also hoed the fruit cage and dug up a lot of the Alstromeria seedlings that had popped up like weeds everywhere. It goes against the grain to dig up healthy seedlings but they seem to be everywhere and I already have some very healthy plants in the flower bed.

Keith gave us five tomato plants that were surplus to his requirements and although we have plenty we found some room for them in the lean to. They are Shirley and Alicante. I potted on the White Aubergine, Mohican, four healthy looking plants, and the cucumber seedlings.

The sprouts, Bedford Fillbasket, are now in their final position. We got twenty good plants from the seeds we sowed in modules early in the year. The red ones in the nursery bed are looking good too. Rob has sown a row of Turnip, Snowball and a row of Beetroot, Boltardy. I have now put in about 120 pea shoots, started at home in the greenhouse, and another two rows of dwarf beans Borlotto.