Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The day when the beans fought back...

I planted my French beans and runner beans  earlier this year at the allotment with such optimism....but the first lot were decimated by slugs and the wet weather of early summer.

I wasn't deterred, I wanted beans...and lots of  them. "Bung slug pellets everywhere " I was told by friends and fellow allotmenteers. But the thing is, I don't like using slug pellets. Granted I hate slugs even more ...slimy, ugly things they are...but no, slug pellets were out of the question.

"Try putting egg shells all around them as a barrier" I was then advised. Dutifully, I saved eggshells...as we breakfasted on boiled eggs, scrambled eggs plus I made frittatas a couple of times for lunch. There still weren't  weren't enough eggshells to put around my bean plants...and by now, I was becoming egg bound.

That's when I remembered reading about coffee grounds being a deterrent, so I started saving those...and drinking more coffee. I love coffee, but you know when you've had too much of it....by now I was losing sleep and getting rather twitchy. So, feeling cheeky, I went into Almeida, the lovely little coffee shop right by the BBC studios where I work, and asked if they would save me their coffee grounds.

They said yes...and I was taking home carrier bags of the stuff...the car smelt divine...and I threw the lot around my newly planted beans. And do you know what - no slugs have been seen since. What a result.

Which means of course, my allotment and I are now full of beans!

This year I grew Firestorm runners from Thompson and Morgan..I've not done so before,, but definitely will do so again next year. Vigorous, lots of beans, with a really good flavour. As for the French beans....you can't beat Cobra....these were from Mr Fothergills Seeds - perfect to look at, quick to grow and by golly there's lots of them.

So the other Saturday, late afternoon, I was at the allotment with Boo the dog. She was running around the perimeter sniffing everywhere, and I was squatting on my haunches picking some runners at the lowest level. There were quite a few pounds of them, but as I stood up, the ligament on the side of my knee snapped..just like an elaggy band. My leg gave way and I ended up on the floor in an ungainly heap. I know I groaned, and I may have possibly uttered a few swear words. Actually, there's no possibly about it,....I definitely did. It was bloody painful.

The next day, I was driven into work to present the gardening programme followed by the local history programme, followed by a trip to hospital to get the knee checked out. It was. Knee was very swollen and stiff .Friends and colleagues asked how I'd injured it. Skateboarding, running and other physical activities were just some of the guesses but no one guessed that beans would be involved.

So no driving for four days....and this weekend at the allotment I was very careful only stopping to pick the beans and raspberries and get Mr Thinking of the days to do the watering.

There were pounds and pounds more beans to freeze and eat.
I took some of them into the courtyard to top, tail and slice while I sat in the courtyard enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

Then there were more....

With so many, it took a while and became quite thirsty work.....

So that evening we had the french beans, boiled until tender, drained, and then put back on the still warm hotplate, with a couple of slices of taleggio cheese thrown into the pot. This magically melted on impact with the beans, into a delicious sauce .

Today's track...an oldie but still a goodie and so appropriate this week not just for me, but for all my local farming friends...



  1. Goodness - all those beans!!

    And next year I'll try the coffee-grounds trick - though think it unlikely I'll get a harvest quite as wonderful as yours.

    1. That was just one pickingJo! "We've had lots this year...and do try the coffee rounds...they really do work!

  2. I didn't realise that picking beans was so dangerous. Hope you're on the mend now. We don't have trouble with slugs round the beans. In fact, I don't know about egg bound. Is it possible to be bean bound? If they don't stop growing soon we'll both start to look long, green and stringy.

    1. Yes on the mend thanks Ros.....long, green and stringy looking? That conjures up a vision....

  3. Where I live we can get two crops of beans a year. Not only is gardening dangerous but also housework. I dislocated my thumb cleaning the floor. Very frustrating as it seriously impacts my gardening.

    1. Two crops of beans? How lovely! Where exactly are you?I know you're over the pond, but not the exact location...

      So how exactly did you dislocate your thumb?! I would say that's grounds for hiring a cleaner....

  4. Beans with taleggio, haven't tried that but it sound great. My beans, both French and runner have done so well this year but coming to an end now sadly.

    1. Hello Anna...It's a different sauce than the usal..but well worth doing for a change. And yes, my beans will be finishing shortly....but so pleased with this year's crop. Here's to next year!