Monday, 1 June 2009

The Darling Buds of May (and June...)

It's a well known fact that the banalities of life (such as a job, visiting the doctors, doing the shopping) all detract from valuable gardening time. The aforementioned banalities also consume valuable blogging time, which is why the London Vegetable Garden has been as sparse as my carrot plants in recent weeks - you have my sincere apologies.

But moving on, I've managed to weed some time into my diary to get firmly back on track with recording the progress of my organic odyssey. The recent hot weather has been responsible for a huge surge in growth, with vegetable plants taking over much of the London Vegetable Garden balcony. This has harassed the other half immeasurably, as putting out the clothes horse now requires military precision to avoid squashing tomato plants and radish pots. It gives me however, plenty of new fodder for a blog entry and an update on the London Vegetable Garden!

The plants that have fared the best in the current British heat wave are my runner beans. Two plants died recently, which I fear was my own fault when I removed the bottoms from their pots to place over the grow bags. With these weeded out, along with plenty of water and sunshine, their fortunes have reversed and thay now dominate the balcony wall.

As you can see from the pictures, they are also starting to bud flowers, which indicates that they're well on their way to produce-bearing stage. Although I didn't harvest many actual runner beans last year (OK, three to be precise), I'm hoping that the added compost underneath the pots and the regular feed I'm giving them will see an increased crop this time around. Watch this space for more updates...


  1. This is my first season of growing my own (I think half the nation has been bitten by this particular bug!) so I'm very much a novice and am picking up tips and advice from a variety of sources, your blog being one of them (makes excellent reading btw!).
    I was advised by a seasoned gardener to remove the bottom of the pots before planting my tomatoes out in a gro bag, but having read that 2 of your bean plants died I'm reluctant to try it..... is there a particular technique to it??

  2. The reason that 2 of my runner bean plants died was because they were already well-established in pots when I attempted to remove the bottoms of the pots, causing some soil to fall out and root damage to occur - this was my own amateurish mistake!

    I have done the bottomless pots with my tomatoes - have a look at my blog entry a couple of weeks back detailing how to do this. Basically:

    i) Establish your grow bag
    ii) Cut the bottoms out of new tomato plant pots and sit these on the open grow bag
    iii) Plant the tomato plants from their old pots into the new bottomless pots and pack them in with compost

    This way, the plants should take happily in their new positions with no further disturbance. I used this method to do my tomatoes with and they are coming along really well, so ignore the runner bean disaster - that was due to me knocking the pots over!

    Good luck with it!




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