Friday, November 16, 2007

The new season starts here

It's November, so it must be time to sow broad beans and peas to overwinter as early crops for next year.

I've learned my lesson from last year, when I sowed my broad beans much too early (in October) so that by this time they were long, leggy and very susceptible to rotting off. These little babies should be up by the end of the month, with a bit of luck and not too much more frost, and shouldn't be more than a couple of inches of sturdy shoot come late February next year, when I'll plant them out.

As you'll see from the picture, I sow my broad beans into toilet roll inners. These clutter up my house all year as my poor family is forbidden to ever throw them away, but then I get to see the point of it all at this time of year as I need 44 of the things for one sowing of beans - two 11ft rows with one plant every 6". The toilet rolls need standing up in something - I use wooden fruit boxes from the local greengrocer - but after that it's simplicity itself: just fill with multi-purpose compost, sow one bean to each roll and water in. You don't even have to take the loo roll off when you plant - it just rots away into the soil (and provides a bit of organic matter while it's at it). Easy-peasy!

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