TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

June 12, 2013

Climbing Beans in the Plot

Filed under: pea&beans — Tags: — TopVeg @ 8:39 pm

The Chef planted some climbing beans in the plot on 22 May. Today the beans are now climbing up the wigwam he constructed out of bamboo canes.



The Chef has chosen to plant the variety Cobra. These french beans are stringless and have an exceptional flavour, very suitable climbing beans for the Chef to grow in his plot.

May 12, 2013

Broad Beans Day 62

Filed under: Chef's Plot, pea&beans — Tags: — TopVeg @ 7:10 pm

These broad beans planted in The Plot 62 days ago are looking healthy.



The Express Broad Beans were planted at the start of March.  Some of them rotted off but most of the broad bean seedlings are growing well after 62 days.

May 11, 2013

Meteor Broad Beans Planted

Filed under: Chef's Plot, pea&beans — Tags: — TopVeg @ 9:34 pm

The Chef planted a row of Meteor broad bean seed today.

Following the disastrous progress of the Express broad beans, the Chef planted another row of broad bean seed.  But this time he used the variety called Meteor.

The Express broad beans were planted 9 weeks ago.  Another sowing now will give  a spread of harvesting, so that he can enjoy cooking fresh beans over several weeks.

Lets hope the Meteor Broad Beans planted today get off to a good start and have some sun, so that they do not rot off like the Express broad beans did.

May 8, 2013

Broad Bean Disaster Day 58

Filed under: pea&beans — TopVeg @ 8:12 pm

The Chef has had a disaster – some broad beans in The Plot are dying 58 days after planting.

He dug one up and found that the root was black.

broad bean seedling with black root

broad bean seedling with black root

This is a sign of fusarium, a fungus which causes bean foot rot.  Fusarium tends to take over when the soil is cold and wet, and broad bean seedlings start to rot off.  Bad drainage leads to cold, wet soil.

The last two days have been warm and sunny.  So lets hope the Chef’s plot warms up and that the broad beans start to grow away from the disaster that appeared on day 53!

May 3, 2013

Express Broad Beans Day53

Filed under: Chef's Plot, pea&beans — Tags: — TopVeg @ 10:10 pm

The Express Broad Beans in the Chef’s Plot were planted 53 days ago.

This photo shows broad bean row:



The broad bean plants are looking very strong and healthy.



The Express Broad beans have grown steadily since they were planted 53 days ago.

March 10, 2013

Express Broad Beans sown in Chef’s plot

Filed under: pea&beans — TopVeg @ 7:56 pm

The Chef has sown some Express Broad Beans in his plot.

The broad bean variety Express was most successful when grown in the TopVeg vegetable garden.  Click this link to read about our verdict on Express Broad Beans.

The broad beans were planted:

  • in a double row set 23cm (9″) apart
  • at a depth of 5cm (2″) deep
  • at a distance of 23cm (9″) apart within each row

It will be interesting to see when they come through.  A few days after planting the temperature dropped to freezing point which will slow down germination.  Express broad beans usually germinate ten days after they are sown, but they are likely to be slower this season.

March 31, 2012

Drought tolerant peas

Filed under: pea&beans — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 1:30 pm

Plant breeders are hoping to develop drought resistant peas. 

pea plant

pea plant

ABSTRESS, a 5 year European research project, is aiming to develop pea varieties that can withstand drought conditions and climate change.

February 26, 2012

Optica Broad Beans

Filed under: pea&beans — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 6:55 pm

Optica is an excellent modern variety of broad beans.  They have masses of pods and are very productive.



To Sow Optica Broad Beans:

  • sow outdoors from February to June
  • 10cm/ 4inches apart
  • rows 60cm/24inches apart
  • click this link to buy seed from Unwins

Optica broad beans  have a compact growing habit which make them ideal for small gardens, where space is at a premium.  They are lower growing than many broad beans but still need staking.



Optica broad beans produce medium length pods with 4 or 5  white beans per pod.



The pods are quite tender & if picked when very young the pods can also be eaten.



Optica has a good flavour and the beans freeze well.

January 30, 2012

Planting Broad Beans today!

Filed under: pea&beans — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 1:39 pm

We are planting some midwinter broad beans today, before the ground gets too hard.  Frost is forecast, and the frost freezes the soil making it too hard to dig.

Midwinter broadbean seed

Midwinter broadbean seed

Midwinter broad beans are an ideal variety for planting in January.

July 13, 2011

How to Freeze Broad Beans

Filed under: pea&beans — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 1:22 pm

There are two schools of thought on how to freeze broad beans – some people blanch the beans before freezing and some don’t.

Blanching involves plunging the beans into boiling water to stop all enzyme activity with the beans, so the beans stay exactly as they are without any deterioration.  Therefore, the healthy vitamins and minerals will remain in the beans.  After a couple of minutes at boiling point, the beans are dropped into ice-cold water, to stop the cooking process.



To freeze broad beans by blanching:

  • shell the beans
  • plunge the broad beans into a very fast boiling saucepan, so the water just covers the beans
  • return the water to the boil as quickly as possible
  • after 3 mins,drain the broad beans
  • immediately put into ice cold water to bring temperature down quickly
  • drain
  • fill freezer bags with the cold, dried beans
  • squeeze air out of bag – suck out remainder with straw- then seal bag
  • freeze the broad beans immediately

Helpful tip: make large blocks of ice in margarine/yoghurt tubs to keep water cold when cooling beans

To freeze broad beans without blanching:

  • shell the beans
  • fill freezer bags with the shelled broad beans
  • squeeze air out of bag – suck out remainder with straw – then seal bag
  • freeze the broad beans immediately

It is worth trying both methods, to decide how to freeze broad beans for yourself.

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