Thursday 6 July 2023

No Waders means beans

So there have been no waders, or at least not here. Rainham is now getting a few, as is Fife, but Wanstead remains as frustratingly Wader-free as it generally is. Wanstead is not bean-free though.... Sorry, I did threaten this. Well, technically I suppose it is bean-free, as none of my bean plants yet have beans on them, in the same way that none of Wanstead's ponds have  any waders on them. The difference is that I am definitely going to get beans, whereas Jubilee and Alex likely won't. Or not many at any rate, whereas I will be drowing in beans.

Or that is my hope. Last year was mega on the bean front, towards the end of the summer we had more beans than we knew what to do with. In truth we became a little bean jaded. But in the middle of winter, thinking of that first fresh bean... well I just rushed out and planted them as soon as I could. In fact I had to dig them up again after just a few days as I had been over-eager and a passing frost threatened to destroy all my carefully nurtured seedlings. They didn't seem to mind much, and I replanted them a week later in the same trench I had taken them out of.

I had initially grown them in the greenhouse using dried beans saved from last year, a mixture of runners and french. A good soaking doubled their size, and they all germinated more or less immediately. That is where visible progress stopped though, and as soon as I planted them out they stalled. For ages and ages, and I suffered from considerable bean angst. Mrs L said I was ridiculous. After a thoroughly miserable spring things finally got going, and they grew more in a matter of days than they had done in weeks. Now of course they are all over the canes and heading off in as many directions as they can find. We may be overrun. There was a blackfly problem in early June but I solved that with washing up liquid - no insecticides here, I just made up a soapy solution and sprayed constantly for about three days and that cleared them and their Ant overlords out. No negotiations. So far they have not returned and consequently I have had a good flowering. A second batch of beans, sowed at the height of my anxiety, are not now going to be needed, which is lucky as most of them shrivelled and died during the very hot weather anyway.

It remains to be seen whether second generation beans are as reliable as the first lot from a proper packet. Personally I see no reason why they would not be. My local bean counsellor and armchair expert has confidently stated that they might be "a bit funny", whatever that means. She has no idea what she is talking about. A bean is a bean is a bean. I am inspecting them daily for those first tiny little green threads, and you will be guaranteed to read about it here unless there is some kind of massive flood that turns Wanstead Flats into a huge scrape.


  1. sorry but you've bean disqualified for this post!

  2. My Grandad always used to save runner bean seeds for the next year. Tasted just fine to me! Good luck. Oh, and beware saving your own courgette seeds - that can be dangerous

    1. Yep, the 2023 bean harvest has just started and the beans are just fine!