A Bit Like Summer, But Too Early For Runner Beans


A Bit Like Summer, But Too Early For Runner Beans

It was flipping freezing this morning, so much so I wore a coat. By Midday it was boiling again, which sort of illustrates the deceptiveness of the British climate: when the sun shines, it’s lovely, when it doesn’t there is an underlying chill to the breeze.

In the backyard, I am removing the overwintered plants (such as mizuna and mustard); finishing off the coriander or leaving it to set seed; planting some Spring plants, such as lettuce, briefly; before I am due to plant summer plants, such as squashes, in the first week of June. It is in a state of transition, but still looks tidy and busy. I planted the Locoto Chilli into the garden – a Chilli that grows in the Andes and therefore can take -5c – but I am reluctant to risk my tender plants, even though it is May.  I have learnt, over the years, to trust my instincts, be patient, and don’t put those runner beans out until the last week of May, at the VERY latest. I will probably wait until the first week of June this year.

The backyard is in good order, but the allotment, as ever, is a hostile environment. The backyard is a microclimate, with walls and hedges, the plants are so much cosier. The wind whips across the allotment, it is north facing and collects frost on those days when I don’t get it at home. And this is even though it is less than a mile away. And even though we are a month and a half into Spring, and there is sunshine and some warmth, it is the wind that continues to damage the plants. Others on the plot have taken steps to protect their plants from the wind, including the sort of tight netting you see on scaffolding. I, myself, use fleece liberally.

I was finishing off an old roll and used the remainder on my skirrets. I didn’t quite have enough for the entire row, but I covered what I could. All the uncovered ones died, that is how deceptively harsh the allotment is.

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