Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Preparing for beans

So it was a less than spectacular summer. Time to move on.

 This week I'm getting things ready for autumn crops, and top of the list is beans. The wife loves beans, and is by far one of the worst garden pests when it comes to getting them to the table - because they rarely make it much further from the vine than her mouth. Luckily, her one-for-the-pot-one-for-me attitude rarely causes a problem when they're cropping well (and it keeps her cookie-munching habit at bay). But the last two attempts at growing them have been less than spectacular for one reason or another, and we need a good crop in autumn to stock the freezer again.

The first job is to get their new home ready for them. I'm putting the beans where I had zucchini over summer, and even on my small rotation of garden beds, its been over a year since I planted beans here. I got a head start by releasing a few over-enthusiastic chooks into the foray for some advanced weeding

Then yesterday I got things rolling by raking all the mulch left over from summer to one side. With only about 25% of it broken down over the last three months, there's a reasonable amount for the next three. On the cleared side of the bed I took care of the remaining weeds, then dumped a bagload of moo poo and a generous amount of blood and bone. After turning it into the soil, I've shifted the mulch and repeated the proceedure on the other side.

I use a sheet of 100mm welded mesh for climbing-bean support - It gets rotated around the beds as needed, attaching to brackets that quite obviously aren't there for the asthetic appeal. These days I lean this trellis slightly so that its easier to weed along the fenceline - and to pick beans that hang away from the angle. I'll be growing the Purple King variety of climbing beans on this.

Next I have two sheets of 10mm avairy wire attached to steel stakes, which I've driven in towards the back of the bed on the southern side(so as not to shade everything else). I found these perfect for Snow Peas last spring, the thinner wire just the right thickness for them to grab hold.

Covering the shortfall of mulch, I'm pretty much ready for the beans later in the week.

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