This year has been a bit of an experiment in the fruit cage. In addition to growing fruit and acting as a holding place for seedlings, I have been growing my peas and beans here.
As the photo above shows I have tried growing a dwarf type of pea – hatif – in the vertical growing gutters. They have done OK and are using the mesh of the fruit cage as support.
I also tried growing broadbeans in gutters, it works to start them off but they then get leggy so I transplanted them into the ground. The dwarf beans I planted in the gutters haven’t done very well. I don’t know why as I always start them off in gutters on the ground before transplanting. Maybe with the irrigation they were too wet?
In addition to hatif d’annonay peas I have been growing some telephone climbing peas that apparently can grow to more than 10foot high. These are fabulous and very tasty. I will try saving some of these for next year. Any hints for saving peas, do I just let them dry out on the plant as with beans?
I planted some petit pois as well, but these haven’t grown very big so far. In this image the mangetout are on the left, peas in the middle and the second batch of broad beans on the right.
The climbing fences are semi-permanent so it should be easier to get everything started next year.
I have grown two or three types of mangetout; some oregon sugar pod, a yellow heritage type and another one that I can’t remember. I really like the yellow ones, they have lovely purple flowers. I will try and save some of each type.
The mangetout have done very well – we are eating them nearly everyday, often in salads, but I am not complaining at all.
Broadbeans were mainly aquadulche, but also some Leidse Hangdown and Robin Hood, but although I put markers in the ground the torrential rain we have had and my higgledy-piggledy system of planting means I really don’t know which bean is from which type of plant!
I have been eating the small broadbeans, pod and all (see here), but this weekend I will harvest some of the larger ones for their beans. And I will try and save some of the seed.
Lastly I planted a variety of beans: borlotti (for drying), climbing beans (cosse violette), some dwarf beans and runner beans. None of these have flowered yet and some haven’t even been transplanted from their seed tray into the ground – another job for the weekend! The borlotti I planted from saved beans have grown – now to see if they flower and fruit.
Next year I will make a bigger effort to record and assess the various types I plant, but to be honest, growing vegetables for me is all about frantically sowing and getting things into the ground, manically harvesting, and judiciously ignoring the weeds …. not much time for reflection and consideration.