Growing pains: Flash nets, cool beans
PUBLISHED: 16:38 16 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:42 20 February 2013
More from Jayne Lindill down on the allotment
My allotment neighbour Eric, and I, were discussing my very flashy nets. These are nothing as glamorous as the sort you wear to parties with a little black dress and impossible stilettos, but rather the hoop and mesh type that keep my crops safe from marauding bugs, birds and beasts such as rabbits.
Rabbits, I said. Have you ever seen so many?
Why cant they eat weeds? Eric wanted to know, as he slaved away on all fours, ripping out copious amounts of groundsel and couch grass.
If I could find a way of running my car on weeds I could save myself a lot of money. We looked at each other in one of those Eureka! moments and he disappeared into his shed. I havent seen him since. I wonder how the projects going.
Late spring and early summer have delivered a fine crop of broad beans. I sowed them in November and they came through without a trace of blackfly, fat and delicious. Ive lifted my early potatoes too, again with no sign of blight, which bodes well for the second earlies and main crop.
Everything else is coming along apace carrots and parsnips, beetroot, peas and runner beans.
Which brings me to another story. I was standing at the bus stop the other evening next to a couple of chaps, one of whom had a pot of runner bean plants. I couldnt help overhearing their conversation (well I wouldnt be a journalist if I didnt keep my ears open now, would I?)
What you got there, says one.
Runner beans, says the other. White lady. Then ensued a lovely story about how the first chap was given a handful of runner bean seed 24 years ago by a lady friend who was dying. He planted them, they grew and cropped. The best beans hes ever tasted.
He saved some seed for the following year and did the same thing. And hes been doing it every year since, his friends spirit living on in the runner bean seeds.
I never expected growing vegetables to be so moving.