I have been hiding for the past week, paying heed to the storm and snowfall warnings from the met office. At last, it seemed that it was safe to emerge. In fact, having had a cursory nose poke outside, it was almost as if the terrible weather had never happened. After such confinement, I was eager to kick off the growing season and get my green fingers grubby.
So, what could I grow in a pot outside in late January? Broadly speaking, not a lot. Narrowly speaking, broad beans. I am a big fan of broad beans. Not the big tough ones in their chewy grey skin, but the young baby ones. When they have been blanched for a few minutes and then popped out of their little leather jackets, the bright green beans are sweet, tender and pretty. I feel a song coming on…
I am starting my beans off in Rootrainers and transplanting them into large pots to grow on later in the Spring. I have chosen a popular dwarf variety, ‘the Sutton’ as I intend to grow them on in containers. I have also mixed in a few ‘Crimson flowered’ beans for that ornamental touch.
As the beans are going to stay in their Rootrainers for a while, I used potting rather than seed compost for extra nutrition. I got my green fingers grubby by poking a little hole in each cell ready to receive the beans. Then I popped one bean in each hole and covered them over with more compost. The beans should be happy outside under-cover in my cold frame, as long as I remember to water and ventilate them on warmer days.
If you have a veg patch that isn't too soggy, you can sow where they grow now under cloches. The advice from Grandpa Haxnicks is to only sow broad beans directly in the ground now if you have well drained soil and a cat. The cat is to eat the mice who will eat your beans!