Of beans in winter

Of beans in winter

It is winter here now. Mid July in Auckland has turned into a real winter – cold, rain, southerly winds straight off the antarctic ice.

Yet here is the productive bean harvest from yesterday – aren’t plastic tunnels amazing!

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I planted beans mid autumn as an experiment – lets see if we can extend our bean season!

I’d heard from Stella that ‘Prince’ dwarf beans were OK to eat and grew better than others in cooler conditions – early in the season and late at the end of the normal bean season.

We gave the bed some compost, rock fertilizer and ‘Fodda’ with wonderful mix of nutrients. Just a little as beans will produce the part we like to eat better with little nitrogen [or they make lots of leaves and few fruits we eat].

They grew – and grew well.

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Then the weather got cooler. Cold winds were forecast so out came a plastic tunnel house to protect them.

Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529
Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529

They kept growing then flowered – and then fruited – and kept fruiting for weeks!

We were very impressed [well, those who like beans were. Those who aren’t beans fans were not very impressed at all].

Eventually they slowed down in bean production. The weather turned even colder and a real winter storm was forecast so I finally cut the stems off at the base [leaving the roots to decompose and add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil].

I picked the last of the smaller beans for us to eat [shown in the colander].

Beans with big seeds were left on the plants. I put them in a bucket to have time to send the nutrients from the plant into the seeds as they ripened and made hard seed coats. These will be our seeds to plant next season.

 

Overall, we were thrilled to have extended the season way beyond our normal one so will consider doing this again in future.

Maybe you might like to extend seasons of your favorite crops with plastic houses or tunnels or cloches too. It’s well worth a try.

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

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