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Posts Tagged ‘runner beans’

Today our crack team of neighbours delivered growbags to front gardens for our community veg growing project in Finsbury Park -huge thanks to David, Bernd, Matt, Graham and Liesbet.

Next weekend we’ve organised another Cake Sunday , so that participants can meet up over tea and home-made cake and collect seeds for veg growing this year.

We’ve found that both Runner and French beans grow really well in the free municipal compost (thanks North London Waste and Islington council),

and this year we’re giving away purple French beans, ‘Cosse Violette’, and Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’ for those who have extra space to grow in too.

There’ll also be packets of wildflower seeds for tree pits as these really brighten up our neighbourhood along with the veg and flowers grown in front gardens.

Whilst on our travels we came across this fab suitcase which will make a great mini raised bed. Perfect for some Swiss chard I think! We quickly drilled some holes in the bottom and filled it up with compost ready for planting. It may not last many years, but should see us through this growing season at least.

For more durable (and more storable ) mini raised beds, you could look at these gro-beds from Marshalls. Both suitcase and gro-bed are a great solution if you have no soil, but want to grow veg in your garden, and they’re deep and wide enough to grow a large choice of fruit and veg.

Growing in containers and growbags is going to be a challenge this year as the hosepipe ban starts in the South of England at the beginning of April, but planting in larger pots and containers should reduce the amount of watering that’ll need to be done. If you have the room and the money, it would be worth investing in a water butt which can be situated near your veg and this should make watering somewhat easier if no taps are near to hand. Thames Water have some reasonably priced plastic water butts which they’ll deliver to your door too. (I know this is slightly ironic as they’re one of the companies introducing a water ban-come on Thames Water-get those leaky pipes fixed!)

However, despite this potential extra work, I still think that nothing can beat the sheer delight of growing your own fruit and veg and there’s nothing better than leaning out of your window or popping into the front (or back) garden to collect your dinner too.

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Here’s one I made earlier! In the raised bed are orange tulips, ‘Ballerina’, the pink tulips are ‘Curly Sue’, plus some orange Ranunculus and giant red Mustard leaf (as per my header above!). As the ground beneath the beds is fairly solid clay, the raised beds, filled with much lighter, but nutrient rich soil, provide ideal growing conditions for my flowers and veg. And eventually, the worms will work the compost into the clay, improving the soil below.

And here’s the same bed before it was planted up. One palette makes a complete raised bed measuring approx 3m long by 1m wide. Perfect size for my front garden.

These were the most useful tools I found to break up the palette. A sledge-hammer and a crowbar. I was struggling away with a normal hammer and a chisel, when Manuel, my neighbour, came to my rescue and produced these great tools. If you don’t have these, then worth asking neighbours/ friends or family, as they do make the job a lot easier. You’ll also need a saw, a normal hammer and nails to build the bed, once you’ve deconstructed the palette.

So here’s neighbour Claire demonstrating ‘how to’. Firstly, remove as many nails from the outside of the slat as possible.

Then, get the crowbar right under the slat, hammer it in and gently prize away the slat from the post, being careful not to be too gung-ho and splitting the slat in the process.

With 14 slats to remove, it can take some time, but your endeavours will be rewarded!

Hammer out any remaining nails,

et voila! Wood, ready to build your raised bed with. Saw the 4 posts (the shorter pieces of wood) in half, so you have 8 smaller posts.

Then start nailing slats to each post. For the centre posts, the slats should be nailed to meet in the middle of the post.

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