Just 3 Beans

gardening is great


Welcome to March and our Three Bean Challenge! We need you to channel your inner Jack and the Beanstalk and use these beans to grow enough beans for you and your family to eat all Summer long. As the variety is called 'Enorma' there will probably be enough to freeze a few or make Runner Bean Chutney as well! ( Don't worry - I'll be posting a recipe!)

Have a go - instructions are also in rosie's preserving school facebook group and will be in the Spring edition of Simply Preserved Magazine. Are we going to have some fun along the way? You bet - keep a record of the weights as you pick and then send in a total and we'll see just how much our lovely customers can grow when we put our minds to it - there might even be a little prize for the heaviest crop - no cheating though!

Do not fret it you don't have a garden - these three beans will grow in a big pot by your front door, balcony, or patio. If you would like a companion for them plant another pot with a bush tomato plant and you will have tomatoes as well! Plenty of time to get organised as you don't need to sow the beans until mid-April ready to plant in your big pot later.



To grow you will need either 3 small flowerpots, old yoghurt pots, cardboard tubes from loo roll or kitchen roll, or those little newspaper pots - even baked bean tins washed out with a couple of holes in the bottom will be fine. You will also need 3 x bamboo garden canes around 5ft long or 1.8ms. One large flower pot 40-50cms across the top, plus one bag of potting compost. Save a plastic bottle from water or soda if
you can.

To start the seeds off, choose your small 'pot' - yoghurt pots or metal tins will need a couple of holes in the bottom - be careful! Fill the pots with compost and place on a waterproof tray - the trays that mushrooms are sold in don't usually have any holes and are good for this.

Make sure that the compost is moist but not soaking wet and push one bean into each pot down to a depth about twice as long as the bean - this is not critical - please don't get out the ruler! Cover it over and place in the tray and leave on a windowsill where it will get some sunlight. Maybe put the tray on some folded kitchen paper to save your paintwork.

Make sure that the compost is kept moist and keep an eye on it if you have a cat . . . .

After about 10 days you should begin to see some signs of life and the bean shoot, once free of its bean prison will grow quite quickly - Jack certainly knew what he was talking about!



Once the days are getting warmer prepare your large pot outside. Put it into position and if you can find about half a dozen stones or pieces of old broken pottery/flowerpots - known as crocks - put the into the base. Either tear up some cardboard or scrunch up some newspaper and place on top of the crocks - a layer about 10cms/4 inches deep will be fine. If you have saved some banana skins they can go in on top of the paper, or other kitchen waste like peelings ( not citrus ) greens, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds - about the same depth as the paper. These layers are all to retain as much moisture as possible and to give up their nutrients directly to the roots of the plants. Fill the pot up with the remains of the bag of compost. Give it water if the weather is dry.

When you are ready to plant your beans out when the weather is good, and there are no frosts - from May onwards - push each of the canes into the pot spaced evenly around the edge of the pot. Tie together at the top to make a wigwam shape. Make a hole beside each cane and gently take the bean plant from its pot and place in the hole. Firm the compost around it. If you have used newspaper pots then plant the whole thing, plant and paper-pot together. Water well and leave them to settle in. Cut the end off of the drinks bottle you have saved, remove the cap and push the pointy end into the soil in the centre of the pot. You can add water through this which will slow down the flow into the pot so that it doesn't just drain out.

The beans will climb up their canes very well without any help and the next event will be the arrival of the beautiful red flowers. The bees will pollinate them for you and they will develop into the beans, Ladybirds will help to keep them free of aphids for you. Make sure that you keep them watered and add some of your homemade feed of coffee grounds spread around on the surface, a regular dose of banana water or you can buy a seaweed feed and follow the instructions on the pack.

Email me any questions, send me pics of your beans - don't forget to keep a tally of your beans when you pick them - let's see how many kilos we can grow!


save everyday household packaging to recycle for seed sowing

fill your containers with compost and sow your seeds

easy plant food from soaked banana skins

Spent coffee grounds bring extyra goodness to your plants - just spread around the base of the plant and water

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