MARCH 2018 | Nell Carr
DILIGENT VEGETABLE growers are now reaping the rewards of their springtime labours.
Dwarf green beans are some of the most valuable of these. They should always be harvested before they go tough and stringy. Sliced, they may be used raw in a salad.
Surplus are easily preserved for the winter months by taking o tops and tails, cooking briefly, cooling in ice cold water, save the water for the garden, dabbing them dry and spreading on a foil-covered tray and freezing for a couple of hours. They can then be broken up and stored in the freezer in butter boxes.
The easy way to harvest is to pull the plants out of the soil, sitting in the shade and removing the beans. Most of the pods are ready to harvest simultaneously.
To ensure pollination, shake the flowering heads (pictured) on hot sunny days, and the pollen will fall on the cobs developing below.
It has been said that lack of water is responsible for cobs not developing fully to the tips of the cobs, but there is also a belief that it might be a result of poor pollination.
Garden thug of the month
Valerian is now showing its insipid pink flowers in gardens and street beds of northern towns. This plant is extremely invasive, and should be rooted out before it seeds.