The Big Allotment Challenge – Episode 2

This week they started off with Runner Beans. You had to show 6 perfectly straight ones, and none of them were allowed to be past their prime. It’s much harder than it sounds. I love growing Runner Beans, they are very giving, and keep producing until the first frosts. They are a little high maintenance, as they don’t like the cold, one little bit. A bit like me really, I prefer to be all snug and warm. There was no mention of when to sow the seeds though. To decide when is the best time to sow them, you have to work backwards. Let me explain. Find out when your last frost date in your area is. Beans don’t like frost as it will kill any bean plant that it comes in contact with. Where I live in the SE of the UK our last frost date is 31st May. Then work back 4 weeks and sow your seeds then (the beginning of May). Make sure you keep them in the greenhouse as this protects them from the frost and cold. Then 7-10 days before you plan to plant them out, get them used to the scary world outside, but putting them outside during the day, and bringing them in at night. If high winds are forecast during the day don’t put them outside as the wind will damage their leaves and maybe their buds. The day after your last frost they can be planted outside, and supported by canes. Four weeks in the greenhouse is enough time for the plants to become sturdy enough to be ready for planting outside. They won’t be too tall and start to twist round each other. They should be about 12 inches tall, which is manageable to more without damaging them.

Here are my videos on How to Sow Runner Beans. Then How to Plant Runner Beans outside. Can’t seem to find the video I did on harvesting Runner Beans, but make sure the beans inside don’t get fat, otherwise the bean has gone too far.

The second challenge of the summer wreath was very interesting, I’m not sure I would have the patients to do something like that, but they all looked very pretty. And finally the challenge to make a sauce and relish. Some very interesting combinations there. Not sure if I’d try the really hot chilli sauce the fabulous men with beards made, or maybe I will, but with fewer chilli’s. I think they’re fab to watch. I think they said something like “We do as little work as possible”. Brilliant!!

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6 Responses to The Big Allotment Challenge – Episode 2

  1. allotmentmum says:

    I agree some practical tips would be useful. I just don’t get the obsession with straight beans though. Who cares what shape they are?! I’d be more interested to know if they were organically grown.

    • Personally I prefer the really curly beans, I think they’ve got more flavour. I’m looking forward to tonights episode though, it’s about carrots I think. I usually find a few that have loads of legs, but then some lovely straight ones. They all taste the same, but the wonky ones make for an interesting photograph.

  2. Brett says:

    I have noticed a lot of people slating the show via twitter and Facebook because it isn’t showing much growing etc. I am enjoying the show for what it is ….entertainment. To fit in all the growing tips etc it it would be two hours long. People need to sit back and enjoy the show, the contestants are nice the format is okay. For more tips on growing watch all the youtube video’s an the subject.

    • I’m not slating the show at all. But would just like to see a little more information about how and when to start growing the items that they’re harvesting. I think it would be useful for those who are maybe thinking of growing for the first time. It wouldn’t take long, just a couple of minutes.

  3. keith says:

    I agree with the comment above. It’s quite an entertaining show, but not very informative. That’s Claire for youe excellent advice on planting runners. An excellent blog, as always. 🙂

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