Gardening Magazine

Frost Hits the Runner Beans

By Chooksandroots @chooksandroots

I’m feeling rather foolish this week. If I was eating an egg, some would most definitely be on my face, and if I had a blackboard to hand, I’d be scribing “Patience is a virtue” 100 times.

After nurturing my runner beans into fine specimens, and blathering on about “there’s still a risk of frost”, what did I do? Well, I’ll tell you… I got a bit giddy with excitement at the sniff of a bit of warm weather a week or so ago, and I planted my beans out. For a couple of days they were going great guns. They looked fit and perky, basking in the balmy climate, and I was envisaging a bean-filled summer ahead.

Then one night… just ONE NIGHT… the temperature cooled and we had a frost. And the beans now look decidedly sick.

Runner beans before the frost

Before the frost

Runner beans - frost damage

After the frost… spot the difference!

I could have avoided this disaster in a number of ways. Most obviously, I could have left the beans in the greenhouse for a few more weeks out of harm’s way. But as they were already out, I could have protected them more from said frost. A blanket of fleece or bubble wrap might have done the trick, as might a cloche. Anything really, to keep the cold air off them. But the damage has been done, so on to Plan B.

The beans have well and truly carked it, but all is not lost. I have planted some stunt doubles up in the greenhouse. Runner beans grow quite quickly, and you can even plant them straight in the ground from the middle of May onwards, so the new plants should have time to catch up. I may end up with a later crop, but any crop is better than none at all.

Dashing out in the garden to soak up some Bank Holiday rays last weekend, I also cracked on with some other jobs.

I’ve planted out my vast collection of leek and onion seedlings. These should fare better than the beans, as they are now a good size, and have been totally outdoors now for a couple of weeks to harden off. They should laugh in the face of any cold snaps, and establish themselves into prize winning specimens now they can stretch out a bit. A good watering after planting them should help them on no end too.

In other news, we’ve had four new chickens. We were down to just two, and as they are quite old girls, the egg production has been a bit sporadic of late. So we popped out at the weekend and bought four new hens. They’re only 17 weeks old, so should start laying at any time. We were expecting a riot when we introduced them to the old girls, but touch wood they are getting on fine so far. I think it helps as there are four against one – Winnie and Maud are outnumbered. We just need to think of names now…

Four new chickens

Four new chickens

This one appeared in The Hinckley Times 0n 9 May 2013

The Hinckley Times 9 May 2013

The Hinckley Times 9 May 2013

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