“Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.” -Marcelene Cox

A couple of months ago I planted out around 100 bean and pea seeds, partly as an experiment, partly as a way to cover the garden to prevent weed growth, and also as a chance to grow some food.

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Beans from the Polytunnel

When I lived in Collinsvale I had no success in growing produce in the winter.  Every time I attempted to grow food or seedlings, they were all destroyed by the extreme cold weather we experienced.  Now that I am in a more temperate zone, I want to see whether I produce anything in the winter.  At the start of winter, I gathered up all my pea and bean seed packets that were approaching their expiry dates.  I decided to use these in my experiment, so that I wouldn’t waste good quality products.  Another aspect of this experiment was testing the difference between growing these seeds in poly tunnels vs. unprotected on the ground, vs. grown in the ground and covered in straw.   I was pretty surprised with the results.

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Beans in straw

The poly tunnel seeds showed the lowest amount of growth, which was surprising.  I can possibly lay some of this failure on reduced water that they may have received, yet to be honest I don’t really know how this happened.  The seeds that had straw laid on top grew the second best.  Again, I am not sure why this occurred.  I thought that the straw would keep frost from effecting the seedlings, and perhaps it did… yet their growth was still less than spectacular.  The seeds in the unprotected ground grew best out the batch, their height was easily double that of the plants in the poly tunnel.

Beans in raised beds
Beans in raised beds

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