At long last the soil is warming up. At long last the weather is beginning to favour the vegetable gardener. Yesterday's main task was to get my first sowing of broad beans in. Space permitting I would like to make a second sowing by the middle of June. Maybe a trifle late, but hopefully we will have a long hot autumn.
A beech hedge surrounds the vegetable patch. A few of last year's desiccated leaves are still hanging on to the branches, stubbornly ignoring the nascent Mexican wave of fresh leaf growth that is gradually unfurling around them. A blackbird, half hidden by the branches of the hedge and seemingly oblivious to my presence kept up a constant song to its hidden or hoped for mate. Above me three pairs of swallows dived across the sky in staccato bursts, occasionally resting on a nearby telephone wire. But, hey ho, the gardening must proceed. Labor omnia vincit and all that jazz.
I find that Broad bean plants need more support than the seed packets tend to suggest. The bed in which I have sown the beans, (Kelvedon Wonder), is about eighteen feet wide. I have three posts along the course of the planting with five or so cross members at various heights. The cross members have holes drilled in them at either side and this allows me to thread through the supporting nylon cord/garden twine. (Builders' line can provides a cheaper alternative). I have sown a double row of bean seeds. The rows are about ten inches apart and the beans in each row are approximately four inches apart.