Curly Cristo

044I am currently trialling climbing French bean ‘Monte Cristo’ for Which? Gardening and have joined their community online forum to discuss any interesting aspects which come to light during the growing phase and subsequent taste trial. Like all French beans, they were easy and quick to germinate pushed into some peat free compost in toilet roll inners, so nothing to report on that score. They romped away when I planted them out in late May and quickly got to the top of their 8′ canes despite some slug and snail damage to the lower leaves. The foliage and flowers quickly followed and by mid-July the beans started to form. That’s when I noticed something odd. A lot of the beans were curly!039

Not all of them of course, most of them were just fine but I thought I had better report the curliness as it was a trial and all comments are appreciated, no matter how daft. Suddenly the forum was full of ‘mine too’ comments so not so daft after all!045

Some knowledgeable friends with allotments suggest the problem is possibly erratic watering, a bit like the problem you get when tomatoes split. It could also be due to the beans touching or leaning on other stems, beans or foliage rather than hanging down which could send growth in the wrong direction. However, they also make the point that virtually all climbing bean varieties produce some curly beans but people are conditioned to expect straight ones because that’s what they buy in the supermarkets which reject the curly ones!040

They all taste wonderful, curly or straight! That lovely squeaky, nutty but strangely sweet taste that is so much nicer than runner beans (in my humble opinion) and the best bit of all is they are totally stringless, even when they are a bit old. A quick top and tail and into a pan of boiling water for a few minutes and Bob’s your uncle, delicious with a knob of butter. All observations, comments and suggestions gratefully received from any visiting readers which I will pass on to Which? for their information.

The Big Debate

019A friend asked me why my beech hedge keeps its brown leaves all winter and only casts them off in May whereas the beech tree in the corner of my garden sheds all its leaves in winter. I don’t know! I am pretty sure that beech hedges and trees start out the same so why do they behave so differently?

Is it perhaps that we trim our beech hedges in August? Is it because trimming the hedge dwarfs the plant and this causes it?

Help!

The Big Debate

Thank you all for your kind comments, it’s good to know my little blog is appreciated. Another topic for debate next week!

David's Garden Diary

Cosmos bipinnatusI have recently been alerted to the power and spread of this blog. It has amazed me and I feel rather humble as a result. The fact that people from all over the globe read my words is simply wonderful.

So, I wondered if those who read this would do me the enormous favour of joining in with a few lines of comment on a subject of my choice. Just a few words, that’s all. Unless you want to let rip in which case, be my guest.

Today’s subject is my neighbour’s contention that “Life is too short for dead heading Cosmos”. I think I may have already provided a clue as to how I feel about that!

I look forward to hearing your opinions!

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