Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose
Photo: Journey Worker Productions, CC SA 3.0 (C)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

rethinking broad beans

A small broad bean harvest from the kitchen - enough to go in a bowl of soup.

A good article on broad beans -

I have been pondering broad beans because I left a few of them in the garden to hold down soil and see how they would go, expecting them to wither away. We have had an unseasonably mild summer start here, but strangely they have flourished - they have grown and podded well. (They are also completely effortless and need no looking after at all).

This success surprised me when I put it alongside the conventional idea that legumes and broad beans are a winter crop. But then rethinking my childhood, there were summer lupins everywhere, which are another Fabaceae.

Here's a page on lupins -

It turns out that Western Australia is pretty big in lupins -

and there is [was?] a lupin trial site not far from where I remembered seeing them riding to school in the 1980s. Apparently these were feral escapees from the programme.

So my speculation is - perhaps broad beans are not a 'winter crop' in any intrinsic sense, but only in the sense that there are better things to grow in summer, and the broad bean will recharge the soil in winter as a nitrogen-restorer. So is there is no intrinsic 'winter' quality to them, but only a (northern European) intelligent trade off that makes no sense/is worth rethinking in hoc loco?

Any thoughts?

Sunday, 10 January 2016

translucent mushroom!

I lost about 40% of the garden over the break, while I was away for 12 days. The heatwaves just killed much of the small pots. My plan was to do a comparison with November, but the seasonal difference makes that a bit pointless. So I am moving on from there, and just showing it how it is now.

The garden is slowly growing back though, which is quite pleasing.

Here is a strange translucent toadstool I found in the garden this morning, surrounded by very small daikons. I wonder if it isn't the fruiting body of grey-rot fungus that infects daikons, because the mulch is just a load of old daikon-straw I dumped on the ground (some of which you can make out - it looks like straw!). If anyone has any idea, let me know!

Here's another picture -

Here's a neglected pot of mustard (the yellow flowers in the black pot), a curcurbit of some kind (mid lower, large green leaves), some mallow (low left, smaller leaves), a degenerating daikon (top of red pot), and a tallish (2ft) fat hen (next to the red pot that is lying in the shelf.). In the background top you can see a rather successful tomato plant.

As for tomato plants, here is how they are going - pretty good!

The pot in the bottom left of the screen is a mixed pot of oddities. Most of it is fat hen. The plan is that it would be like the pot at the front right - a pot of fat hen that I slowly eat for greens. But a few other things have popped up - including the amaranth in the lowest part of the pot (note the different leaf shape from the fat hen) that I threw in seeds of and mulch of in mid dec. It has grown very quickly.

Here's a few of the things in there.
I do not know what this one is - I suppose we will see.

And this one is a sweet potato that I replanted to see whether it would grow and what its leaf looked like:

I will dig out the pictures of the others when they become clearer.

(I have lightly edited this post to correct the grammar since I wrote it this morning)