Bed & Breakfast nr Leigh, Tonbridge, Kent

RUNNER BEANS – and how…..!

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 in Charcott Blog, Life at Charcott

RUNNER BEANS – and how…..!

 It’s a positive age since I posted.  Just too much happening with lots of guests, battling to get    washing done and dried with never ending rain,  and just no time to think or write.   And what am I blogging about this time?  Well………… runner beans actually.  Which had me well and truly  crippled for 48 hours earlier this week!

 The story begins with the offer of 20 or so bean sprouts a few weeks ago from our lovely  friend who lives just up the road from here.  This lady I swear is the Monty Don of Charcott.  She has a ravishing garden and an amazing ability to nurture tiny sickly green shoots into glorious masses of colourful blooms, whereas I have generally only to look at anything green for it to promptly turn yellow and keel over!  Anyway, this time I thought I’d make a serious effort – after all surely anyone can grow runner beans can’t they…….??  

So, after much fork prodding I found a perfect site just in front of the New Shed.  (The New Shed has been a major project over the last couple of months and was finally completed about a week ago.  It looks amazing and is a vast improvement on the pair of collapsing shacks that have housed the mower and garden tools for the last 20 years).  And I started digging.  Now, I wonder how many of you have ever tried to dig Weald clay after over a month’s almost solid rain.  It’s a bit like when you were a small child and had taken that second serious deep chew of a large caramel toffee and then tried to separate your teeth – know what I mean?  Not easy!   Added to which there was still a mass of thistles and convolvulous embedded in it that needed serious clearing and removing from the area.  Halfway through DH appeared and, after watching for five minutes or so, kindly volunteered for the tough job of driving to Homebase to purchase bean poles.  Offer gratefully received through gritted teeth and digging continued.  After an hour muscles were seriously aching and blisters starting to appear – but I reckoned I was getting on for halfway there.  We were due at the new Cinammon Square indian restaurant with friends later that evening so just time to leap out of muddy jeans and into reasonably clean skirt before we were off. 

Next day with clouds looming it was a case of now or never!  So a frantic further 2 hours of digging and clearing followed before a dash down the road to pick up the bean shoots.  And there they were, gently nurtured and immaculate in glorious crumbly ironstone soil.  Little did they know what lay ahead of them!  Half an hour later I was home again and battling, as the wind rose, to put up the 2 wigwams of bamboo sticks. Note to self – this is best done from the outside and not as I did with the first one, tying it overhead and then finding myself trapped……with no way of squeezing through the six inch gaps….!!  Finally wigwams were complete and I was once again down on my knees ready to plant the little bean shoots.  And did I ever feel like a wicked stepmother!  I had tried and tried to break up the sticky clay but my best efforts had still resulted in thick claggy lumps.  So one by one I dug and gently pushed these poor little fragile beings into their new home and I swear I could almost hear the protests.  “You can’t be serious?  Grow in this? – you must be kidding!!”   But there we go – you must do your best children!  Another hour went by and finally they were all watered in and as comfortable as I could make them  

Which is more than could be said for self’s aching back and legs which by this time were feeling as though they had run the London Marathon twice over.  Limping back to the house with fingers tightly crossed for beans to flourish and for any remaining convulvulous not to treat them and the accompanying poles as an adventure playground (which I suspect is high on the probability scale!) I managed a quick easy supper for DH and son before finally collapsing into hot bath laden with generous amonts of Radox.  Deep sleep followed but oh boy, next morning………….!  Getting out of bed involved rolling onto the floor, then a slow torturous gradual climb to reach a vertical position.  Muscles screamed in protest at every move.  Changing beds took all morning and forget hanging out any washing!  Meanwhile on a more cheerful note, the little runner beans when I finally creaked down to visit them had recovered from the shock of their new dwellings and to my relief were bravely holding up well in spite of the force 10 gale battering them. 

So there we are.  Limbs are now more or less back to normal, so far so good with the beans and family had better jolly well appreciate the results which, provided the aforementioned convolvulous can be kept in order, should start to appear on the table around about the end of August!  Watch this space for Runner Beans with Peanuts recipe.