Sunday, 22 March 2009
When my grandparents died my uncle managed to rescue many treasures from the house and the garden. Grampy died at the end of summer and there were nine runner bean plants with pods on. He had been growing his from saved seed for years and years. Everyone did. Why would you go out and buy new seed when you had your own that you had grown the year before? What a waste of money. So my uncle saved the seeds from these nine plants, and has kept them going as the same nine genetic lines. He grows them all in his garden, but as numbered plants, and saves one pod from each for seed for the next year. They cross pollinate, of course, but in an attempt to keep genetic diversity high he has the nine 'bloodlines' and plants one of each every year.
And now it is my turn to join him in this project. I have been entrusted with my own seeds from these Heritage Runner Beans. But they aren't just any old heritage runners, these are MY heritage. MY inheritance. These are (allowing for genetic changes) the beans of my childhood.
It's an awesome responsibility.
I have been given instructions on growing, labelling plants and pods, on seed saving and on protecting the precious plants from slugs and small boys.
I hope it all goes well, and that I have some delicious beans to eat, and can keep this heritage going. I hope I don't screw up.
There is already variability in the seeds. Some are bigger, some are purpler. I'll have to wait and see what variability there is in the actual plants.
You may notice that there is no bean #8. That plant didn't do well last year and only produced one bean. My uncle has kept this to grow in his garden. Hopefully it will do well this year and I will have a #8 next year.
I am full of hope, and full of fear. At least I am not the only one with these beans. There are two of us trying to keep this heritage alive now. That's double last year...
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Friday, 6 March 2009
I reused some old drawers as raised beds. They have shallots in them. The soil near the path isn't actually soil, just sand and random builders rubble, so to get anything to grow there it needed to be in a raised bed. We'll see how this 'reduce-reuse-recycle' innovation does...
Notice that there is one empty bed... I have been considering what to put in this last one. I didn't have enough shallots... some of the ones in the pack had gone a bit mouldy. Note to self: don't buy shallots early and expect them to survive being ignored for a month on a shelf in the dining room! Anyway... been considering either strawberries or asparagus! Am leaning towards asparagus... you can go strawberry picking easily around here, but not asparagus picking. I know that asparagus takes a couple of years to get established, and that has put me off in the past. But since we will be in this house for a good long time now seems as good a time as any!
Oh, and good news on the rhubarb front. Remember I had moved it? Well it didn't die, and is putting forth some lovely red stems... not long now until our first stewed rhubarb and icecream!!!
Bought some purple asparagus for the 4th bed. Only 2 yrs now until we get to eat some.