Edible garden: Stalking beans

By Janice Marriott

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Plant broad beans and peas now - it's the prefect time, says Janice Marriott.

Beans. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today
Beans. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today

Broad beans and peas germinate in cool soils and the seeds can be planted now. To stop blackbirds eating the new pea shoots, and to give the young plants something to hold on to, I poke a lavender pruning into the soil where I plant each pea.

Lavender is one of those perennials that need a lot of pruning to keep it full of flower spikes and not get too woody.

So the lavender branches become pea-row markers and supports, windbreaks and bird foils.

Broad beans will flower in two months, and be ready to eat in three. To combat the winter gales, plant them in a square rather than a row, and try dwarf varieties like Dutch White Seeded and Evergreen. Broad beans are pollinated by bees, so don't cover the plants with netting or frost cloth.

Soak the big seeds in water overnight to speed up the germination process. After the plants have flowered, and before the pods have formed, you can pick the leafy top shoots and steam them as delicious green vegetables.

- NZ Herald

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