Planting Broad Beans and Early Peas

The weather’s improving, which means that it’s time to start planting up the plot that we’ve spent so long painstakingly digging over, and over, and over… During the next couple of months, we should be able to sow vegetable seeds pretty regularly, and the first went in today.

It felt like a big moment: planting dormant fruit trees and bushes is one thing, but the vegetables are what it’s all about. The ground-breaking seeds were broad beans and the first of the peas, but they’ll soon be followed by parnsips and carrots, and then many more.

Broad beans are supposed to be planted with 30cm between individual rows and 60cm between pairs of rows. That doesn’t quite fit in with our spacing, which is based on establishing 1m wide raised beds. One pair of rows wouldn’t be a particularly good use of space, and two pairs of rows wouldn’t fit, so we’ve gone for a revolutionary new approach, the triple-row: three rows spaced 40cm apart. It’s radical stuff; have we gone too far?

This corner of the legumes bed now contains peas and beans

We’re going to be growing three varieties of peas: an early (Early Onward), a maincrop (Cavalier), and a late maincrop (Geisha). Today we sowed the Early Onward. Different people plant peas in different ways, but we put ours in a double row with a 60cm spacing between the rows. When the peas start to grow, we’ll use some of the hedge trimmings that we’ve still got piled at the top of the plot as supports for them to grow up.

Today’s other achievement was top-dressing the strawberry bushes with manure (if we’d got hold of the manure earlier, we’d have dug it in before planting, but we didn’t). It was a little awkward getting a layer of manure underneath the weed fabric that we’ve planted the strawberries through, but as I left this job to my visiting father-in-law (thanks Dave!), I won’t complain.

Today was one of those days where the sun is shining and it’s just good to be outdoors digging. Besides, there’s rugby on this afternoon, and it’s always to best to watch rugby with arms and legs aching from a morning’s exercise, to make you feel a little more like you’re part of the action.

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