I’ve been asked many times how I prepare runner beans for the steamer and the table, so here is a little video showing the correct way to do it:
One thing I forgot to say on the video is ‘you need a sharp knife’.
It’s been a very good year for rhubarb in my English garden this year. Above is a picture of some stalks I picked the other day, and was glad to give away because there is only so much rhubarb you can eat as a family!
The leaves were gigantic as well. Here I am holding up two of them. They look like umbrellas, don’t they.
It has also been a very good year for runner beans:
and we have been eating them for a couple of weeks now. They are really a colder weather crop and so long as they get plenty of water, they always seem to do just fine. I prepare them as I was taught when I was small. My mother was very particular about the cutting process and I had to get them just right. The thinner the better. Later on when I got married, I bought a bean slicer, but it never did such a good job. Now I buy a new knife every summer and use it for the first time when the first beans come in from the garden. That way I get the best cut, just so long as it’s not my fingers!!!
We have lots of tomatoes, but they are not ripening very fast. We need more sunshine, please?
Lots of people have been clicking on a post I did last year about propagating geraniums. I’ll tell you how this year’s babies are doing next time.
I greet you from a very rainy England 🙂
After a slow start, the beans have come on in leaps and bounds and we have already had three meals for three people from them.
Good results down on the allotment too, as you can see from these pictures, taken at Stockwood Park:
Yes, it’s been a very good summer. Now the fields are golden and the farmers have been busy, bringing in the crops and already there is a slight hint of Autumn in the air.
At this time of year, mother earth is pregnant – ready to burst forth with her bounty. It is the middle of summer and the sun is at his highest, but just as it is at its best, the Sun King is ready to hand over to the Holly King and the wheel of the year is about to turn. The next picture shows my new garden bench, all ready for my husband to sit on it when he gets here in two weeks time. It seems fitting somehow, that he is coming over in the middle of the summer, on a full moon and just as the wheel is about to turn. Behind the seat you can see the bean poles, which the gardener ‘planted’ a few weeks ago. No sign of the beans to come, you may notice. Today the bean plants are beginning to go up the poles and I must take some more photos to show you their progress. It has been hard going this year. The beans had to be replanted because something below soil level chewed them up. The weather had been cold, wet and windy and really the little plants struggled and finally gave up. In all the years I’ve lived here in the cottage, that has never happened before.
However, all is not lost because runner beans are a cold weather plant and they will soon catch up and be delicious to eat.
The black bucket in the picture, which I forgot to erase, is our glass recycling bucket. We put all our surplus glassware in here and it is collected once a week by the dustbin men.
If my husband is a representative of the Sun King, loving the sun and coming from a very hot place, I am the representative of the Holly King, a product of the north with its cold winds and snow. I have a huge holly tree in my cottage garden. When I planted it, I wasn’t sure why I was drawn to it, but now that it has grown so tall, I realise that I needed it. It was just for me, a representative of all that I am. So I think my husband and I are perfectly balanced, he the sun, me the snow and our best and favourite time of the year is the Autumn, when we seem to come together in perfect unison.
The older I get, the more in touch with my earthly roots I become. Brought up as a Christian, I still maintain my religion, but I lean more and more towards the Wiccan philosophy, which seems to have all the answers to my questions. I don’t have to wonder about the events of long ago – whether or not they are plausible. The wheel of the year and the way that it turns makes perfect sense to me and worshiping the sun and the moon a perfect alternative. I don’t need churches, I just go into the garden and find God and his Goddess there.
I want to wish you a blessed Sunday. Follow your God or Goddess wherever they lead you, but most of all follow your heart.
These are the very first runner beans, picked on 10th August 2012. They are about six inches long. Eight inches is the best size for eating since if you pick them before that they get too long, they won’t be stringy. We had such a lot of rain in the early part of the year and through the summer, that the beans are at sixes and sevens. They are really a crop for the late summer. During the one week of really good sunshine we had, lots of flowers appeared and therefore lots of beans are coming. We will probably have a glut fairly soon.
The Sweet Peas were slow to get going too but now they are coming daily. Such pretty flowers.
With all the rain we’ve had this Spring and Summer, the rhubarb has been wonderful! Only problem has been what to do with it all. My favourite is rhubarb crumble and I’ll be posting a recipe for that in the near future. Meanwhile, it’s going to be rhubarb and custard, a perennial favourite.
The potatoes came out of the ground on Sunday this week. These are King Edward’s. Don’t they look fine. I had a few of them for my dinner on Sunday and they tasted delicious. I wondered if they would be a throw away crop, totally saturated with all the rain, but no, they had grown bigger than usual but they were all ok.
Also in the vegetable garden, there has been an excess of flowers on the runner beans and we have some embryo beans coming along. Look closely at the next picture and you will see what I mean. When my grandson Dylan gets back from Sandy Bay, with his bucket and spade, he will be delighted that his beans are growing strong. I still haven’t told him about the giant at the top of the stalk!
Let’s have a close look at these gorgeous flowers. No black beetles on there yet!
Happy Gardening folks!
I had to reach up really high to grab this beautiful climbing rose so I could take a picture of him. Holding him steady with one hand and taking a picture with the other is not easy, believe me but I am quite pleased with the result. He is a little bit ragged round the edges owing to the rain this week, but overall he is surviving nicely and showing off his pretty colours, don’t you agree?
Don’t you just love the contrast in the colours below? The white of the feverfew with the blood red of the Sweet Williams is just gorgeous.
The potatoes are doing ok but the true test will be when I dig them up! I hope they are not rotten in the ground. We have had the worst summer ever in England this year and that’s not just my opinion! Apparently we are importing a lot of vegetables from abroad now because we have just had too much rain.
The runner beans (on the left) have at last got some flowers – now we need lots of pollinating insects to get them going so they set. In the front are some tomatoes – not many flowers yet!!!
The runner beans look healthy enough and most years it is hard to get enough water to their roots, but this year I don’t think I’ve had to water them at all. I can’t believe we were in a drought situation at the start of April! We even had a hosepipe ban!
These Sweet Williams are that cerise colour which looks so good in a fashion show.
…and doesn’t the yellow contrast so well with the silvery green of the dogwood?
In the next picture we’ve got purple and white. White lifts every other colour and what would have been a dark corner is now ablaze. Even some liatris has got in with the feverfew.