Or when you get rather more than expected…
A straggly mess: that’s what had become of the raised bed where dwarf French beans grew earlier in the season. As is normal for autumn, the bean plants were turning brown and dying back. So today I set about removing them as I’d already harvested all the beans many weeks ago. Or so I thought: getting stuck in with the secateurs started to reveal dried pods hidden among the stalks and leaves. Then some more and some more again, all of which I must have either missed or left to grow a bit more during the harvest window.
I ended up with lots and once they’re popped out of the pods the hard dried beans will store in a jar for ages, ready for soaking and cooking when needed. That or shoved into the ground next spring to grow another lot of plants.
Elsewhere on the bean front, a single Yard Long Red Noodle bean has suddenly appeared. It isn’t a yard long (yet), more like a foot. But it is red and with very little of the growing season left I’ve finally ticked growing these legendary legumes off my grow-your-own bucket list.
With temperatures slowly falling by the week, today I brought the lemongrass indoors for the cold season (the easy job) and brought the chillies in for overwintering (the anything but easy job).
Opinion appears to be divided over how savagely to prune chillies for overwintering: some say just tidy them up a bit and take off any pods and late flowers, while others would have you leave just a single bare stalk. Indecision won the day as I went for something in between: more a good military haircut than getting the electric shaver out.
Of course they wouldn’t be my chillies if they didn’t throw a stumbling block into the mix. As I started to trim the plants, up started to pop the prince of darkness of garden pests: fungus gnats. Yes, the infamous tiny flies had been squatting in my pepper pad. Luckily I had in stock a teeny bottle of Tanlin, a liquid which claims to be fungus gnat death solution. Using it meant drenching the soil of each pot several times with 5 liters of water laced with a few drops of the mysterious tincture. I did so and then sprayed the soil with pyrethrum spray for good measure.
A few more applications in the coming weeks will hopefully do the trick. I’m not counting my chickens (am too busy counting beans) but I wouldn’t like to be a fungus gnat in my house today.
For now the chillies are in their new home: a plastic mini greenhouse near a window upstairs, hopefully taking the hint to go into hibernation. If they survive till next spring, it’ll be a joy to take them back outside to the emerging warmth. Actually this hibernation lark sounds quite appealing. Zzzzzzz…