Broad Bean chitting

Its the first of February and spring was in the air this morning, though now it has clouded over and started to rain heavily and gone more chilly.  After several days of high wind it was lovely to have some warm sunshine to cut through the chill of the air, and have a welcome break from the blusteriness of the last few days.
I have received the first part of my seed order from DT Browns, the Beat Food Inflation Collection; still waiting on the Allotment Collection.

So today I thought I would chit the broad beans – Bunyards Exhibition.  there are 74 seeds in the packet, gulp.
2013-02-01 14.45.38
Its a simple job to do.
First grab a tray, I have been saving old supermarket trays to reuse.  You could also just put some damp compost into a plastic bag, but as I have plenty of trays I used one of those.
Next half fill your tray with compost.  My compost had dried out over the winter, so I gave it a good soaking and let it sit for a bit.
Then add the beans, spread them out evenly, then cover with more moistened compost.
2013-02-01 14.46.47Next put the tray into a plastic bag, and pop it in the airing cupboard or somewhere warmish and dark.  You dont want it to be too hot, though.
Check on them every few days to make sure they are not getting dry, add a drop of water if necessary.
When you check on them, also check for signs of the little tails shooting through from the seed.

DSC02131

– like these

Once they have got a bit of roots happening I will seperate them into individual pots, probably 3″ ones.  Then they should be ready about 3 weeks from now to plant out.  I will put them 2″ deep and 9″ apart in a staggered pattern in double rows. I think the double row has to be 1′ apart, and more than 1xdouble row should have gaps of 2′ between them

Broad beans freeze well and can also be dried.

Allotment 2013 – seed order

I havent been able to get onto the plot to do any more as it has been so wet, we had snow last week which has now been washed away.
Its been so long since I went, I am quite nervous to go down there for the first time this year, as my imagination is running wild with what may have been happening since my last visit.  Will the lovely neighbours have donated another sofa or bed for me to clear away, did the fireworks of November and December leave any debris, have my onions shallots and garlic started growing or withered away, have all the weeds returned vigorously to the ground that I turned over?
I am also very reluctant to start pushing my spade in the soil again, as I know there were frogs and I understand that they bury themselves for the winter, and I would hate to accidentally chop any.
I must make the effort and get myself down there though, stop procrastinating.  Even if it is just for an hour.
I have however been drooling over the seed catalogues, and finally took the plunge with a big order from DT Brown –
the Ultimate Allotment Collection > http://www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk/seeds-plants-gardening/43049/ultimate-allotment-collection
and the Beat Food Inflation Vegetable Seed Collection > http://www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk/seeds-plants-gardening/43167/beat-food-inflation-vegetable-seed-collection.
What is in these 2 collections:

Broad Bean Bunyards Exhibition
French Bean Safari
Mangetout Pea Delikata
Runner Bean Galaxy
Beetroot Wodan F1
Calabrese Aquiles F1
Cabbage Minicole
Cauliflower All The Year Round
Carrots Chantenay Red Cored
Carrot Maestro
Courgette Zucchini
Lettuces Tom Thumb
Lettuce Soleison
D.T. Brown Salad Mix
Rocket Skyrocket
Leek Lyon (Prizetaker)
Parsnip White Gem
Pepper Antohi Romanian
Radish Fluo
Spinach Swan
Spring Onion Elody
Spinach Harrier
Sweetcorn Swift
Tomatoes Bejbino
Tomatoes Ferline
Runner Bean, Equator
French Bean, Montano
Broad Bean, Bunyards Exhibition
Pea, Oregon Sugar Pod
Beetroot, Boltardy
Calabrese, Ironman F1
Brussels Sprout, Nautic F1
Cabbage, Tundra F1
Cabbage, Golden Acre
Cauliflower, All Year Round
Carrot, Early Nantes 5
Carrot, Autumn King
Courgette, Defender F1
Cucumber, La Diva
Salad Leaves, Mixed Salad Leaves
Lettuce, All Year Round
Lettuce, Barcelona
Salad Leaves, D.T. Brown Salad Mix
Leek, Porvite
Spring Onion, White Lisbon
Spring Onion, North Holland Blood Red (Redmate)
Parsnip, Javelin F1
Peppers, D.T. Brown Sweet Pepper Mix
Squash, Butterboy F1
Radish, Fluo F1
Spinach, Swan F1
Sweercorn, Swift F1
Swede, Tweed F1
Turnip, Market Express
Tomato, Sweet Million F1
Tomato, Ferline F1
Onion Sets, Hercules
Shallot, Topper
Garlic, Solent Wight
Potatoes, Pentland Javelin
Potatoes, Charlotte
Potatoes, Maris Piper

Substitute varieties may be supplied.

I ordered these 5 days ago and they are supposed to arrive between 7-10 days so I hope to receive them any day now, and cant wait to get sowing.  I will start with the broad beans. And hopefully be able to blog about my successes and not failures.

The initial outlay is quite substantial, but I figure it has almost everything that I intended to grow this year and works out to about £1.44 per week, and will probably give me way more value than buying what I need from the shops each week, (everything seems to cost £1 a pack these days)  if I can manage to keep things going for the full 52 weeks or even 45+ weeks, and providing I manage to grow any of them, of course.  I reckon with all the problems with the weather and economy the prices will continue to rise way above what I am prepared to pay for my veggies, so with a bit of effort and good fortune I will be well fed for less £££.   I may even have too much — well I can dream cant I.   With a bit of luck I will be able to reduce my meat bill too, as I will be so stuffed with veggies and not have room for meat.
I must get my camera going again too.