The Race to the Top

The first of my runner beans has reached the top of its support, so I have pinched out the top so that it doesn't grow higher, and instead focuses its energy on growing side-shoots and flowers. Flowers which will eventually become beans�if all goes well.

On the subject of flowers, both my courgettes and runner beans are showing signs of flowers. Today, the 4th courgette flower opened. Courgette flowers only open for a single day, and as all the flowers so far have been female, it is hard to know if it was pollinated�plausibly an insect could have carried pollen from a distant plant though. The fruit of the 3rd flower does seem to be swelling though, so I am hopeful.

Courgette flower

The runner beans have also been forming flowers, though none of these have opened yet. The variety of beans that I have, 'Stardust' and 'Firestorm', are both self-fertile, which means that all the flowers should have pollinated themselves before they even open. Automatic self-pollination is fairly common in beans, but unusual in runner beans.

Runner bean flowers

In theory the beans won't start cropping until August. Once the start to crop it will be important to harvest them regularly, as runner beans will stop producing new flowers as soon as the first pod reaches maturity.

Mustard and Trefoil

I used the soil from the potatoes that I harvested to provide fertile soil for my rose. The soil I removed from the ground was mostly clay, with very little organic matter. To improve the fertility of this spare earth�so that I can use it for something else later�I planted mustard. I will allow the mustard to grow for about 3 months before digging it in to add organic matter to the soil.


Along a similar vein, I have planted Yellow Trefoil around the base of my runner beans. This is primarily for weed suppression, but as a legume, it will also fix nitrogen into the soil. Once the beans have finished cropping, the Trefoil can then be dug into the soil�like the mustard�to add organic matter.

Yellow Trefoil