Grow your own world!

This month in the garden - 2019

May in the garden

May is such a busy month in the garden. All danger of frost has surely passed by now, even if you are in the high mountains, so it's time to get all the little summer veg plants in the ground. Cucumbers, melons and pumpkins can be direct sown up till the middle of the month. French beans, runner beans, soya beans and all your orientals; lab lab, yard long, winged beans plus cowpeas can also be direct seeded. The last of the onions and the garlic will be ready to harvest in May too and if you want to save your own pea and broad bean seeds, now is the time to do that. Don't forget to freeze your pea seeds (after they are completely dry) for a few days to kill any weevil eggs.

Sweetcorn and peanuts can be direct sown and sweet potato vines can go in too. Weeds will really take hold now so try to put aside a little time every week to keep ahead of the weeds. Plan your garden with summer in mind. How much water will you have available? How much space can you realistically keep under control when the summer heat really kicks in?

"Take your project to the next level! There is a really exciting opportunity coming to Andalucía for those of you who have a piece of land or a farm or are wanting to start a project or homestead. Darren Doherty from the worlds leading regenerative farm planning group, the Regrarians will be here on the coast of Granada at La Loma Viva, offering a 4 day "Intensive Farm Planning Programme". During the workshop you will get expert advice and work on the design of your own project with Darren, who has consulted on thousands of large and small projects around the world. The Regrarians have developed this programme to help people to fast track their projects, to become productive and profitable, saving loads of time, energy and money. And more importantly how to regenerate your ecosystem and environment at the same time, improving soil, increasing biodiversity and the health of your land. They are also really good at helping people to discover their real passions and how to make your dreams a reality. By signing up for the course you will also get one years free membership to the Regrarians workplace, where you will get ongoing support from the worlds leading experts in all things regenerative, covering all aspects of your farm plan from water to buildings to energy and production. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to get your project to be financially, environmentally and personally sustainable with the worlds best team!" For more information see the website here:"

Tip: When seed saving goes wrong and you cross pollinate something by mistake, try to see yourself as a successful plant breeder, rather than a failed seed saver.

Readers question: Do climbing French beans cross pollinate? All my gardening books say they don't but some of my home saved seeds changed from having white seed coats when I planted them, to black when I harvested them. What is going on?
Most gardening books from northern Europe state that climbing French beans do not cross pollinate. Many of us here in the Alpujarra have found that they do. I have researched this topic in great depth as many of the beautifully pattered colourful bean seeds I started with have turned black. I also have a myriad of new varieties going on! Black is the dominant seed coat colour and will usually be the first sign that your precious bean has been cross pollinated. After much searching, I discovered some studies from Costa Rica where the reported incidence of cross pollination in French beans was very high. They concluded that Carpenter bees were the culprit. Watch these big meanies on your bean flowers and you will notice that unlike other smaller bees, they are heavy enough to weigh down the bottom part of the bean flowers and can access the nectar and pollen inside. But don't despair. The surest way to keep your French beans from crossing is to grow one variety a year. You can also start one off very early, say early March and then grow another from July. This would mean they are not flowering at the same time. The good news is that French beans don't cross with yard long beans, lab lab, soya beans or runner beans so you can still grow a diverse selection.

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