The hugel pot and other matters

It seems ages ago since I posted about my plan to create a mini hugel bed in a pot for a tomato plant. However, the day has come.

I hope that the plastic sheet on top of the pot, weighed down with bricks, will prevent any unwelcome visits from rats. But it’s an experiment worth trying, considering bokashi solids and my own compost should feed the plant better than shop-bought compost. I did have to use a bit of the latter but only half as much as I would have, had the whole pot been filled with it.

Talking of bokashi solids, my original plan had been to move the compost bin before adding any to it. For better or worse, there is no available ground for it to be moved to, though. So, instead, I emptied the top half of the bin, put the bokashi solids in and then covered them up with the compost I’d taken out. Again, fingers crossed the rats don’t get wind of any delicious meals in that direction.

As if that wasn’t enough gardening for one day, I sowed two varieties of French bean (in the shed). One of these varieties is a borlotti type of bean, which will be interesting if it grows.

The cucumbers are germinating and so is one butternut squash plant (seed taken from the squash I bought in Saint-Malo), so it looks like I will be able to try the Three Sisters polyculture again this year.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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16 Responses to The hugel pot and other matters

  1. Clare Pooley says:

    We found our borlotti beans really versatile. We used some of the beans like ordinary runner beans and cooked them before the actual beans developed. Very sweet and tasty. The rest we let develop and shelled just like peas. I blanched the beans, cooled them and then froze them and they have been wonderful. They are also the most beautiful beans I have ever seen; the colours are marvellous. We have used them in all sorts of dishes and they are also very pleasant eaten on their own. We were going to save some beans to plant the next year but we forgot!

    • Helen says:

      I was very taken with the colour of the beans as I sowed them last night. Good to know they are tasty – can’t wait for them now!

      Thanks for such an informative comment, Clare. You’re not growing any this year then?

      • Clare Pooley says:

        I think not this year. Richard is doing all the vegetables now and he has decided we will have mainly french beans. We planted what we thought were berlottis last year and were amazed at how they grew and grew. They were enormous and because we had spaced them thinking they would be short and small they became an almost impenetrable thicket of beans! We tried to put long canes in as they got larger but it didn’t work at all. There were hardly any beans anyway, just lots of growth. Jack and the Beanstalk came to mind! It was very disappointing at the time but now we can laugh about it. We contacted the seed company, sending a photo, who apologised and sent us another packet for this year. We are somewhat apprehensive, as you can imagine. He hasn’t sown any beans yet as it has been too cold and for the last week we haven’t been able to get to the greenhouse easily because of building works. Sigh!

        • Helen says:

          I’m imagining the magic beans scenario! It would be interesting to see if this year’s seeds are more well-behaved, although I can see your reticence.

  2. You have had a busy day in the garden. Spring will do that to you, eh? 😉
    I’m heading out now to pull a few more weeds. The dreaded oxalis works it’s way into the ground cover near the pathway, making it a real challenge to get them out. They’re small but mighty.

    As for the rats, best of luck. San Jose has roof rats everywhere. They pluck the oranges and can be heard rustling around in attics and crawl spaces. I’m glad they’re nocturnal! We’re like two ships passing in the night.

    • Helen says:

      I’ve had a lot of weeding to do as well – light, warmth and rain have really got the plants going. Some things are growing before my eyes – rhubarb being a prime example.

      We have rats that go into roofs as well. I’ve not seen them but I have heard them.

  3. jeffpermie says:

    Are you trying the normal three sisters? ie: Beans, Corn and Pumpkin / Cucumber or other relative?
    I’m asking because my seed supplier said after years of trying, they said this guild simply doesn’t work in our climate.

    • Helen says:

      No, I’ve found that it doesn’t work. However, I’m going to try again – I have got cucumber and sweetcorn to grow together – I think the cobs were small because I sowed too late rather than because of any other issues.
      I wonder why The Three Sisters doesn’t work, if we can grow all these plants separately?

      • jeffpermie says:

        If I remember correctly it has to do with the varying sowing / growing times of the three plants, I think the main reason is that the corn is still too small by the time the beans are looking for more to climb up.

        • Helen says:

          Yes, that seems logical. I have started the sweetcorn in good time, though, so who knows!

          • jeffpermie says:

            Well, keep us informed 🙂
            I think it’s been a little too long since I grew Sweetcorn so might go ahead and try plan this well ahead for next year! Perhaps a block of 24 corn with maybe 3-4 squashes underneath and 1-2 beans per corn, maybe best if I mulch both in Autumn and Spring ensuring a couple buckets of horse manure for the squash but also the corn …

  4. Good luck with the pot! Those 4 legged critters love those bokasi solids .. shame about that

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