Real Men Sow

The Problem With Broad Beans

Before I start, I should probably declare that I really like broad beans. They’re a very tasty vegetable which I enjoy growing. This isn’t an anti broadie post. There, that’s my disclaimer.

However, I have developed a broad bean prejudice that needs tackling. The problem with broad beans is that they’re so difficult to justify in limited space, but so tempting to sow at the same time. Being a plant that you can grow over winter as well as one of the first things to sow in a new year, they have a certain amount of excitement associated with them. Together we lap up the Spring conditions, and they grow into lovely, healthy plants.

But then this happens:


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6 Tips To Help Refurb an Old Greenhouse


Now, I’m about as far from a renovating Restoration Man hero as you could possibly get, but one thing I do like is a greenhouse refurb…

At my previous house, I inherited a knackered old greenhouse, with (amongst other things) endless missing panes, a broken vent and a jammed-solid door. The inside harboured problems too. Once I’d cleared out the shoulder high weeds, there were other problems inside too, such as missing clips, buried junk, and shards of broken glass.

However, any greenhouse is not to be sniffed at, whatever the condition. They’re brilliant tools for veg growing, but they’re also expensive , so if you’re lucky enough to have one on your plot or in the garden, it is well worth going to the effort of repair. I’ve started patching up the greenhouse that is in my new garden, and I’m following most the same tips and pointers as I did before. Here are 6 tips for getting a greenhouse ship shape.

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4 Things to Look Out For When Buying Seedlings on the Allotment

Posted on by in beginners, spring with 1 Comment


Recently, I blogged about the advantages of buying seedlings rather than growing from seed. With the veg patch at my new house very much a work in progress, I’ve struggled to find time and space to grow seedlings this year, so I’ve bought more seedlings than I would have done usually.

There have been a number of advantages to this approach. I haven’t needed my greenhouse (handy, as the one I’ve inherited is virtually paneless presently…), it’s been quicker and easier, and I’ve been able to concentrate on turning the garden around. However, there have been disadvantages too. Seedlings are more expensive than seeds and I’ve felt uncomfortable at times with not being in total control of the process, as well as missing the enjoyment and satisfaction of nurturing little plants from scratch.

That said, buying seedlings is an ace way of filling gaps in your growing programme, whether you’re trying to save time and focus on certain crops or pests have taken out a sowing. Normally I grow pretty much everything from seed, so this Spring has been another learning curve in the allotment adventure for me. Here are 4 things I’ve learnt to look out for when buying plants.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope.

However, three years on, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?
  • (Not) An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #7 Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


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