Allotment tips

This summer I’ve had the finest crop of French beans ever. I’ve been eating French beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My deep freeze bursts with them. Neighbours who see me coming up the path with tenderly-wrapped offerings have started hiding behind the curtains.

Meanwhile my neighbour, who has just the same soil and grew the same variety, has hardly had a bean. Conducting an inquest over the garden fence, I grilled him closely in an effort to discover how things went wrong.

He’d watered well, he said – all beans need well-watering. He’d planted them at the right time to avoid frost damage. And to make sure he had a bumper crop, as well as compost he’d dug in…a few spadesful of droppings kindly supplied by his chickens.

Aaaargh – no! That was it! Too strong, too rich!

Never, ever, feed your beans with chicken droppings. You are not doing them any favours.

David Leake