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June - Last Sowings

in Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 8 Jul 2019

June is probably the last month before autumn that you will want to sow seeds. The ground becomes so warm that seeds cook rather than germinate. Two exceptions, well worth trying, are string beans and runner beans.

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Both need well-prepared ground that was ideally composted for a previous crop. Good drainage is essential. Runner beans will grow to over 3 metres tall so, the way I plant them is in two rows, 1 metre apart, with about 15 cms between individual seeds. Soak the ground before pushing the seeds down to about 2cms. Then do not water again for one week to ten days. The first shoots should be showing when you start watering to keep the ground just damp. Support individual plants with 4 metre long canes, each stuck 1 metre into the ground; you can cut dead canes yourself down many of the river courses. Lean the canes inward so that they meet between the rows and tie them off. The plants will twine themselves around the canes as they grow. I sow Scarlet Emperor, an old variety that has beautiful red flowers that look attractive. The beans taste good as well. Pick them young to avoid the side strings.

If you do not like runner beans, then French string beans are an alternative. Sometimes called pencil beans they are started in the same way as runner beans except you can sow them roughly 6 cms apart in trenches 30 cms wide. Mostly self-supporting, depending on variety, they will appreciate stakes down both sides of the trench with a couple of lines of string between at 30 cms spacing. I grow a variety I bought years ago, the name long escapes me. I have been saving seed every year since. Saving string bean seeds is easy. Leave the last few pods on the plants until they are crispy. Remove the seeds and put them in a jiffy bag. Label the bag. I cannot count the number of times I have saved seed and not labelled them because I would remember what they were. Keep over winter in a cool, dry place. The garden shed is fine.

Other sowings that you can risk are beetroot and carrots. Make sure you have varieties that can be sown in early summer.

Watering becomes very important, especially if you have an allotment some distance from where you live. I use a simple system. A timer on the tap is set for 2 hours every night. A solid 9mm pipe takes the water down the length of each plot on the allotment. The solid pipe has ‘T’ pieces arranged so that each one points down a ridge, each has a plastic tap, and perforated pipe runs down the top of each ridge. Each perforated pipe has a bung at the end. That way, I can turn off or reduce the water from each ridge pipe. I water on top of the ridges, so that excess water soaks down between the ridges and I can interplant with leafy vegetables like lettuce, beetroot, swede and turnips. The leaves of these plants help to shade the ground and reduce evaporation. A tip here; visit your local poligono for your pipe, taps, ‘T’ pieces and bungs, they will be far cheaper than in garden centres and DIY shops.

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About the Author

Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.

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