Stopping The Flop


Pea ‘Misty’ and Mangetout ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’


After last year’s disastrous experience with wigwams, Mike’s new pea supports are working really well. The tendrils find the wires of their own accord and I rarely need to do anything to help them on their way. Maybe the odd tweak of a wayward shoot should we happen to pass by. But it’s hardly an effort. I am sowing successionally to try and extend the crop.

So pleased were we at the success so far I asked Himself to build me another two frames for the beans. They would need to be higher…



 Work in progress. Badminton anyone?


The job was not for the faint hearted. Mike used a tall step ladder to hammer in the posts, the legs propped up on a series of planks and a bit of old railway sleeper to counter the uneven ground. It’s difficult to tell from the picture, but the bed itself is raised three feet off the ground. I couldn’t watch. The infamous Fruit Cage Incident of last year lodged itself firmly in the forefront of my mind. This time, thankfully, no bruises, no bill and the beans are loving it.



Runner Bean ‘Lady Di’


After another three weeks of fridge sharing with the 30 million nematodes they’ve now been released onto the raised beds. The first application six weeks ago does seem to have had some effect, I hope the second dose will seal it. Slugs are still causing real problems in the flower borders but, so far, there has been less damage here.



Dwarf Curly Kale

 The brassica cage is up and the first plants safely ensconced inside. I’ve used a few slug pellets as a precautionary measure until the nematodes get to work.



 And the salad bed is started.


It always looks so promising when things are at this early stage of growth. We’ve tried to be more organised this year, I just hope it all pays off.


2018-04-01T18:55:41+00:00May 20th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. elaine May 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Looks like the peas and beans are living the life of luxury with such sturdy netting. I am having terrible slug problems with my brassicas I have had to replant twice already good job I had some spares and that was using slug pellets – I reckon the slugs have learned how to slalom through the pellets. It’s all looking good Jessica.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks Elaine. The slugs are having a bumper year are they not… and some of them are huge!

  2. Jane and Lance Hattatt May 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Hello Jessica,

    Well, this all looks very well organised to us and everything is looking so beautifully healthy and promising. Bumper crops in store for sure!

    The new climbing frames look very professional and will surely withstand a small tornado never mind a wayward green bean. This all promises very well indeed and, when the cropping seasons are over, then one could throw a canvas over them and make a tent!

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Mike never does anything by halves. But we did use posts that we already had, over specified though they may be!

  3. Em May 20, 2014 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    It all looks brilliant. I fear for our baby runner beans during the week we’re away though……I think they may be stumps by the time we get back!

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      You’ll still have time to sow more, although that would be frustrating.

  4. Sigrun May 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    You have a wonderful vegetable garden – with badminton place!


    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Quite unique!

  5. Joanne May 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Its all looking great, very sturdy looking frames.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      I’m wondering whether we will ever get them out..

  6. Marian May 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    You certainly are organized! You and your husband are a great team. Beautiful work. You must both be so very happy with it. Good to be able to admire such wonderful work.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      It’s a solution from a lazy person’s brain. I just want to go out and pick the crop easily without having to wrestle with anything!

  7. Denise May 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    It’s like looking at exemplar pictures in the definitive ‘How To Grow Vegetables’ guide! I almost wish we had our allotment back…almost…

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Last year was a disaster with pea plants flopping about all over the place. In the end I gave up and consigned the lot to the compost heap. I am determined this time around it will be different.

  8. Pauline May 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Your veggies are very lucky to have such wonderful supports, mine just have to make do with canes! I cut up plastic bottles to make a collar and then put copper tape round them, so far, this is about the fifth year I have used them, so good, no slug damage.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      How do you stop them getting mud splashed from the rain? I found when that happened the slugs just ignored them. Possibly I didn’t make them wide enough.

  9. Eleanor from Stitches and Seeds May 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Looks brill – I never seem to manage to label things properly or get supports in as firmly as that! Great job! Eleanor x

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Getting the supports in firmly was the tricky bit, and getting them straight.. ish.

  10. snowbird May 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Wow! Your frames are fabulous! Can I borrow Mike for a few days, pretty please? Your plants will be romping up those soon.
    I’m always nervous when anyone mentions slug pellets as the hedgehogs eat the slugs that have eaten the pellets and die. xxx

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      I only put the pellets inside the brassica cage, where hedgehogs and other wildlife aren’t going to go. And then only one application to tide me over until the nematodes get going. And use the newest type that are allegedly safer. I’ve never seen hedgehogs here, but better safe than sorry.
      Only a few days?

      • snowbird May 20, 2014 at 11:31 pm - Reply

        Oh that is good to hear, the newer type is better, and if covered means I can sleep peacefully. Ahhh, you don’t have hogs?….Such a shame, they would love to roam your grounds like the

        • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm - Reply

          They will be welcome if they ever show up. They may be out in the woods somewhere and it’s just that our paths have never crossed. I did wonder last year when something created a den inside a heap of bark chippings. The entrance tunnel was about the right size.

  11. Crafty Gardener May 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Now that is gardening on the up and up. Everything looks healthy and I can almost taste the delicious salad greens.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      I can’t wait to be eating freshly picked salad leaves again. So different to the bagged stuff we buy over here.

  12. wherethejourneytakesme May 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    It’s a full time job to begin with getting your vegetables in and started and then a full time job keeping them pest free! Your bean frame is great – glad I didn’t have to watch the erection of it though! You are looking pretty organised to me.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      That’s the difficult bit… keeping them healthy and productive once they get outside.

  13. angiesgardendiaries May 20, 2014 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Those supports look really sturdy – well done Mike.
    After me starting of the spring telling anyone that would listen I had not seen a slug since last summer – they are back with a vengeance now. Obviously jinxed that didn’t I. I’ve had to resort to a few slug pellets myself.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      I can’t believe the size of some of the whoppers this year. The mild winter was right up their street. I don’t think I have a hosta left in the whole garden and the irises are looking distinctly ragged.

  14. Chloris May 20, 2014 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Amazing frames. Those structures look so solid, archaeologists will probably come across them in thousands of years and have earnest discussions about what they are. Obviously, that’s not going to be the case with my bamboo canes and bits of string. You are lucky to have such a handy husband.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      Archaeologists will have a real field day here. There’s an old cess pit full to the brim with old kitchen units for a start.

  15. frayed at the edge May 20, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    It all looks fabulous – isn’t is good to be married to a useful husband (I had Malcolm drawing out patchwork patterns this afternoon!). The slugs had a munch on some new hostas that Malcolm planted before the holiday – the other ones are fine as they have bark chips round them, so he’ll have to get some round the new ones asap.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      Bits of Berberis (very thorny) were working for me… until this year. They must have evolved thicker skins.

      • AnnetteM May 21, 2014 at 9:17 am - Reply

        Now that sounds a good idea. I have some I can try.

        • Jessica May 21, 2014 at 9:16 pm - Reply

          I have a berberis hedge that I’m trying to keep low, so prune it brutally twice a year. Miraculously it still flowers! The prunings I used to use as a mulch around the hostas, but the hostas haven’t even appeared this year. Giving up on them I think.

  16. Marian St.Clair May 20, 2014 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Hope your peas make it to the top of those sturdy frames. They will last for years and years, won’t they? All very well done. Can almost taste those beautiful lettuces from here.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      I am hoping they will last for years. When we finish building the new raised beds they can just be lifted, stored over winter and then used in the next bed along as we rotate the crops.

  17. Sue@GLAllotments May 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Our peas aren’t yet quite ready to climb bit seem to be managing to survive weevil attack/

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      There are so many things out there waiting to defeat our efforts Sue, just not fair.

  18. Janet/Plantaliscious May 20, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    I trust your legumes reward you with bumper crops given how beautifully they are supported! Your salad bed looks wonderful, where do you get your labels from and can you re-use them? So smart, and black is something of an obsession with me… And thank you, I kept forgetting to order my sugar snap peas. Now rectified.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      I got them from here:
      They are supposedly reusable but don’t last forever. They are more brittle after the first year’s use and don’t like being trodden on much. But in theory you can clean them off with white spirit and reuse. I keep the ones for varieties I grow every year and then all it needs is a damp cloth to wipe off the dirt.

  19. CJ May 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Looking good so far, Mike’s done a wonderful job with the infrastructure! I hope the slugs leave everything alone.

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      In the past the beans have been more resistant to slugs as soon as they start to climb. Having the wire right at the bottom of the frame has got them doing that already. So I’m hopeful. But not yet confident.

  20. Amy at love made my home May 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    It looks as though you have indeed managed to stop the flop with Mikes handiwork! As CJ said above I hope the slugs stay away – and the snails! they seem to be breeding at warp speed in our garden! Hope that your lettuces are standing the challenges well too! xx

    • Jessica May 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      I am still a bit nervous about what happens when/if the plants reach the top of the frame..

  21. Anna May 20, 2014 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    What a sturdy looking construction Jessica which should stand the ravages of all that the elements could possibly throw against it. My wigwams look positively puny in comparison.

    • Jessica May 21, 2014 at 12:07 am - Reply

      I just hope that my desire for stability has not resulted in a structure which remains immoveable for life!

  22. casa mariposa May 21, 2014 at 12:54 am - Reply

    He loves you. No doubt about it. Those beds are incredible! My slugs are cheap drunks but I have a lot less so my pub stations are easy to keep filled.

    • Jessica May 21, 2014 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Molluscs love our mild wet climate. It would indeed take an awful lot of beer.

  23. Linda May 21, 2014 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Let’s hear it for Mike!
    Hip Hip Hooray!
    Those peas will LOVE climbing up those…
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica May 21, 2014 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      I can almost see the peas stretching themselves out. More rain tomorrow, they’ll soon be at the top..

  24. colleen May 21, 2014 at 9:05 am - Reply

    It is looking awfully lickety-spick. Well done. And those nematodes – I must pull my finger out on that score. We have used so-called organic pellets for slugs this year, the first time we have ever had to resort to them. I’m not sure about them, not sure at all.

    We are much less organised about support. Hazel poles for the beans, and pea sticks gleaned from the bushes.

    • Jessica May 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Your supports sound more rustic and pleasing to the eye than mine.
      I know what you mean about the slug pellets. The biggest hassle with the nematodes is keeping the ground moist for a couple of weeks after application. It’s OK when it’s showery like at the moment, otherwise the sprinkler has to be out every night.

  25. Jay May 21, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

    It all looks wonderful, I’m in awe! I am a complete novice when it comes to gardening but I have planted a few vegetable seeds this year, I’m trying!

    • Jessica May 21, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      It can be a bit frustrating vegetable growing, but don’t give up! Everything else in the garden seems to want a bite out of your veg, but when you do succeed it is very rewarding. They taste so much nicer than supermarket veg.

  26. Christina May 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    You couldn’t send your support builder over here, could you? My peas and broad beans have collapsed, which is a shame as it is the best crop of either I’ve ever had.

    • Jessica May 21, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      That is exactly what happened here last year Christina, and what drove me to such desperate measures.

  27. Natalie May 22, 2014 at 3:46 am - Reply

    I’m so jealous! Those look great!

    • Jessica May 22, 2014 at 9:36 am - Reply

      I even have peas! Spotted the first pod this morning 🙂

  28. nataliescarberry May 22, 2014 at 4:14 am - Reply

    I told you I thought that the pea support looked like it would do a great job, Jessica. Yum! Yum! Yum! Looks like there’ll be good eats at your house this summer. Enjoy! Hugs, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica May 22, 2014 at 9:40 am - Reply

      We must have had really torrential rain in the night, quite a few things have fallen over this morning. But not the peas!

  29. Jo May 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Your pea and bean supports are fabulous. I’m using wigwams, I always have done and they’ve never let me down, though there’s always a first time I suppose, they do have to be quite sturdy to survive everything that’s thrown at them.

    • Jessica May 23, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

      I think my problem was I never got them sturdy enough, or high enough. The peas grew to the top then flopped over and the whole thing got top heavy.

  30. woolythymes May 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    you veggies beds are looking so pretty….i finally got out to mine the other day…pulled a few weeds around the onions and cabbage that the grands plants (note to self: might be a good idea NOT to let the grandchildren plant the garden next year, but they are so excited about it!)…got to the second bed and found all kinds of volunteer cherry tomatoes coming up. I culled some, but just couldn’t bring myself to yank them all out. (They are Freddy’s favorite food in the world). So much for my lettuce bed. I might try to seed a little lettuce in there, too….mixed vegetables, you know. I’ll NEVER have the look you have….I crave it, but it just won’t happen!!!

    • Jessica May 23, 2014 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Yes, tomatoes seed all over the place! Because it is so wet here I have to grow them in the greenhouse so at least the problem is contained.

  31. Simone May 22, 2014 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    All looking good Jessica. I wish I had a Mike to make pea and bean supports for me! My peas are climbing ugly wigwams tied with string this year. My courgettes and beans have already succumbed to slugs and snails after one night! x

    • Jessica May 23, 2014 at 10:15 am - Reply

      The slug and snail problem is really bad this year. We need the weather to get a bit drier!

  32. islandthreads May 22, 2014 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    shouldn’t someone have been holding the bottom of the ladder for Mike? I’m glad he survived without injury,

    Jessica, your veg beds look so neat and organised, the peas look like they will be easier to pick as well, Frances

    • Jessica May 23, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

      I was holding the ladder for the really hairy bits.. and trying hard not to think of the implications of the whole lot falling on top of me.
      Easy picking is exactly what I’m trying to achieve. I hope it works!

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