I sowed some more broadbeans yesterday. The Autumn sowing of Aquadulce just didn’t germinate. I’m not really sure why. I planted them on exactly the same day as veteran allotment holder David, and they were the same variety. Yet his all germinated and just one of mine did! I can only imagine that my soil is heavier than David’s (despite our plots being right next to each other) and that my beans rotted in the soil. So we’ll put that down to experience and start again. This time with tons of organic matter ploughed in first, and a nice early Spring variety ‘Longpod’. I’m determind to have broadbeans on the menu this year. If you have any broadbean tips please let me know. It’s the first time I’ve tried to grow them.
Each plant does have a lot of beans on, they do freeze of course, but if you want a steady supply of fresh beans rather than an avalanche then perhaps do the same as you are going to do with your lettuce, a series of small sowings every few weeks. Also inter planting with nasturtiums or summer savoury is supposed to help deter the black bean aphid.
I find you can plant at a closer spacing than many seed packets and books recommend. This also helps stop the flop.
Eat them with fresh mint, pasta and parmesan – they’re lush!
I would bet good money that if only 2 came up of the first lot, the rest were eaten by mice. Exactly the same thing happened to me, as I have moaned about on my blog. I know it was mice as the soil was damp when they did it, and slumped to leave tiny depressions at the site of each bean where they had excavated it Also, some that had germinated had the green tops snipped off and left laying on the ground. Out of 150 beans sown, only 2 survived. My neighbours either side were ignored, and apparently this is quite common.
Hate to say it, but if it was mice – chances are it’ll happen again.
I re-sowed in pots in the cold frame, and just finally planted them out yesterday.
The very reliable Dr Hessoyan says ..
“Pinch out the top 10cm of the stems as soon as the first beans start to form. This will ensure and earlier harvest and also provide some degree of control against blackfly”
” Begin picking when the first pods are 5-8cm long, and cook them whole.
The time to start picking pods for shelling is when the beans have begung to show through the pod, but before the scar on each shelled bean has become discoulored – it should still be white or green”
Personally, I like to lightly boil the shelled young beans, and have them cold with an oil & vinegar marinade… reminds me of lunches in Italy.
Good luck with them.
I sow my broad beans in the cardboard tubes inside the toilet roll, or homemade paper pots – see http://www.geocities.com/newspaperpots/ for details. They are then planted out (pot or tube and all). I get better germination and it protects the young plants from slugs.
Also successional sowing is good if you really like broad beans. I’ve usually had enough after the first crop, and move onto something else.
Peas and french beans can be done the same way.
Good luck with your new beans. It’s the first time i’ve done broad beans, so i have my fingers crossed. Have you got any started in pots, to make sure at least some will get a kick start?
Thanks for your comments!
Greenmantle I think you are right – it was the mice that did it! And I think I know where the little blighters live too – in my compost heap where it’s nice and warm. Blimely they have a nice life don’t they? Feasting on my beans and snuggling down in the toasty heap. Humph…!
Al – never fear in an attempt to fool the mice I have beans growing in pots in my cold frame. They are sprouting nicely…
*Bean update* – still no sign. Grrrr!