Blooming Broad Beans….

We’ve grown Broad Beans on the allotment every year – I plant some seeds directly on the allotment in late October / early November, and the rest are sown in pots at home in late February, ready to be planted out in the spring.

Generally speaking, the second batch of beans gets caught with Black Bean Aphid (blackfly), whereas my first crop are fine. This year however, was a bit of a disaster…

According to my vegetable books, Broad Beans can suffer from four main problems:

    1.  Black Bean Aphid which suck the sap from the plant. Ants then gather to feed on the sugary residue, and also eat the larva of ladybirds, so there’s less predators for the aphids.

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    2. Pea and Bean Weevil munch notches around the outside of the leaves, making them look serrated.
      Signs of Pea and Bean Weevil – they chomp notches into the edges of the leaves. Plus an ant as a result of a Black Bean Aphid infestation.

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    3. Broad Bean Rust certainly lives up to its name – there’s no mistaking this on the plant! This is caused by fungus, and apparently isn’t as damaging as chocolate spot, but can cause the plant to be left with no leaves. Leaving more space between plants is said to reduce the chance of rust by increasing the airflow, as is avoiding damp and humid sites. These broad beans are on an exposed north / northeast facing sloping site so I’m surprised they were so badly affected. However, the spores can survive over winter, so this could easily be the result of a previous year’s damp weather.

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    4. Finally, we have Chocolate Spot, which is also caused by a fungus, but this is worse in cool damp conditions.
      The round browny circle on the leaf to the bottom left is Chocolate Spot. A combination of all four problems would appear to have seen off any chances of this broad bean plant producing edible beans

      Chocolate Spot not only can overwinter in the soil if infected plant matter was left to rot, but can also lurk in seeds – another good reason to not save seed from any plants which might have been affected!

     

  1. Overall we have four out of four, and indeed a couple of plants have all four problems themselves. By the time the plants are at this stage, there’s no real hope for them, so today we’ll be pulling up all the affected plants and binning them. We have picked some broad beans from the decent plants, but Mum described them as “small” and “stunted” so I need to look closely at every plant and check if it has a problem or not, before deciding if it’s allowed to stay!
  1. I have no idea what this is on the bean leaf, but after looking closely at the infestations on the other Broad Beans, I can’t imagine this is a positive!

    After clearing those Broad Beans, I’ll feed the ground to ensure there’s plenty of nutrients, and sow the Florence Fennel seeds I bought earlier in the year.

  1. Next year we’ll take a break from growing Broad Beans so I’ll be browsing through the seed catalogues to try and pick something more suitable to grow.

     

Six on Saturday – April 21st

They forecast dry sunny weather today, and rain from about 9pm…. well they weren’t overly accurate, it started raining at lunchtime. But now it’s  mid afternoon and the sun’s back out again, so we’re making the most of the dry warm day. Anyhow, welcome to my  Six on Saturday!

  1. I don’t understand why women’s gardening gloves aren’t made to withstand “proper” work in the garden (or on the allotment). This is the only pair I’ve found which are short enough for me to wear (I can get children’s gardening gloves on, but I can’t bend my hand while wearing them!), and still can protect against most things…. but stinging nettles can still get to me through the padded fingers, and these are so filthy the mud now comes through!

    I think these desperately need a clean…. but I want to get a spare pair first, in case they don’t hold up to washing (the last time I tried washing a different style of gardening gloves, the fingers fused together as they dried (out of sunlight, left flat) & were utterly useless!
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  2. You know those broad beans we thought weren’t ever going to grow? They went down to the allotment this week – considering the weather, we had a surprisingly good success rate in them germinating and growing!
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  3. The “compost mystery plant” is a mystery no more – I brought this one home in a pot this week, and it’s definitely a mint plant… it must have broken through into the base of the compost bin, as I’ve been careful to not put any mint into the bin at all!

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  4. A relic from last year (or maybe the year before), these strawberries have been neglected, and left outside the front door. But they look quite healthy (or will do once I give them a bit of water), so they might go back onto the allotment next week.
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  5. And from the healthy, to the …. dead. The Snow White strawberries in the garden were looking quite wet, so we brought two into the porch to try and give them some dry warm weather. Unfortunately, they just didn’t seem to have any inspiration to keep growing – these look pretty dead to me, and the remaining ones in the garden aren’t looking any better.

    I’m hoping the 4 on the allotment will survive, but if not, this was an expensive failed experiment!
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  6. And last but not least, is the Rhino Runna that has made hundreds of trips to the allotment and back… and is suffering as a result! This is what it looked like new (courtesy of Amazon):

    and this is the state of our Rhino Runna

    The rust is taking over, and I’m thinking it’s about time I tried doing something about it, before it just disintegrates into a pile of rusty dust!

So here’s my question for you – how on earth do I tackle this?!
Is it just a case of a wire brush and lots of patience to rub off the remaining paint and rust, then using some kind of primer paint that will stop the rust coming back, before painting it with a top coat?
(as you can guess, we’ve never done any maintenance on it other than pumping up the tyre!)

 

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!