Sowing broad beans: Bunyards Exhibition

Sowing broad beans: Bunyards Exhibition

Bunyards Exhibition Broad Beans are an old favourite and has earned the RHS Perfect for Pollinators mark – meaning that it’s a great plant for encouraging bees and other insects into pollinating the flowers.  They’re said to be versatile and resilient plants that produces a crop that’s ideal for freezing.  Broad beans are a great source of vitamin B1 and fibre.

I’m trying to get a little bit of a head start on the some of the crops this year and I’ve read that so long as you have a greenhouse of a cold frame you can sow some of your plants indoors in the hope of an early May harvest.

I’ve sown these Bunyards Exhibition beans two at a time into pots so that I can maximise the amount of space that I have available.  When and if they germinate, I’ll look to separate the seedlings into their own individual pots before I plant them out.  I’ve buried them around 2cm deep in multi-purpose compost.

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I’ve sown them with the eyes pointing upwards, so that when they germinate they’ll be growing in the right direction (although you can’t really see that in the photos below!). Pointing the seeds in the right direction isn’t essential, as over the years I have seen seedlings correct themselves as they strive to face the sun.

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Water well and hope for the best!

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Bunyards Exhibition update 16/01/2016

After returning to the plot a week later, I was greeted with seeded pots that had been dug up by the mice.  Mice love eating seeds, especially beans and peas. I couldn’t believe my luck – it was gutting to witness and I ended up resowing them. I hope you learn from my mistakes and are sure to keep your seedlings away from mice (or lay a deterrent) to ensure your beans germinate without hindrance.

Seed update February 2016

It’s been quite a busy month and so far I’ve been managed to plant shallots, garlic and sown broad beans, brussels sprouts, leeks, lettuces and peas.

Since then, however, I have been battling some pests as my seedlings did get eaten by a little mouse.  I can’t blame the little blighters as the weather has been frosty at this time of year.  However, this does mean that I’ve had to resow the broad beans and the peas about three times and I’ve had to put together a better coldframe.

I’ve also had to contend with birds pulling out the shallots from the ground.  I’ve read a number of reasons as to why birds pull at bulbs, from thinking that the heads of the shallots are worms to them thinking that the tips of the onions are ideal nest-making materials.  Needless to say, this has stunted progress!

Because of the delays, I was hoping to show off tiny green shoots, however, the only thing I have to show are a few tiny wisps.

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Separating Broad Beans: Bunyards Exhibition

After a number of mice attacks, and after the third attempt at sowing some seeds my broad beans have grown into lovely plants – which, I’m glad to say need to be separated into their own pots.

I planted two seeds to each pot and much like the brussels sprouts, the time has come to give each plant a bit more room.

Because these plants are bigger, they’re easier to handle. There’s no need to fill the new pots to the brim, just a handful of compost will do, just so that the base of the pot is covered.

Pat the plants out of their pots and pull away the two plants from the root, making sure you keep hold of as much of the roots as possible.

Place the plants into the middle of the new pot and fill the gaps with fresh compost.

Water well and hope for the best! These plants will be a target for slugs and snails, so I’ve set a slug bin to help deter any pests from eating my broad beans.

Planting broad beans: Bunyards Exhibition

In the last few weeks my broad beans have gone from strength to strength. Not so long ago I separated them into their own pots and no less than a month later I’ve decided to the plant them out.  They’ve reached about 30cm in height and they’re drying out relatively quickly, which is a sure sign that they are due to be planted outside.

My old grandad used to say, “Don’t cast a clout until May is out!” which mean not to plant anything outside because you still have a risk of frost – well, I’ve decided to take a chance, with planting these beans outside.

 

I have 16 plants in total and I plant to plant them in a bed with french beans (that I’m yet to sow), and some herbs.

Broad beans tend to like a little bit of support, so I’ve planted each of them with a bamboo cane, creating a bit of a rudimentary cage by the end. Broad beans are prone to a number of pests and diseases including black fly, aphids and weevils.  They’re also prone to attack from pigeons if there’s nothing else available too!

Much like the strawberries I planted outside earlier this month, I’ve dug a hole big enough to cater for the majority of the rootstock and then covered well. I’ve then wrapped the whole plant structure in string to try and deter the birds from eating the leaves of the plants.

I’ll keep you updated in about a weeks time on how things are going with the broad beans – my biggest fear is that they get decimated by the frost or they’ve been eaten by the birds. When the temperature rises I’ll look to empty the compost bin and lay down a mulch on the bed so that the ground will hold more water than usual.

 

Broad beans, black soot and chocolate spot

I haven’t been too hot on pest control this year so far and unfortunately it shows on my broad bean patch. My broad beans have become victim to both black soot and chocolate spot.

Black soot

This year my broad beans have become victim to a massive black fly assault and as a result a black, powdery soot-like mold is covering the leaves, steam and is present on the some of the pods.

Black soot occurs after the black fly (or white fly) suck out all of the glucose and sugar from the plant, with the mold growing off of the excess sugar and glucose.

The black mold can be particularly damaging to your plants the mold can block out any light reaching the plant which will lead to a growth deficiency.

Sooty mold will also attract other pests including ants, aphids and more black and white fly.  I need to first address the pest problem before I look to eradicate the mold problem.

Chocolate Spot

To add to my black mold woes, I’ve also got a dose of chocolate spot on my broad beans. Chocolate spot is a fungus and is spread via the air and the rain.

In recent weeks we’ve experienced very wet and humid conditions which has caused a secondary bout of chocolate spot.

Chocolate sport performs well at a temperature between 15° and 22° – and guess what, that’s been the average temperature of the UK over the past few days!

Chocolate spot is a little brown spot that appears on the leaf of the plant but can also affect the stem of the plant, which will eventually lead to the plant collapsing in a horrible brown heap.

Because the leaves will begin to shrivel and I’ve pretty much got the most out of my plants (crop included) I can’t say that I’m too fussed about seeing them go.

It’ll free up some space and I can look to use the area for crops that I want to grow in the autumn or winter.