Monday, 4 February 2019

Battle of the broad bean tips

Now we have entered February, today was time to sow broad beans, my first sowing of the year. They are tough plants and cope well with the cold. I sowed 46 seeds (the total contents of the packet) and so should get two rows from this. They were sown in 3” pots and placed in the greenhouse for planting out when they are big enough in a few weeks time. The ground where they are to be planted is all ready for them. The variety was ‘Aquadulce Claudia’, a well known, reliable long pod variety. In March I’ll sow more broad beans and have ‘The Sutton’, an equally well known, dwarf variety, lined up. 

Anyone who has grown broad beans will know that black fly aphids find the tender tips of the broad bean plants much to their liking. Thick clusters of black fly are probably the main pest of these otherwise resilient plants. The usual advice is to snip off the plant tips and eat them yourself to pre-empt the black fly. But I suspect black fly this coming spring will have a battle on their hands, because they in turn are very much to the liking of the offspring of these, which around here are over-wintering in abundance:-

Each time I bring in wood for the log burner I find these
climbing up the wall which provide much entertainment
for the cats.