After my first batch of Broad Beans (kept in the garage) were eaten by mice before they even germinated, I have "hatched" a second batch indoors. Due to the higher temperature, they germinated much quicker. It took about a week. I sowed 24 seeds and 23 of them have come up. Maybe the last one will eventually germinate too?
My two varieties are "Masterpiece Green Longpod" and "De Monica". I am toying with the idea of sowing a few of the "Stereo" beans I have left over from last year, as a second crop. I'm still not sure this is a good idea, because as soon as the BBs finish I normally plant the PSB - without which I can not live!
The plants are looking really good - strong and erect. I don't want them to go leggy and weak, so I have now put them outside in the garden. They will remain in their pots for another week or 10 days and then I will plant them in one of the raised beds.
I intend to plant each pair as if it were one plant, and provide them with a stake (a bamboo cane, probably) for support. This will stop then flopping all over the place and hopefully will make their flowers that much more accessible to the Bumble Bees so necessary for pollination.
For the time being, they are protected from the worst of the weather by one of my tunnel cloches. This arrangement will provide plenty of light and ventilation, whilst shielding the plants from heavy rain and strong wind which could easily damage them.
That is always the dilemma in the garden. Which plants have priority determines your schedule. And I can so understand PSB taking the lead as it sounds so good (though I've never had it) and it comes at a time that not much else is producing.ReplyDelete
Looking good. It's all too easy to mollycoddle seedlings at this stage, but broad beans are tough plants so they should be fine outdoors and it will prevent them from going leggy.ReplyDelete
Flopping has always been a problem with my BB's also. That's why I started growing them in tomato cages. But I've always direct sown them, I didn't know that they tolerated transplanting.ReplyDelete
They do if you raise them in individual pots so that the roots are not disturbed - many people get much better germination in pots than in open ground and the new shoots avoid the slugs which love them.Delete
On the allotments there's a trend to plant broad beans in blocks of plants (eg 8 x 8 etc), with the usual space between planting holes, but with up to 4 broad bean seeds in each of the holes. The bean plants probably don't make as many side shoots as those from individually planted seeds, but you do seem to get a good clump of plants which produce a lot of beans all at the same stage - so this is a good method for those wanting to pick and freeze beans in a single go. A bean variety with good fungal resistance is probably also useful in this system as there are a lot of plants together.ReplyDelete
Personally, I like to pick my beans in smaller quantities at a time, to eat fresh over a long period of time, so I plant them individually with plenty of space all around and they make lots of side stems which can continue producing for many weeks. In a raised bed, with limited space and the need to produce high density crops, it seems very sensible to put more than one bean plant at each planting station.
I also want to pick a little at a time. I think BBs need support. If they flop their flowers are often damaged.Delete
Out of interest, I grow exhibition longpod, which is tall but stays resolutely upright and tidy in growth. I also grow various shorter or dwarf varieties and they often grow more as an untidy rosette (with side branches that run along the ground then up) and seem to need much more space as they are so hard to prop up. Definitely agree that you get better pods when the flowers are off the ground and not bumping about.Delete
I'm still debating how I'm going to sow my broad beans - yours is an interesting method of growing 2 per pot & then proving a stake for each grouping. The block planting mentioned by Spade & Dagger is also interesting - lots to ponder over the next few weeks.ReplyDelete
Ours will be going in some time this week.ReplyDelete
Your beans look really healthy mark. In the past I've sown in loo roll tubes first and then planted out. The last couple of years I've direct sown as it takes less effort! This year I'm also trying Aqua dulce again that I direct sowed in November, most have come up but there's a few gaps. I had planned on sowing a few spare seeds to fill in the gaps but didn't get round to it.ReplyDelete
I'm also going to sow some Eleanora express, probably in April, to get a staggered crop.
I grow in short double rows across the raised beds usually but Last year I started changing some of my beds around so they are now narrower, so the Aqua dulce have gone in as a big block with 3 rows one way and about 10 the other direction. In between the 3 rows I've just sown two rows of parsnip (with radish) as I find they don't need to get going properly until the beans have finished, so it saves space. The beds a bit dry and a bit poor compared with my others so I might add some leaf mould on top to act as a mulch. I have a second bed with Aqua dulce that's even narrower so have two rows down its length. I might try sowing carrots in between these?
I usually have to support them too, with canes and string.
That's my tuppence worth on broad beans! Hope yours do well.