Sunday, 14 May 2017

Runner Beans started off

Now that my tomatoes are safely potted-up, my thoughts have turned to beans. The Broad Beans are looking very promising. They are covered in flowers.

I have been dutifully tying-in the plants to their canes as they grow, to stop them flopping over. Most of them have been tied in three places now.

I have been watching for bees visiting those flowers, and I have deliberately left the flowering PSB plants in place to attract them. I have seen lots of honey bees on the PSB, but the Broad Beans don't seem to tempt them so much. It seems to be mostly Bumble Bees that pollinate the Broad Beans.

Flowering PSB. The one on the right is "Red Spear".

The PSB is going to have to come up soon though, because it needs to make space for the Runner Beans that are to follow it.

This year I plan to grow 12 Runner Bean plants, but in my usual fashion I sowed twice that number. They have all germinated too.

I have used tall pots because Runner Beans quickly put down long roots

I start my Runners off in pots rather than direct-sowing them. There are two reasons for this: first, because this way I can get the beans started early - before I have to clear away the PSB - and second because when the beans are in pots it is easier to protect them from the weather and from pests. When they are about 6 inches tall and have their first set of true leaves I will plant them out, but before that I will need to remove the PSB, prepare the soil for the beans (adding home-made compost, and pelleted chicken manure), and erect the bean-poles. This year I will be using Hazel bean-poles instead of my usual bamboo. I'm expecting it to be a bit trickier to erect the poles, because I will have to tie them together with string rather than using plastic clips like I normally do.

I have decided that this year I will not grow any French beans. Normally I grow some along with the Runners, but they often get overshadowed by the vigorous growth of the Runners and don't do as well as I would like. Besides, French beans are readily available in the shops all year round, but Runners are less common, so my plan is to grow as many as possible of the latter and to freeze any surplus.

This is nothing to do with beans, but I just want to slip in a photo showing how my potatoes are coming on. They are looking very lush after the rain we had a couple of days ago. You can tell that this is a recent photo because of the potted-up tomato plants seen in the background!

1 comment:

  1. We sowed our Robin Hood broad beans today - directly sown which is a change for us,. I always think broad bean flowers look like bumble bees. Still hardly any rain here just a bit of a shower overnight.


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