Wednesday, 10 July 2019

The last of the Broad Beans

I've had a really good crop of Broad Beans this year, which is unusual  - they nearly always suffer from serious Blackfly infestation and Rust disease, and often produce a disappointing yield.

This year I have grown 20 Broad Bean plants, mostly of the variety "Witkiem Manita", with a couple of "De Monica". This is a number that fits comfortably into one of my raised beds, which measure 1 metre by 2.4 metres.

Last week I picked over 3kgs of pods:

After this I thought there would only be a few pods left, because the plants were beginning to look very tired and some of them had started to shed their leaves.

On Sunday I decided to pick all the remaining beans, and remove the plants.

I was surprised how many pods I found - another 2.9kgs!

Most of the pods were in very good condition, clean and well-filled.

However, there were also some small wrinkly, contorted ones - those produced by the few plants that were badly affected by the weedkiller-contaminated compost problem.

It was very evident which were the affected plants - their leaves were mottled, crinkly and pitted, like this:

I cut the plants down to a few inches above soil level, removing the pods as I went.

If I hadn't wanted the space immediately for another crop I would have left the bean plant stumps in place to gradually decay, because their roots have nitrogen-fixing nodules on them which can be beneficial for later crops.

However, I have Brussels Sprouts and PSB waiting for a turn in that bed, so the bean plants had to come out! I know from experience that if you leave them in place they often re-sprout with another (weaker) set of stems and just get in the way.

Young Brussels Sprout plants awaiting planting
I've dug a few handfuls of pelleted chicken manure into the soil of the now-vacant raised bed, and the brassicas will go into it soon. In a small garden like mine you can afford to leave any space vacant for long!


  1. I removed all my plants two weeks ago and sowed green beans in that spot. And none have come up... Now i'm debating either sow another round but i don't know what happend to them... or put ths psb plants in that spot... i had a great harvest too of broad beans. The drought did them in in the end though. My snow peas on the other hand gave a huge harvest. I always find it a sad moment to pick the last broad beans... it really ends spring for me

    1. If it were my choice, I'd plant the PSB. If the beans come up they can grow AROUND the PSB (especially if they are a dwarf variety)!

  2. Interestingly we’ve chosen the same varieties of broad beans this year.

  3. May I ask what you did with the remains of the broad beans?

    1. If you mean the stems and roots, then they went in the compost bin. The empty pods end up in there too!

  4. Interesting that you've had a good crop this year. Opposite to my experience. Usually I get a really good crop but this year they were totally mullered by Rust - a problem I've never had before. We got a few smallish pods off the autumn sown ones, but the spring sown ones were a total loss. I've no idea why as I did what I normally do :-/ All the pods, stems and everything else have gone into landfill.


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