I thought I was going to have a bigger than normal crop of Broad Beans this year, since I sowed extra seeds because of early fears of a Coronavirus-induced vegetable shortage. However, my hopes have been dashed. The blasted Blackfly have beaten me!
A week ago, the 30 bean plants in this raised bed were looking reasonably good, and the pods were beginning to swell, but more or less overnight they collapsed into this sorry heap:-
Of course I tried all the usual anti-Blackfly measures, like washing them off with the hosepipe set to spray, and even (unusually for me) squirted them with a proprietary bug spray. To no avail.
I have left in place a few of the least-affected plants, but pulled up the remainder, after picking off the few small pods that they had produced. The "Express" plants were the worst affected, by a long way, and the "Imperial Green Longpod" ones were the least affected.
Fortunately, I have a few more Broad Bean plants in a different place. These are the spares that I couldn't bear to part with. They have developed into the best bean plants of the lot - tall and strong and now bearing plenty of pods.
These are also "Imperial Green Longpod". When it comes to sowing Broad Beans next year (If I sow Broad Beans at all), I shall remember how well this variety did!
The fact that these beans are doing well when the "main crop" ones failed to deliver is another vindication of my normal "belt and braces" approach to my crops. I always try to grow more than one variety of each vegetable type, and I try to keep some spares available to help me replace any casualties. It seems to have paid off on this occasion.