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Broad beans need some gentle support

broad beans gently supported enjoying the rainWe planted our broad beans in November rather than the spring. Apparently you are less likely to get blackfly and blight and can crop an earlier harvest. We now have good strong plants. I also enjoyed seeing something growing in the vegetable patch during the winter.

I noticed this evening that the stems of the broad beans were beginning to flop. Some of the stems are nearly four feet tall. When the flowers develop into beans the weight of these can easily snap the stems. As we were expecting rain overnight, I thought it might be wise to rig up a simple support for each row.

I used three foot bamboo canes at the end of each row and garden twine. Push the canes into the ground at an angle away from the rows. The twine needs to be fairly tight and will straighten the poles. I use a length of twine on each side of a row. Tie one side first and gently lift the stems to the support, this will give you the space to tie a length of twine along the other side. Tie another support line to the bamboo canes if you think that the beans need it.

I managed to finish tying up the broad beans just as it was getting difficult to see and made my way back to the house with Inca our youngest Min Pin who is my ADC in the garden. We stopped to listen to the Mistle Thrush singing melodiously in a tall tree beside the pond. She is generally the last bird to sing at dusk in this garden.

Then a bat swooped past us and circled the pond above our heads. Its body dark but the large wings delicate, the skin letting the shy shine through. It circled above us until we reached the back door. I’ve noticed a lot more bats at dusk in the garden this year but usually they just zoom past and are gone before I can get a good look.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Richard

    We planted our beans in November (2006). We usually plant them in early Sprng and battle with blackfly etc.

    Our plants are so strong that we will be planting them in November from now on. For a really long season one could plant in November and also in the Spring.

  2. Richard

    When do you plant the beans out?

    Thanks for the tips re supporting the beans – I have some plants going (first time I’ve grown them) and they’re looking like they need some support – though they aren’t 4′ tall yet!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Yes, Ash, I woke several times to hear the patter of rain on the roof and the gurgle of water in the guttering (it is about three feet from my side of the bed). It’s still raining – gentle, penetrating rain. Perfect.

    Baby broad beans are scrummy and you can’t beat a really fresh big broad bean (especially in salads). Danny is passionate about fresh vegetables and I have found that the home grown ones are so much tastier. I even eat cabbage now and courgettes – the latter is a totally different animal, home grown.

    Hi Frankie, I’m definately going to stick to November planting from now on. We don’t have any blackfly. Generally I nip out the tops of ech plant to discourage them (rather late when blackfly are already in residence). My great uncle Frank always said that these tops are considered a delicacy in France. Until now the blackfly have put me off. I’m going to give this a go for tonight’s supper.


  4. frankie

    That’s it, next year I’m sticking them in nice and early. Thanks for your help in trying to identify my broad bean problems..

  5. Did you have rain last night? We have and it’s still raining! I might plant broad beans this November. They’re not my favourite vegetable, but there are lots of other veg that I’ve discovered I like since trying them really fresh.

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