Broadly Speaking Again or We've Bean Here Before

Last year (2022), I tried late-sowing my broad beans in August in an attempt to avoid blackfly infestation. That trial was only partially successful insomuch as I avoided the blackfly plague but had very few beans to harvest. Clearly, an August sowing of Luz de Otano beans was too late, even with the mild Autumn we had in 2022.

This year (2023), I sowed the beans in Rootrainers on July 2nd, a full month earlier than last year, and left them outside the polytunnel so that I remembered to water them regularly. By the 21st of July, the beans were ready (Photos 1 & 2) to transplant into their final growing position.

Photo 1: Broad Bean Plants in Rootrainers (21st July)

Photo 2: Broad Bean Plants in Rootrainers (21st July) 

Procedure was the same as last year and my normal practice for transplanting: dig hole, fill with water then homemade compost, insert plant, and firm in with hands and/or boot. All-day rain was promised for the next day otherwise I would have given the plants a further soaking.

I erected a temporary insect-mesh barrier around the newly-planted beans - this was mainly to keep the local cats (the poopers) and pigeons (the peckers) off the plot while the plants established themselves. Photo 3 was taken the day after transplanting after a slight battering by the rain.

Photo 3: Broad Beans in-situ

 Note: The larger plants, toward the top of Photo 3, were sown in early June and planted out later that month before we disappeared for a few days. Most of the transplants did not take due to the hot dry weather but a few did survive.

Time will tell whether the earlier sowing will avoid the blackfly attacks and produce a decent harvest.


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