Growing broad beans

by Jane Moore

I can cope with this cold weather ... but my poor little broad bean plants have only just gone in the ground and look a bit horrified.

Broad beansIt's been a chilly week down here. Every morning we've had frost, not to mention snow, sleet and hail, followed by glorious sunshine. I'm not complaining, but this weather has come as a shock after the balmy temperatures of the past fortnight.

I can cope with this weather - a thermal vest and a good pair of hiking socks does the trick - but my poor little broad bean plants have just gone in the ground and look a bit horrified. Most of the bean seeds sowed directly outside last year failed to germinate. Take your guess as to what had them - rot, rodents or slugs - but I think it was probably a hungry mouse. So, this year I started them in pots in a sheltered corner at home, planting them out once they were a few inches tall. It's more work growing them this way but I only need a few plants as Paul isn't keen on broad beans - too many massive, chalky old ones when he was a lad.

If I have any more problems with growing broad beans I may discuss them with fellow allotmenteers. My neighbour Vic soaks his in paraffin to keep the mice away. This seems to do the job nicely as he's got a few lovely rows coming along, but I'm not sure if that's good practice in these days of health and safety - not to mention whether it contravenes organic sensibilities - so I'm sticking to my pots of plants.

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Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2007 at 00:00

Gardeners' World Web User 13/04/2008 at 11:46

I am sure that I read somewhere that putting down holly leaves will deter mice from eating newly planted peas or beans.

Gardeners' World Web User 14/04/2008 at 19:54

Why not invest in the cheaper end of the cloche market -a couple of low profile 1x mtre polytunnels or similar won't cost the earth - your beans will race away from a late autumn start - and you can switch the cloches to protect and start off spring sowings of other plants once the beans are up and running around March.

Gardeners' World Web User 15/04/2008 at 22:17

I have found Aquadulce do well from a direct sowing in November.

Gardeners' World Web User 16/04/2008 at 17:11

After watching program on Friday i would like to get my hands on free compost for the children's day nursery that i work in to fill our raised beds that the children will grow veg in . I live in Torquay does any one know some contact names and numbers? I'm finding this difficult as we are not a charitable organisation. Please Help!

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