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For the last 3 years I have tried to grow runner beans. Each year they fail miserably. I'm not after the rows and rows of 8' tall plants that my dad used to have which gave a colander full of beans per day. I just want a few plants to make it. Year 1 slugs and snails. Last year and this year, millions of black fly. Sacrificial nasturtiums were sacrificed, but it appears not enough! Tried spraying with soap which slowed them down but not stopped them. Have cut the affected leaves off so I can get to the rest of the plant to spray and I think that was the wrong thing to do. It doesn't look too healthy. So, I give up. No runner beans for us.
On a happier note, the peas are doing fabulously this year only inches away from the runner beans!
In search of my mother's garden, I found my own. I am now a bit older.
STOP WORRYING. Enjoy and give it time. I think relax is the word.
Growth takes time. Be patient. And while you're waiting, pull a weed and see what happens.
There is still time yet Annie. Mine have only just started producing beans - enough for supper yesterday. So give them lots of water to drink and while you enjoy your pea crop you may find the beans suddenly start producing.
Join the club Annie. I am beginning to think that my no-kill, no-chemicals approach (which is the opposite of the blast-em-before-they-get-a-chance-to-do-anything approach of my parents in the 60s to 80s) is to blame. I think my beans don't stand a chance against the hordes of critters out there looking for an organic lunch.
I have black fly for the first time ever, maybe the broad beans nearby?
Thanks all. There are some things that I have had real success with and others that have never worked.... Sweet corn and carrots I'm looking at you! I think maybe I should plant far more than I need and hope. I have a no dodgy chemicals approach to veg growing and I won't change that, but it's not easy at all. If only veg grew like weeds!
So a bit of patience was needed. I have had a harvest so far from the one plant that survived. pretty good considering. Enough beans for two meals for two people and there's a good few more on the plant ripening.
Well you got one meal more than me then! But this year I grew borlotti beans Lengua di Fuoco, for dried beans only as I'm not keen on them as a substitute for runners, and so far they are magnificent. And very pretty with their ruby red pods hanging in the (sun?)
Unless you use effective protection against slugs (which, unfortunately, means pellets as all other methods are only partially effective or worse), insurance by means of multiple redundant spare plants is the way to go. Most decent suppliers put so many seeds in the packet that the average household couldn't possibly consume all of the produce if they were all planted and grew to full production. For one 2 metre row, I sow 15 beans individually in 3" pots in mid April (depends on where you live - I'm in central UK- add or subtract a couple of weeks depending on location and/or weather.) Plant out when 8 inches tall. When planting out, push a bean seed into the soil a few inches away (insurance policy 1.) Take the empty pots and sow another 15 beans ready to replace those which you have planted out and which will inevitably be eaten by the slugs (insurance policy 2.) When you plant these out, push another seed into the ground a few inches away (insurance policy 3.) Most packets have 60 seeds. Now you know why!
So many insurance policies! And the premiums go up every year. If shops would only sell runner beans when they are young and tender rather than when they could be used as tree ties I wouldn't bother struggling every year.
My problem is that the bees just aren't interested in them. Loads of bees of every kind. Companion planting just results in the companions being favoured and the beans ignored!
Pansyface & Annie. I've been growing R.Beans for 45 years and never had a problem, even in times of drought. I'm not crowing about it but can't understand why your beans fail all the time. I always grow extra beans as some are bound to be attacked by something. I grow by both planting straight into the ground or in large pots to transplant out. when the slugs attack leave the plant in and usually it will overcome the onslaught and become stronger, if not use one of your spares. There is a window when slugs attack and then they seem to leave them
alone. Be vigilant and use a FEW slug pellets a few feet AWAY from your beans. I always plant two to a pole as well as it helps if one is attacked. This year I had a small patch about 1' x 1' of black fly being used by ants as a food source so I just sprayed that little bit. We would all like to be organic gardeners but sometimes a little help goes a long way. Look at it this way, the little spray I used saved my beans. We're having them again today and the neighbours are getting sick of them I'm sure . Don't be so hard on yourselves, have a little helping hand and you will have a crop of lovely beans. PS. I always always grow a stringless variety. ...God , I do go on don't i.
ANNIE2810. Love your hairstyle. I've just bought a Swing/Lindyhop dress from eBay for a special occasion. I'm knocking on a bit but it feels great to swing around the house in it. My hubby thinks I'm nuts........I am.
Hello Runnybeak, Thanks for the helpful comments. Trouble is, I do do multiple plantings and the plants grow well. Then they flower. I water them, I spray mist them, I shout at them, I talk lovingly to them (through clenched teeth), in fact I do everything I can think of. But the bees, honey and bumble, just float on by. They don't stop, they don't do a rekke, they don't even do a doubletake. In the past I have tried hand pollinating them. But life is too short really for all that milarkey.
I can grow peas, broad beans, borlotti. No problem.
I cannot bring myself to poison a slug or a snail. I am lucky to live beside a field so the ones that don't go to pass their days on the compost heap end up being hurled over the road. I am a champion snail hurler. I especially like to do it to the ones who are locked in an erotic embrace. I always imagine them saying to each other "Did the earth move for you?"
Pansyface: I read somewhere (probably on here) that bees don't see red-flowered runner beans. So try a white-flowered variety?
Annie: Good advice above, imho. Plant and sow lots. They don't all survive, One for the slug/One for the snail/One to grow/And one to fail. Seed is cheap.
Pansy. Your post made me laugh. Especially bout the slugs. Well there you go my dear girl, you are to frightfully kind to those critters. Get you heart off your sleeve, get your boots on and stamp,on them. No use throwing them over the field they will only come back for more. Apparently they can travel great distances to get back to where they were born. Eventually !! . Adopt the British Bulldog spirit and squash for England.
Seriously iv no ideA why your beans are failing. You are doing everything you right,but I wouldn't bother trying to hand pollinate.
There was a delay in posting this as I was cooking. Potato Gratin, Steak and RUNNER BEANS.
Steve, I heard about the red flowers not being too popular. My bees must be high Tory. So I tried red and white (called St. George and like the flag). Still no luck. The only thing I have left to try is the white flag of surrender.
Painted Lady are said to be good but I haven't grown them myself.
Runnybeak - enjoy! Yet another night of Swiss chard for us. And tomatoes for dessert.
Steve, I shall make a note