London (change)
18 messages
15/07/2014 at 11:22

I've noticed this year that very few of my runner bean flowers are setting.  There is very little evidence of bees or hoverflies this year.  Is there anything I can do to improve the set rate apart from getting a bee hive?

15/07/2014 at 11:44

I'm not growing any at present, but used to water at mid -day. The gentle watering caused the pollen to move and set. It certainly  worked.Another tip is to grow the beans with a few sweet pea plants this should encourage more bees and hoverflys.

15/07/2014 at 11:55

Same here!
Grown runners for many years, never had such a poor fruit set as this year.
Good idea about growing some sweet peas amongst the runners - will do that next year.

15/07/2014 at 12:13

Very late this year, different variety...painted lady....but now picking tasty beans

Plenty of compost in the trench, good moisture once growth is vigorous (or at this time of year water to encourage growth) and the occasional water spray as well as a good sunny, sheltered spot should produce good crops

15/07/2014 at 12:20

Thanks, I'll try the watering idea.

15/07/2014 at 15:29

My runners are looking very good with pods developing well I hear that misting the flowers with water helps them to set I haven't resorted to that myself as the plants seem to be thriving.

15/07/2014 at 17:53

I'm not growing this year, but my neighbour was complaining yesterday of the very poor set and very few flowers this year.

15/07/2014 at 18:39

It's not just me then! Loads of flowers (and black fly, but that's a different story!), but not much setting.

15/07/2014 at 19:25

Got the bees, both honey and bumble. Got the peas, got the borlotti, got the fruit. Got the compost in the trenches. Got the misting spray. This sounds like Nina Simone.

Ain't got the runner beans.

15/07/2014 at 21:42

Only other thing I can think of Pansy is to give them an organic liquid feed, I'm not saying they aren't in a rich bed just thought it can't hurt the lazy things. You could swear at them

15/07/2014 at 22:16

Liquid feed and a rich vocabulary will be issued to them tomorrow morning

16/07/2014 at 08:40

All good pansy face but is soil moist ?  Do you water thoroughly?  More important than anything else is moisture at the roots

16/07/2014 at 09:38

Is soil moist? Ha ha Verdun. I know you live in the dreamy southwest with its soothing, balmy zephyrs blowing in from the Caribbean but I'm in the peaky Peak district where every peak catches the rain. We've had rain in one form or another (mist, fog, drizzle, plain rain,shower, downpour, or storm) for weeks now. This afternoon we have a special treat in store in the form of another thunderstorm.  My water butts are overflowing. If there was a liquid equivalent of the National Grid I could export the stuff and make a fortune.

But thanks for the suggestion.

16/07/2014 at 09:47

I read/heard recently that with all the wet weather earlier this year many nutrients may well have been washed out of the soil.
My beans were looking a bit pale a few weeks ago so gave them a dose of phostrogen and they soon greened-up.

Trying White Lady this year and picked the 1st beans yesterday - delish!
Not a cloud in the sky today and already 22°, so better get the watering done.

16/07/2014 at 09:49

 Maybe the bees are misbehaving. They seem to have learned that they can access the nectar by drilling through the back of the flower thus reneging on their part of the deal -pollination. I watched them do it on my runners last year but I still got enough beans in the end.

16/07/2014 at 10:54

Got the round the back bees here too. I think as fidgetbones suggested they don't like the red colour so much. I think I'll try a white variety next year.

16/07/2014 at 11:29

First picking of runners today.

16/07/2014 at 12:21

Found this interesting -

Have to say my white flowered White Lady runners have not set very well so far.

But already lots to pick

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