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Friday, August 7, 2009

Broad beans

This year we grew two varieties of broad bean, Witkeim in the field and Bowland's Beauty in the orchard. They both enjoyed the wet weather and grew very well. The Bowland's Beauty never got any Black fly but the Witkeim did and Mike experimented with spraying them with washing up liquid and elder potion neither of which seemed to do much good. Mysteriously the black fly disappeared after a while. The Witkeim beans on the left are paler in colour and although the pods are short they have more or less as many beans as the Bowland's Beauties.

The Witkeim were not as tall as the Bowland's Beauties and their pods
were mostly close to the ground so they didn't fall over. The Bowland's Beautie's pod's were more spread out on the stems and they collapsed a bit with the weight. This might
not have been a problem if they had been picked and not left for seed.

The rain last week brought on Chocolate spot and almost over night the leaves disappeared off most of the plants. You can see the Witkeim beans in the 1st of August post still had most of their leaves but by the time the photo here was taken on the 5th of August, they are gone. There were black patches starting on the pods so we cut them all down on Tuesday and we will hopefully get them inside today before the rain starts again.


  1. we did a taste test on the Witkeim and the Bolands Beauty, and the Witkeim won hands down.
    But to be fair to the Bolands Beauty they did improve alot as they matured.

  2. Madeline - on the other side of the world from you, my broad beans are just starting to form pods. I'm growing 'Aquadulce' which my seed supplier says is an heirloom variety. I doubt if we could get the 2 varieties you mention although I haven't really looked into it. I've grown broad beans once before - they are a funny vegetable to grow - pretty easy but they do take a long time to bear and my memory from last time is of having some pest problems around picking time.
    Is your problem to do with too much rain? Have you still managed to save most of the crop or are you having particular problems this year?

  3. James, They really have very few problems as a vegetable and are pretty disease free until they pass the time you would normally pick and eat them. It is between the eating and seed saving period that I have problems. The plants become heavy, and liable to fall over in the wind. Then the chocolate spot gets them in the warm, wet weather. It causes the pods to rot which is not helped by sitting on wet soil. The maturing beans can start to rot. The pods should ripen and go black and crisp on the plants but for the last few years we have had to bring them in green and dry them under cover. The crop is in the drying room now and most of it will be Ok, I think.