Friday, 22 February 2008

What's with Broad Beans?

I would have loved to have sown my broad beans on the plot last November (the earliest it recommends on the packet and in all the magazines), but I didn't have time or space, so I thought I'd get them off to an early start this year instead. I let them germinate indoors for speed then planned to harden them off and put them in the greenhouse until I was ready to plant them out. Surely if they can stand December and January, they can stand February too? But they just won't harden. The leaves are going black with cold, even in the greenhouse during the day! I don't get it. Other UK bloggers are saying their beans are growing happily outdoors, and these are Aquadulce Claudia - supposedly one of the hardiest.

I've finally scrapped them - the stems started blackening too - and a new sowing has been made. This time I'll keep them outdoors from the start, and then if they germinate but don't like the cold it'll be their fault, not mine!

Today I have sown some more flowers and herbs too; a tray of bluebells, some sorrel and feverfew, tagetes, pansies and violas (what's the difference??). I never really liked pansies much, but I love the idea of edible flowers and I have a soft spot for orange flowers, so these (from Suttons - their picture) were too good to resist!

While I was at it I got some wild ones too, which are perennial and will brighten up the herb garden some more.


Soilman said...

Hiya Nome!
Could it be that your plants were being attacked by fungus, not cold? I have a plastic greenhouse like yours, and it does have a tendency to 'steam up' in the winter and cause fungal diseases in plants kept inside.

Having said that, maybe it IS just the cold; it you take anything outside from a warm house in Jan/Feb – even to a greenhouse - it may be asking too much of the plant to adjust.

I avoid putting things out until mid March, at the earliest...

dee said...

Soilman could be right!Taking them from the warmth out into the cold could have shocked them. I dont think youll have any probs starting them off outside now..

Pepette said...

I agree with soilman and dee too.
You will be ok sowing them outside now and if you're a bit worried it is still too cold, you could always cover them with a cloche or a bit of fleece ...?

I think pansies and violas are part of the same family; the only difference being the size of the flowers. But I stand to be corrected if anyone out there has a different answer!

Anonymous said...

And that's why i won't ever grow broad beans again, plus i don't like them much! When they do get going, they get blackfly and i end up spending hours sorting it out!

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