The Broad Bean Story

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by Sjoerd, Mar 29, 2023.

  1. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    20,404
    Likes Received:
    19,425
    The broad beans were ready. They have germinated and hardened-off. Sometimes gardening is not exactly straightforward. The presence of pesky mean-o’s requires thinking up different approaches to be successful.

    What we face here is the ruthless digging-up of planted seeds and plants that have been raised at home and planted out after a period of hardening-off. What in the world can be done?

    Well, for several years now we have only been germinating bean seeds at home, planting out only after the plantlets have developed to a certain stage. This usually works well, but still the little beasts sometimes dig up the plantlets, biting through the stems, leaving the leafy stems wilted on the soil surface.

    Why were the voles (or rats) doing this? They weren’t eating anything, just biting the plant off and then leaving it lie. It is so demoralising seeing the traject the animals walked, wittness the withering horizontal plants discarded by the senseless vermin.

    If you think about it though, it isn’t the way that rodents operate— they do not bite, they eat. However, they ate nothing…or did they? So my theory is that what these beasties were eating could have been the bean seed halves. A seed is planted, with water and a bit of warmth, the seed germinates. The roots come out of the inside if the seed, growing downward, and the bean’s stem comes out from between the seed halves, growing upward. A light went off.

    Regardless of how much “energy” the plantlet uses from the seed halves, there is still some nutrition left in the cotyledons. I believe that is this that the rodents can smell, or instinctively go for, destroying the plant in the process.

    What to do then? I remove the cotyledons before planting.
    1E3E9E09-DDBE-4BFE-9B41-FA636F97001F.jpeg

    Here are all of them in a Chinese food container:
    83C916C5-5E48-41A7-9336-3EE0B3F4E59E.jpeg

    We peeled-back the mulch, raked the ground and planted the first row.
    6F0AA8A1-2F96-4034-951E-9E213BB73296.jpeg

    Then, the whole plot:
    73C0C15A-F55E-4BD3-827A-888E9A0DCFA2.jpeg

    Of course taking this measure was not enough because there are also winged veggie predators about…great and small.
    52DD36F5-8D96-4F45-8DE3-23EA41E2B27B.jpeg

    Break - out the Enviromesh. This ought to deter most uninvited guests.
    E6EE2AF1-2562-4326-9B25-F3B48C769A33.jpeg

    An overview of this project:
    ED3C379F-A681-46F2-975E-1632ECD9884C.jpeg

    Most of the work done, I had time for two more tasks— finishing off the pruning of the butterfly bushes and the refurbishing of the second compost bin. We had bought some black pond liner, removed the rotting tarp and replaced the outer wall.
    95E28097-DFC2-493F-BBCB-B4BE629679A6.jpeg

    I apologise for the shabbiness of the plots so far, but their time is coming.
     
  2. Loading...


  3. Netty

    Netty Chaotic Gardener Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    18,373
    Likes Received:
    5,275
    Location:
    Southern Ontario zone 5b
    Don't apologize Sjoerd ... My yard is still snowy, brown and covered in last years debris. Yours is green and growing and looks amazing as far as I'm concerned!
     
  4. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    20,404
    Likes Received:
    19,425
    Thanks Netty, you are kind to say that. I am feeling better already.
     
    Melody Mc. and Pacnorwest like this.
  5. Zigs

    Zigs Young Pine

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2021
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    3,365
    Location:
    Kent
    A good plan of action Sjoerd :like: We have several creatures that would enjoy a cotyledon, will consider taking them off the beans and peas this year :)

    We have :

    Weasles
    Voles
    Mice
    Rats
    Partridges
    Pheasants
    Blackbirds
    Tits
    Woodpeckers
    Rabbits
    Foxes
    Shrews
    Badgers
    and the latest addition, a few dozen farm cats that moved in next door :rolleyes:
     
    Melody Mc., Pacnorwest and Sjoerd like this.



    Advertisement
  6. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    20,404
    Likes Received:
    19,425
    That’s quite a list. Someone else’s cats would worry me a bit. I would hate to always be thinking about groping in the soil and wondering if I would shake hands with a neighbour cat’s abandoned package.

    We do have a sort of feral cat that that patrols our complex. He is welcome though.

    But that list of nature’s darlings could test my love of animals. Chuckle.
     
    Melody Mc. and Pacnorwest like this.
  7. Pacnorwest

    Pacnorwest Hardy Maple

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    Messages:
    2,828
    Likes Received:
    6,483
    Very nice to see what a great job planting and protecting your veggie gardens.
    The season is young to plant out to many newbies . 088C21D7-2E54-411B-820E-DBC8FD9C731D.gif We are so close yet so far…
     
    Sjoerd, Cayuga Morning and Melody Mc. like this.
  8. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2022
    Messages:
    2,196
    Likes Received:
    5,599
    Location:
    Brisith Columbia, Canada
    Sjoerd....this post makes so much sense! I never thought to remove the sides of the beans. I will definitely be doing this as well.

    May I ask about your frame for the enviromesh? Did you make that from your own plastic pipe? I have a back up green house made from what looks to be a similiar product. I put rebar into the ground and slide the pipe over the rebar to create the bow to the height and width I want, then drape in plastic. To use remay on the ground I use sticks of kindling....your's looks so much more efficient.

    I'm with Netty - your gardens look amazing and not unkempt at all. I'm still about 14 inches of melt to go to find the dissary under mine. But soon! Thanks for sharing this.
     
    Sjoerd and Cayuga Morning like this.
  9. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Messages:
    7,076
    Likes Received:
    6,824
    Location:
    New England
    Great idea Sjoerd! Let's is know if removing the cotyledons works.
     
    Melody Mc., Sjoerd and Pacnorwest like this.
  10. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    20,404
    Likes Received:
    19,425
    Cayu— it has worked already. I have been doing this for a while now. It is just that I did not know if others did this as well. Sometimes I think that all gardeners know all the same tips

    Mel— well, if you decide to do this just be careful and go slow. Fingers crossed that your snow quickly melts, among other things.

    Re: The frame. That is made from PVC electrical conduit (tubing). One can buy then in various lengths, or you can cut them to size yourself. I do not know if this technique is better than yours, just a bit different.
    **I will say; just for clarity, that when the plantlets reach the top of the netting, I remove the netting.

    Re rebar and remay. What, exactly, do these terms mean.

    Chuckle Pac. How’s that frustration level there? Hang in there, meid.
     
    Pacnorwest likes this.
  11. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2022
    Messages:
    2,196
    Likes Received:
    5,599
    Location:
    Brisith Columbia, Canada
    Sorry for the confusion. I think the product is the same.

    For my pop up greenhouse, the lenths I use allow for an 8 ft ceiling and about 6 feet across. Rebar are steel rods that are used for strengthing concrete when you pour it, or to sink into a footing with a portion above to mount a wooden post to.

    We pound it into the ground to fit the ends of the long plastic pipe. Then bend the pipe to another piece of steel pounded into the ground on the opposite side. Remay is a type of shade cloth. It has different weights to provide different levels of shade or frost protection.

    Mine is like this but smaller scale. We use it when I grow too many peppers or tomatoes for the greenhouse. :rolleyes:

    upload_2023-3-30_15-1-47.jpeg
     
    Sjoerd likes this.
  12. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    20,404
    Likes Received:
    19,425
    Ah cheers Mel. I was thinking in that direction. You made it clear. Thanks for the pic as well.
     
    Melody Mc. and Pacnorwest like this.
  13. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    4,119
    Likes Received:
    2,447
    Location:
    Malacca, Malaysia.
    I was just looking at this post and I just reminded of the recent problem with my French beans. This is the first time I sow directly in the bed and stick a little bamboo skewer to indicate where I put them. A couple of days later I noticed there were little depression where I sowed the seeds, all five of the locations. The seeds were gone all 15 of them and I guess it must have been eaten by Tree shrews. There are lots of tree shrews here in my place. Now I am back to sowing them in seed starters.

    Removing the cotyledons sounds like a good idea but then again French beans have much smaller cotyledons. Anyway I might give it a try for safety sake. Thanks for the idea Sjoerd.
     
    Pacnorwest and Sjoerd like this.
  14. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    20,404
    Likes Received:
    19,425
    Oh dear, KK— I suppose the tree shrews are thankful to you for placing the skewers to show them where the snacks were hidden. Chuckle. Now the shrews will tell their children how to find those little seedy snacks. Of course the older ones will go onto social media and also text all their friends about the new restaurant on the block.

    No seriously, those little guys can smell the seeds in the soil. But perhaps it wasn’t tree shrews, perhaps it was mice. Sometimes mice are so numerous they go out and look for food.

    Back when I used to plant seeds directly into the veggie plots, the mice did the same as your tree shrews. I made little fine-meshed metal fencing covers (like roofs) that went the full length of the rows. They still got in. I placed simple mouse traps in the protective over the seed row. I caught several mice and the attacks stopped. I still had to replant the empty places.

    It is a yearly scenario in my garden. It is a fight I cannot win…and I do not want to win— I do not want to kill all the mice. That would be disruptive to the milieu of the lottie, some of everything need to be present, except for rats perhaps. This situation is exactly why I plant beans and peas at home before planting outside.

    I also remove all the cotyledons from the bean plantlets . It is fiddly work; but for me it is a necessity, so I sigh deeply and just get on with it.
     
    Pacnorwest likes this.
  15. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    4,119
    Likes Received:
    2,447
    Location:
    Malacca, Malaysia.
    Hehe!! I just got a booking for two thru WhatsApp :D
    No I believe it is tree shrews because I have seen them digging for goodies in my other beds. I have aluminum mosquito netting covering my compost tank, yes the container was a water tank from my fountain, and they make holes in the netting big enough for them to get in and out. Yes it is useless to protect the seeds for direct sowing -
    Thanks for the warning Sjoerd.
     
    Pacnorwest and Sjoerd like this.
  16. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    20,404
    Likes Received:
    19,425
    Chuckle.
    Well, good luck from here on. I hope the shews will move on.
     
    Pacnorwest likes this.

Share This Page