Sunday, 26 April 2015

Broad Bean Damage - The Culprit

I joined Jamie on the allotment in the afternoon and spent most of the time weeding and staring! I was particularly looking at our broad beans which have been nibbled all along the leaf tips, as usual. We've previously blamed ants, pigeons, pheasants, caterpillars, slugs,,,, But now I'm convinced it's caused by Bean Weevils.
The adult causes the leaf damage, which isn't too catastrophic on a reasonable specimen, but can be fatal for the plant if they start nibbling too much when it's small. Also, the bean weevil larvae damage the bean and roots which is why some of our seeds develop poorly and die before they've really got going :-(
Not a great pic, but I hope you can see it's stripes
This document has some good advice, so I hoed all around our plants so they look a bit happier and I gave them a shake to get rid of some of the weevils, but I don't see why they won't make their way back!
This is another of the critters that I thought may be to blame for the broad bean damage - Red Velvet Mites - there are a lot of these around at the moment. But these are actually a friend of the allotment holder. They eat other insects (hopefully weevils, but I'm not sure) and help with decomposition of organic matter.

I was looking round garden centres in the morning (managed to avoid the temptation to buy) while Jamie dug the last potato trench and planted the Tenerife potatoes - a row of 9 on top of manure, pine needles and shredded cardboard. The poor little spuds won't know what hit them - they've probably never been so cold! We had some lovely rain (the first in a couple of weeks) to water them in well in the evening.
We had a few left over so we've planted them in potato bags - two in each bag. We've never grown potatoes in bags before so we're interested in seeing how they'll do. The Rosabelles and Kestrels we planted two weeks ago have just popped out so hopefully they'll have a bit of growing time, with no frost, before we need to do the first earthing up.
I cut a flower stem from one of our rhubarb plants - lots of rhubarb around site has flowered - they are brilliant looking but we don't want ours to bolt and stop producing edible stems yet! I put a pot over the hollow stem where I chopped it off - I've been told that water can get in and rot the plant at the base. Not sure if that's true but it sounds reasonable.
I dissected the flower as they're so mutant-looking! The un-developed flowers are rather interesting up-close too.
Our seedlings are looking ok in the greenhouse with some of the other ones emerging. Still the greenhouse is proving extremely popular with flying insects - the place is literally buzzin' :-)
What do bees and flies talk about??



10 comments:

  1. Those weevils also nibble pea leaves, They attack our broad beans every year but don't seem to do too much damage. I used to hoe around the plants but to be honest it didn't seem to make much difference,

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    1. You plant your broad beans from modules don't you? Perhaps that's the answer - keeps them away from the weevils until they're at a healthy stage. Maybe we'll try that next year.

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  2. Wish I had your camera. Fed up with mine. We`ve had rain here too. Hooray. Now we can put lots more in.

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    1. Nice to have had some rain. Everything looks healthier. But we had a -2 frost last night - glad we earthed up our spuds yesterday!

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  3. Red velvet mites, they look so cute, it's where Viagra comes from (Sildenafil), I wonder if you could sell yours to Pfizer.

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    1. Well I never! You learn something every day :-)

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  4. I'm just discovering how many things are out there to get your veg before you do...it's quite frightening! :)

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    1. Oh yes! There's at least one pest for everything you plant! It is amazing!
      http://plot7wildlife.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. Oh, I have never seen the flower bud of rhubarb so closely, it looks so beautiful. Your garden looks ready for the new growing season. Good job!

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    1. The plot's ready but the weather has gone cold again :-( Boo! I'm definitely ready for Summer now!

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Belinda