runner bean revival

August 7, 2009 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

patience and time do more than strength and passion‘ – Jean de la Fontainerunner beans with blackfly

Do you recall the black fly infestation that stunted the growth of my runner beans at the allotment and left them looking like this?

A few people suggested the only way to save my plants from these sticky pests was to use a chemical bug spray.

With warnings on the back of the bottle to keep pets and children away from sprayed areas I accepted the loss of my beans rather than use something that openly stated ‘kills bees‘.  Save the plants and slaughter the pollinators didn’t make much sense to me and I wasn’t prepared to ingest such chemical nasties.

I spent a few days gently spritzing the leaves instead with a mix of water and Ecover washing up liquid and then stepped up the assault with a thorough sluicing of the leaves worst effected.  The bugs were beaten but the gnarly leaves looked beyond revival.  With other jobs around the garden taking my attention I left them in situ and planned to pull them up when we got back from our  holiday.  Isn’t nature a wonderful thing?  They may be late flowering now but it looks like we’ll have some bountifull beans afterall.  runner beans_revival with lots of flowers

Sown 8th May straight into the ground, first shoots emerged 23rd May, black fly spotted mid June (photo of stunted plants taken 2 July and sluicing of leaves commenced).  25 July a single pod sighted and first signs of lower leaves reviving, 3 August photo above taken.  Pic below shows canes in the yard which were lacking bees to pollinate the pods – a few plucky fellas obviously managed it. MOSAIC - first runner beans in yard

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