Broad beans are an easy veg crop to grow and seeds can be sown at various times of the year from autumn until late spring and can also provide an early summer harvest before most other crops.
How and when to pinch out broad beans
If you have broad beans growing, make sure you weed regularly between the plant rows to stop weeds from competing for light, moisture, and soil nutrients.
Keep a look out for the plants starting to flower and when the lowest set of flowers start to form pods pinch out the shoot tips at the top using your thumb and forefinger.
Doing this will encourage the plants to put their energy into developing pods, rather than continuing to grow taller. This will increase your yield later when you harvest!
And it will make your broad bean plant bushier and more visually appealing.
It will also help reduce problems with blackflies which you may find suddenly descending en masse at the top of the plant.
Blackflies survive by sucking the sap from your plants, which is the lifeblood of your plant. Because it is mainly sugar, it is a great source of energy for blackflies.
There are a few ways that you can deal with blackflies infesting your broad beans, but one of the best is an insect hotel.
These are structures that replicate the natural habitats of insects, which provide a hibernation space for some insects.
Insects such as ladybirds, ground beetles, earwigs, and hoverflies love insect hotels. And by attracting these insects, you are attracting creatures that will prey on the blackfly. This is a great natural deterrent and encourages more pollinators and beneficial insects into your garden at the same time.
After pinching out broad beans
If the shoot tips pinched off aren’t covered in blackfly don’t throw them away as they are delicious stir-fried or steamed!
Even if your broad bean plant has been fairly badly affected by blackfly before pinching out, don’t worry. These plants are very robust and are rarely severely damaged.
Provide your young vegetables with ample space to thrive by thinning out this month so you have a much healthier crop when it comes to harvesting later.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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