2020 has been a dismal year for beans – at least for me. The molluscs made a meal of the broad beans over winter and it continued from there.
Every time I saw a broad bean shoot, it was too late. As I rushed out to put sheep’s fleece round it, it was already a stump from which there was no return. So, I sowed again in the vain hope that something would come of these later sowings.
Then in the late spring/early summer the slugs and snails seemed impervious to the straw mixed with the horse manure, which I had placed over the bean seeds in an attempt at no-dig. Well, I exaggerate slightly, as I did get some beans but I think the rains also came at the wrong time. As if this wasn’t enough, the snails also climbed the bean poles and munched on the meagre crop as it was forming.
So, perhaps I am being a fool by trying the no-dig trick again this winter. I’ve sown broad beans and dumped a bag of manure on top of them, followed by a net cloche to keep the birds off any shoots which may appear.
However, the garlic in the lasagne bed by the back door has started to sprout, so the manure isn’t proving to be an inhibiting factor – at least in this case. Of course, garlic is less prone to attack than beans but who knows. The latter are old now, so I don’t feel there is much to lose by feeding the soil and possibly getting a crop of some sort.