Broad beans potted on, not planted out

I’ve planted broad beans in containers before, long before we built our square-metre raised bed at our old house. But until we do the landscaping for our new designs, we really do need to containerize all our veg, which is going to mean pots and pots of… pots.

Here’s how the first batch look, alongside the garlic:

IMG_20160416_165000_611

The canes in each pot are because in the past I’ve had broad bean plants “corkscrew” on me, and frequently fall over even after I’ve pinched out the tips to stop growth. I think the smaller containers towards the front might need potting on again. But this at least means I’m ready for when (if?) someone agrees to come and shift a large amount of earth to make our terraces!

The seven pots you see are only about a third of the broad beans I initially sowed. I’m aware that both potting up, and also leaving pot-bound, can cause a check to growth: I’m hoping these two effects won’t cancel each other out, and so by only potting up a few plants right now I’ll get some kind of succession. We’ll find out soon enough!

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6 comments

  1. Julieanne · April 18, 2016

    At this stage, pinching out tips will encourage more stems & therefore more beans. I’ve not grown broad beans in pots, so will be interested to see how yours grow, particularly from a Spoonie Veg perspective.

    Good idea re putting in the canes now. Broad Beans aren’t technically meant to be staked, but more often than not I’ve found I’ve had to, and doing it when they are well grown is much harder/more work. Must remember to stake mine when I’m back.

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    • jpstacey · April 18, 2016

      I usually don’t pinch out till they reach their final height, to be honest. I mostly do it to stop aphid/ant attacks. I could try to get them bushier but I’m not really optimizing for yield this year anyway!

      Potting up has been easy, although ferrying 7 pots to and from the decking probably isn’t Spoonie Veg scalable.

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  2. Mark Willis · April 18, 2016

    I have grown BBs in pots before, using a compact variety called Stereo. They were OK, but not as good as similar ones grown in a raised bed. These days I usually stake my BBs with bamboo canes. Keeping them upright makes it easier for bumble bees to get at the flowers and thus pollinate them, leading to larger yields. If you let the plants flop over, some of the flowers will be damaged and some will be inaccessible.

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    • jpstacey · April 18, 2016

      That’s really good to know: I’m not optimizing for yield but I do want healthy, pollinated plants!

      I was going to say to Julieanne up there: I’ve seen people grow them in a big bed through a wide mesh of string in the past (and I tried that last year in my square metre plot): thread string with perhaps 20cm-long distances between several canes. Two of them, one at around 20cm high, one at around 60cm high, to support them and stop flopping.

      That worked OK for me but the yield wasn’t fantastic anyway, so they didn’t grow tall enough or bush enough to warrant such structures!

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  3. Pingback: Potting up some lettuces, to get succession | The next square metre
  4. Pingback: End of Month View April 2016 | The next square metre

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