Thursday, June 11, 2009

Broad bean setting

Here's a question for fellow UK gardeners.

We have two varieties of broad bean growing (both spring sown). The flowers on the earlier ones are not setting well and those that have are not producing nice swelling pods. The other variety though are setting well and those pods which have set are growing pretty much as you'd expect.

A friend in the village has had the same problem with his broad beans (a different variety again) - he thought it was a problem with bees, apparently this year there is a shortage of bees with a long enough tongue to pollinate some broad beans. Has anyone else heard of this or had a similar problem?


VeggieLadie said...

I know that in the US we have been talking a lot about bee shortages. I can say that within the last five years I have noticed a major decline in the number of bees around. I have read about several possible causes, mites, insecticides, even global warming. I know in the US, in North Carolina, large scale farmers are relying on bee keepers to come in with portable hives to pollinate crops.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, confirms what's being discussed here in the UK.
On the radio the other day they mentioned the portable hive method. One of the points made by the presenter was the lack of diversity of pollinators which that method typifies. So that if crops require a different pollinator they won't be available.
That is one of the reasons I grow organically, as I think sustainability is key to the future security of food supply, despite what some botanists may say to the contrary!

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