Broad bean pests

Broad bean chocolate spot disease.

Broad bean pests can ruin your crop in very short order, but the good news is that they can be managed organically, and by rotational planting.

Chocolate spot disease

Chocolate spot disease destroys the whole plant stem too.

Chocolate spot disease is caused by a fungus called botrytis fabae that will destroy the plant. Once badly affected the broad bean is unlikely to produce fruit and, if it does, the pod goes ugly with black spots.

Do not place any of the affected plant onto the compost heap; send it to the dump.

Since we run an organic garden, and will not use poisonous sprays, there are three modes of attack.

  1. Cut back any affected branches; they won't bear anyway. Sterilise your secateurs in dish-washing liquid. This may save some of the other branches. Just dispose of badly affected plants completely.
  2. Always plant in a new area; practise crop rotation. The spores get into the ground and will affect the plants for the next year or two.
  3. You will find that some plants are resistant and seem hardly affected. Keep the seeds from these plants for the next season. 

Blackfly

Broad bean blackfly is a pernicious insect, I suspect an aphid of sorts, that attacks the tender young shoots and flowers right at the tip of the growing stem. I suspect it carries viruses and other pathogens with it, as unless you tackle the problem it is most unlikely to bear again.

Broad bean blackfly.

There are three modes of attack against this nasty fly.

  1. Prevention. Snip off the top shoot; it makes a wonderful green and you can cook and enjoy it in a similar way to spinach. Certainly if you see any signs of the fly, treat all the surrounding plants in this way. They still flower lower down and the bug fancies the more established shoots far less.
  2. Using a fairly strong jet of water from the hose, simply work the backfly off with your fingers. Repeat a day later. This is surprisingly effective.
  3.  And then after the water jet treatment, spray the affected area with white oil, only you must increase the concentration by 50%. It is not a poison but asphyxiates the insects; very easy to manufacture from dish-washing liquid and a light vegetable oil.

If you decide to go for amputation, and snip off the affected shoots, place them in a paper bag such as a potato pocket and burn it.

Broad bean pests

Broad beans pests flourish in hot, humid weather so they are often grown in mild winters rather than summer; they will however grow year round.

Broad beans are my favourite legume; well, dried chickpeas are a hot favourite too.

The advantage of green legumes is that they have far less of the anti-nutrients that come in for much negative publicity. I personally do not have a problem with them; simply rinse the dried seeds several times, both before cooking and after.

Despite the broad bean pests they are relatively easy to grow and provide with daily plant protein, and just as important a very important compound called L-Dopa. Have you heard of Parkinson's disease?

How to plant broad beans is a very important page at this site.

A broad bean bruschetta.

This broad bean bruschetta is a favourite antipasta at our home.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. What are legumes
  3. Broad bean pests

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