Last year I planted loads of broad beans and they grew very well and tasted delicious. I didn’t do anything particular, beyond planting the beans in the ground in straightish rows and supporting them with branches I gathered while out walking.. They were lovely and tasty with very little effort.
This year is different. At the moment I have just three broad bean plants surviving. The summer was so slow to arrive that I wasn’t prepared when it did finally show up.
I started growing the three plants indoors in pots on my window ledge and when I transplanted them outdoors they didn’t do so well.
They were just starting to perk up a bit when they sort of went slow again. They don’t look healthy – just short and stumpy. I checked tonight and the first thing I noticed was two lovely ladybirds,
The second thing I noticed was several regiments of an army of ants crawling over the leaves. Lastly, on closer inspection I noticed that the inner stems of the plants were crawling with greenfly. In fact you could say the broad bean stems and the greenfly had become one – if that’s not too hippy-dippyish?
GARLIC SPRAY FOR GREENFLY?
Since these plants had emerged from a long and wet winter and I had been nurturing them while recovering from leg injuries and was confined to a wheelchair I felt I must do something to come to their rescue.
I did a little research and read that a spray made of crushed garlic left overnight in water will get rid of them so I have some bashed garlic soaking in a jug of water as I type this.
Some of the recipes call for a mix of ‘dish-soap,’ mineral oil’ as well as chili powder. Others say just use the garlic. I am going plain and sticking with just garlic as I have no clue what ‘dish-soap’ is and no clue what mineral oil is either, so I am presuming these are items we don’t get in Galway although I am guessing that ‘dish-soap’ is washing up liquid but who wants that on their broad beans?
DON’T KILL THE LADYBIRDS
I am assuming that such a mix will kill the Ladybirds and I do love Ladybirds. Mind you the garlic spray might kill them as well so if they’re still there when my spray has ‘matured’ I think I will pluck the ladybirds to the safety of my happily still-growing strong pea plants – at least for a while.
I do wonder, if the ants are eating the greenfly and the ladybirds are eating the ants will I need the spray at all?
Anyway here’s a picture of the ladybirds , ants and greenfly partying on my poor old broad bean plant.
Unfortunately, although I eventually managed to get rid of the ants and greenfly after several applications of my garlic spray it was too late for the broad bean plants. None of them survived and I had to resort to buying some plants from the local market.
You’ll be glad to know I have had more success in the vegetable garden since this and if you would like to read more about growing vegetables click here.