Blackfly on broad beans – a miracle of no-dig and nature

Community Community Garden Problems Pests Blackfly on broad beans – a miracle of no-dig and nature

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Rhys 4 years, 11 months ago.

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    In the spirit of posting to keep the forum active and alive, here is a good news story.

    My broad beans were covered in black fly a few weeks back – due to very dry weather in addition to the usual susceptibility of broad beans.

    As advised frequently by Charles, I upped the watering and then the rains came. I was bemoaning the condition of my plants to a visiting friend last week, who pointed out that the plants were now inhabited by multitudes of ladybird larvae and there was not a blackfly in sight!

    The plants are now looking extremely healthy and I am anticipating a good crop of beans. A turnaround from mid-May when it looked like I was going to lose all the plants.

    Although Charles frequently talks about the benefits of nature in no-dig, I hadnt seen it so clearly in action before.




    Similar thing on my friend’s allotment. Aphids had arrived at the beginning of the month and were crawling with ants as they do. There’s a communal ‘compost’ bin next to his plot and, amazingly, I noticed some ladybird larvae scurrying around the bin edges. Someone had obviously dumped some waste on there with them in. Needless to say they were soon re-housed. Must have been over 50 in total. I just worried about the ants seeing them off.
    Was around again yesterday evening to find all but the bed with an ant’s nest in it totally clear. What’s more there were several pupae on the leaves and the bed edges. That’s the next generation sorted then!
    Only down side is that they were harlequin larvae, not native ones.
    Ain’t nature great.



    Thanks it’s lovely to hear good news stories!
    Plus I had this comment too from Kevin in Dorset:
    A fourth year no dig for me and plants are absolutely flying. Most interesting point is that of the 20 or so plots growing broad beans (Aquadulce) on the allotments, mine are the only ones without blackfly and are also the tallest at nearly 5ft. Incredible tasting beans too.



    I must concur that no dig is great for broad beans.

    Also concur that heavy rain and June sun are a great growth stimulus. Parsnips, onions, potatoes, corn, soil-based tomatoes, beetroot, chard, dwarf beans and pole beans have all shot ahead thanks to 4 inches of rain this month, around double the June average here.

    I have also cut my comfrey plants three times this year already: most unusual. Normally it is 5-6 weeks per cycle, this year it has been four weeks.

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