Thursday, 6 October 2011

Crossed beans

It's been a while since I posted here, dues to my not having been well. I've been harvesting seed, doing a bit of digging, and not much else. The broad beans are hybridised; half the Red Epicure seed was green. It must have crossed with Aquadulce Claudia. I've been thinking of trying to breed my own variety, and I'm going to do it. I'll cross the existing mix with Crimson Flowered, maybe one or two other varieties, and aim at something red-flowered, red-seeded, hardy, and tenderer than AQ. It should be possible, with patience.

One of my Couve Tronchudas was running to seed, with unusual white flowers for a cabbage. I've pulled all the flowering stems off as I don't have as many as I'd like, and I don't want it dying on me before it's had a chance to fertilise my other plants next year!

Meanwhile I'm feeding the bees up. Two colonies have enough honey for the winter, two don't. I've marked both the new queens; one of them gave me a right shock. A couple of weeks ago, I marked her using a crown of thorns cage, which is based on a ring of nails which you push down into the comb to hold the queen against it. She curled up and started twitching. She seemed OK a couple of minutes later, and is still there, still laying happily. I've heard of queens playing dead before, but I've never seen it, and it's frighteningly realistic!


  1. Broad beans are promiscuous little beggars Robert. I've had them cross before - I believe you need about half a mile distance to prevent it! - but never grown on the seed from these crosses. I can't keep broad beans pure here; there are too many farmers growing field beans for their cattle just around the village. Good luck with your experiments.

  2. Half a mile is the distance for field quantities; it'll be a lot less for a small bed. Obviously I had them too close!