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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

... what hope does a little bean have?

I'm growing french beans this year, up a teepee. I've done it before, but in my very sunny front garden where the snails and slugs don't thrive and there is not a pesky pigeon in sight. I thought it would be educational for my son, and nice for us.

Anyway, it has not been a success. All the beans I planted got nipped before I could do anything, and off the 15 or so bean plants I've planted out in their place, the only ones that have survived have required the following protection strategy:

1. First plant your bean..
2. Then surround it with coffee grounds.
3. Then tuck it inside a section of a 2 litre plastic bottle which has copper foil around it AND jagged edges at the top.
4. Then enclose the lot within a teepee of sticks that has string wrapped around it like a mad spider web, in a (vain) attempt to stop the pigeons getting in.

It looks ridiculous. And it doesn't even work - today I found a snail happily stuck on the inside of one of the bottles, having munched away at the bean plant within all night.

I'm not giving up, but I'm hardly introducing my son to the joys of gardening. How are others getting on with the wonderful wildlife of Harringay? Any other suggestions????

Tags for Forum Posts: bean, pigeon, slug, snail

Views: 209

Replies to This Discussion

I've grown my beans within toilet rolls. The little slimey blighters do approach but eat the cardboard instead! They then get so fed up (and full) they go off for more nutritious fare leaving the beans to grow on happily.
Aghh the snails - I have never seen so many in one garden! I was doing our borders over the last couple of weekends and collected about 50 of the blighters to date. Have made a mental note to sink some beer filled containers into the soil this weekend - it seems to work for my parents, at least they die happy!
Yep, those snails do love Harringay. Beer traps, I might try one of them right next to the beans, thanks.

Stuart - very interesting, but how do you plant them? Are the toilet rolls literally sticking out the soil so the plants aren't on the surface?!
I do as Mr growbag and start my beans off in pots and when I come to plant them out put the roll round the plant out of the ground. (Yes its unsightly but so are slug eaten beans) The roll then also acts as a support until the bean is tall enough to start climbing on its own.
Neat. Thanks, will try that next year. And thanks to everyone else, lots of ideas. Here is my sad and sorry bunch ... The string is to put the pigeons off, in case you are wondering!

Mr GB - I use those slug pellets but am not sure if they are very effective against snails. If you read the marketing guff they only ever mention slugs, but surely they would work for both?
Alison - they seem to work on snails too, given the number of empty shells dotted around my flowerbeds. I certainly see more snails than slugs in my garden (although pleasingly, as mentioned, an increasing number of ex-snails).
Hi Alison I would not use slug pellets they can poison dogs and small children as well. Never mind hedgehogs and birds. Nematodes apparently are best they kill all slugs and snails.
Hi Pat, agree, I wouldn't use the normal ones. These ones are fairly new and supposed not to harm birds or children. Called Growing Success Advanced Slug Killer. More here.

They've not really been 100% successful for me - neither were nematodes which I also tried this year. I think I just have a very persistent lot of snails!
I start my beans off in pots, until they're onto their first true leaves. I then plant them out, and use organic (bird/pet "friendly") slug pellets when they're still little/tender/tasty/in mortal danger of snail attack. I was a little concerned about how friendly these were initially, but the local bird life appears to be thriving (they obviously don't like the look of bright blue pellets - possibly unsurprisingly). As the beans get bigger they seem to be less of an attraction. Mine do still get chewed from time to time, but as long as they've got enough leaves to continue growing, they have tended to do fine once they're a few feet high...

Beer traps are also meant to be good, though I've not tried them except on the roof when I was growing up there where they worked well.
I take the old-fashioned approach and do a turn of the garden with a torch every night. It's surprising how many of the blighters you can find and pick off. Do let your neighbours know it's you though, in case they phone the police suspecting burglary!

After a heavy shower, I do more regular checks. As well as snail catching, it's great watching the frogs leaping around! Saw 6 frogs but only 2 snails after this week's rain :-)
Ah yes, that's perhaps the best solution - dig a small pond for frogs to live in! (hmm... maybe a future project...)
As someone mentioned you can use nematodes (you can get them at greengardener.co.uk). I have found these to be effective, both against slugs/snails and ants. Also beans are very prone to blackfly, to help prevent this you can pinch out the growing tip which is where they thrive. Also for the first time this year I have bought ladybirds to introduce into the garden and they seem to be doing a good job.



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