The runner beans on the balcony have been thriving until now. There is a lot of enjoyment to be had in pottering out onto the balcony with my early cup of coffee in my hand to water them, and seeing them growing like triffids in their pots πŸ™‚ Better still was the feeling that, here on the balcony, they are safe from all the dangers associated with growing out in the open – being eaten by geese, rabbits, etc.

Runner beans in pots with bamboo wigwam showing snail damage

So I was more than a little distressed to find that they are being eaten in the night! Three days ago I went to water them and a few leaves had been eaten. Yesterday, a few more had gone. And this morning, all but two had been eaten in one of the pots, while the other pot remained largely untouched. The healthy pot had signs of pest damage on just a couple of the runner bean leaves.

Damaged leaves on runner bean plants

You can see, in this picture, the two or three leaves that have large holes in them

Damaged leaves on runner bean plants

And here you can see that the plant has been completely stripped of leaves, although the plant is not dead. It is breaking new buds and hopefully will recover.

So, what should I do about the damge to my runner beans?

The first thing to do is to identify just what the pest is. In this case I am fairly sure it is snails although I cannot, for the life of me, work out how the poor things managed to climb all the way up to my balcony – after that climb I guess he needs some sustenance so I can’t really blame him. But I dutifully set out to find the culprit. I hunted everywhere on the balcony, took everything apart and couldn’t find anything, that looked even remotely like a plant predator, anywhere. Eventually, after another cup of coffee, and a lot more searching, I found him. Just one BIG, JUICY snail. My runner beans had obviously done him the world of good, as he had taken on the proportions of one of those giant pet snails you see advertised.

After his marathon climb up the side of our building to the balcony, I hadn’t the heart to stomp on him, so he was removed to the trees behind the flats to take his chances. Funny, snail damage is something I have not had to contend with before. Between the ducks and the thrushes I never seem to have any problems with them in the garden. If it had been the garden beans that were being eaten, then it would have been beer traps and hope that the snails like beer as much as slugs seem to πŸ™‚

But for now, my runner beans are safe, and can continue their growth into triffid-hood unmolested πŸ™‚

Pests eating runner beans

Share your tips for dealing with slugs in the garden

Bamboo wigwams and other runner bean supports

Caring for runner beans

Sugar snap peas