One of our pots of runner beans was destroyed by snails, so we planted French beans indoors to replace them with. They were planted 10 days ago, and there are no signs of any life whatsoever, so I dug a couple up and there are no roots or shoots at all – just a sort of pus-like exudate (sorry to be disgusting 😦 ).

The seed has obviously failed and has rotted. The seed is not this years, so it may just not have kept well, or it may be the variety. We had decided to try a variety called “Kingston Gold” which I had never grown before (I bought the seeds and then didn’t try them).

This leaves me with a pot still to fill. I could give up and plant something else altogether, but I am going to give the beans one more chance, and try some old-fashioned “Blue Lake” climbing French beans. It is late to get them in, but if they start indoors, and they are in a sheltered position on the balcony, they may well do for me 🙂

A few years ago, I used to regularly have coffee with an elderly neighbour. He had a way of starting his runner beans which, until then, I had never seen before. I have no idea if it will work with French beans, but I am going to give it a try. They are both beans after all and, having lost so much time with this pot of beans, it will mean I don’t waste time planting the seeds if they aren’t going to germinate.

All my friend Ron used to do, was open out a newspaper (he used the Daily Express but I don’t suppose that really matters 😀 ) scatter the beans on the open newspaper, dampen them, and fold the paper back over the top and keep them damp. As simple as that! Then, once the beans have sprouted, you can plant them on and you only need to plant the viable ones. 🙂

It is exactly the same principle as the beans in cotton wool experiment on the kids page, and I can see no reason why it wouldn’t work. I will post updates and photos in a couple of days to see if it works 🙂

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