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Many of my beans have failed to germinate and some of those that have are distorted. Have you any advice?
Posted by Suttons Staff on 24 June 2013 11:35 AM
Distorted bean plants usually indicate they have been attacked by the bean seed fly.   This pest will occasionally attack  onions but it is a more important pest of peas and beans.  The white larvae of this fly eat the germinating seed and any resulting seedlings may be distorted and have damaged leaves and stems.   The seedlings will often survive although development may be slow initially, especially if the growing point has been damaged causing the production of side shoots.   A number of seedlings may even fail to reach the soil surface.

Seeds that are germinating slowly are more susceptible to attack so it is important to avoid sowing in cold, wet soils. 

The female fly is attracted to soil containing freshly applied organic matter therefore this should be applied in the autumn rather than spring.  To avoid attack seed can be sown under glass, in pots or seed trays and planted out once the first true leaves have expanded and the danger of frost has passed.
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