We're somewhere in week 6 -8 (depending on when you started), so some of you might be seeing flower buds on your bean plants, particularly those in the South. If you're nowhere near flowering yet don't worry, the beans will take longer to grow in cooler areas, so just remember this for later! It looks from your twitter photos that the plants are coming up nicely, which is great to see.

My field site plants currently look like below (a bit bigger after an extra week), so I'm not near flowering yet either!

Beans and radishes
Rat tailed radishes (left) and broad beans (right) on April 30th

If your plants are looking like they are getting ready to flower, the instruction sheets give detailed information on what to do next, and you can always get spare copies on the Downloads page. A quick reminder of what you'll need to do for impending flowers:

1) Make sure everything is potted on into the 3L pots provided. This keeps the amount of soil standardised between all experiments, so no plants are getting extra help from access to more nutrients / water than others. Top up any soil that has shrunk or washed out.

2) Pick your experimental plants! This needs to be done as soon as the first plant looks to be on the verge of flowering (unless you have one really far ahead of all the others, in which case probably don't use that one). The instructions go into detail on how to do this, but basically you will need three plants of the same size / number of stems.

3) Assign your treatments. This needs to be done randomly, which might seem a bit much for your own three plants, but on the wider experiment scale it is important that this is done. The simplest way to do this either by literally pulling names of treatments out of a hat, or better:

  • Number your plants (1-3)
  • Pick a treatment. Use a random number generator (I suggest using Random.org to pick one of the three plants to assign that treatment. Continue until all three are assigned.

If you have more than one site on the grounds (so, more than three plants), then all the groups need to be assigned at random.

4) Get your fleece ready! The bagged plant(s) will need to be covered before the flowers open, so now is a good time to make sure you've got the fleece / netting / etc ready to go.

5) Pick a spot for them on the grounds. If the plants are not outside yet, or not where you want to do your pollination study, then have a think where they will need to go.

The radishes probably won't be anywhere near as far ahead, as they need more time to get established and catch up.