Thursday, 17 January 2013

Beating the tip nippers - experiment

A while ago now, I posted about my beans beating defeated by Mystery Tip Nippers. With a new patch, I decided to plant lots of bean seeds - some for eating green and yellow and some for drying and storing, all for adding nitrogen to the soil to start the patch off  in the best possible way.

But after putting loads of beans in most suffered from having their growing tips nipped out. With their first proper leaves being taken out the plants quickly died. Those that managed (by luck) to avoid the tip nippers  (possibly earwigs) were badly affected by the unrelenting heat we have had.

Stubbornly determined to get some beans this summer I have decided on two anti-tip nipping experiments.

Experiment 1: Hiding the beans

As no pests seem to be worrying my radish, beetroot and rocket rows, I have decided to see if I can deceive the tip nippers by hiding  my beans amongst them. I have put a row of bush beans (ones with black seeds) behind the radish and in front of my beetroot and rocket. Perhaps the other plants will put the tip nippers off? That's what I am hoping anyway.

Experiment 2: The barrier method 

I have put plastic cuffs around the planted bean seeds. Out of 3 whole rows of borlotti, I had only one bean plant left in the ground and 6 seeds left in the packet. I have put all those 6  in with cuffs from juice and milk containers protecting them - hopefully.

To deal with the heat problem, I have mulched everything heavily with lots of lucerne.

Let's see what happens!


  1. Oh, you're still planting beans! I think it would be too late here though I'd love to plant some borlottis - I just didn't get around to it earlier.

    Good luck with the mystery tip-nipper/s!

    How are the fires in your area? We can see the plumes of smoke from the Aberfeldy fire but it's a long way away from me(about 80kms)and in the Baw Baws so not a threat, personally.

    1. Maybe I am putting them on too late, but if they do tale off there should be enough time.Fires under control today but bad day tomorrow and we will review situation in the morn. Another 40 c with big winds.
      Even if a long way away, fires are unsettling. I love the Baw Baws so let's hope it settles soon.
      Today we filled out the forms to be rural fire volunteers.

    2. Nina, I've planted Borlottis this late before and although the yield isn't as good as a spring planting they should still crop.

      Louise - I hope this works - I reckon both method could work and hopefully the heat has killed off lots of the nippers anyway.

    3. Let's hope I get something up and growing. even a small pick to dry will feel like an achievement.

    4. Thanks for the hint, Liz. When things cool - just a little! - I'll put some in and see how they go.

  2. Oh good luck! Those tip nippers are indeed baffling - I'm really curious to find out what they are now!

  3. Interesting! I look forward to seeing your results. I have borlottis in from spring planting but they haven't done that well, I think due to the heat. So a later planting probably wont be too far behind!



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