French bean Cobra

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Tony Hague
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French bean Cobra

Postby Tony Hague » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:33 pm

I wonder if this is just me.

I have grown Cobra beans for many years. It used to be my favourite and most successful variety, carrying on producing into November in a good year. But I seem to have found a steady decline; poorer germination, vigour and yeild. Even this year which has been exceptional for the other beans - Blue lake, Borlotti Lamon, Greek Gigandes, Soissons, Stortino di Trento have all done well but not Cobra.

I'm thinking to drop it in favour of dwarf French beans, I grew Amethyst and Faraday this year with exellent results.

Anyone have a good crop of Cobra recently ?
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby robo » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:27 pm

I planted six in the pollytunnel they have been good up to now but have all died off I was only thinking this morning that I would normally expect them to produce a lot longer than they have
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Primrose » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:59 pm

Have had an excellent Cobra crop this year but have noticed in the last week some of them are developing black spots on them. Never had that happen before. I wouldn,t bother with dwarf beans as I have little growing space and the climbers yield for more beans per plant. Also you don't have to bother with the lower ones drooping on the soil and getting eaten by slugs.
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:31 pm

Lots of people were complaining earlier in season about bean germination in general.
Once our cobra actually started germination they have been good. Excellent crop but like others report, our are already dying back.
Down to the fluctuations in weather now following a long dry spell
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Johnboy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:30 am

Hi Tony,
May I enquire if you save your own Cobra seed? When you sow several varieties of French beans and although they are self fertile it could be that they produce hybrid seeds which can reduce the strain. Fresh seed each year from a reputable seedhouse to me is must with not only French varieties but with runners. I no longer grow Cobra because I was getting too many and only ever grew them to have beans before my runners came on stream.
With my beans they are grown in 7cm square pots and when they are planted out I also sow a pre-germinate seed alongside and my yields are generally more than satisfactory. I now plant out at 15"centres which allows more light into the row and certainly easier picking. I will try a few Cobra next year probably only about 6 plants and see how they go.
I have just picked two bags of runners from my runners and I need an Indian summer as there is still masses of flowers.
My one problem this year is that the beans are being attacked by wasps that have a chew and that chew leaves a brown patch and they are spoiled aesthetically but still very eatable.
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Tony Hague
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Tony Hague » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:10 pm

Johnboy wrote:Hi Tony,
May I enquire if you save your own Cobra seed? When you sow several varieties of French beans and although they are self fertile it could be that they produce hybrid seeds which can reduce the strain.


Good question Johnboy. Oddly, I have saved seeds of some beans, Borlotti Lamon, Greek Gigandes, Soissons, etc, and have perhaps been lucky so far that the results have been good. These beans are ones I grow for drying, so it is quite tempting to keep some for seed depsite the risk of them not coming true. But the beans for use fresh, including Cobra, I do buy fresh seed for.

I don't know if it is my beginner's luck running out, but a lot of things I used to be able to grow I now struggle with. Outdoor cucumbers, even lettuce ! Seems like the more experienced I get the longer the list of things I can't grow gets. Mind you, a trailer load of manure last autumn helped a lot, so I think maybe my soil isn't getting enough good stuff.

My one problem this year is that the beans are being attacked by wasps that have a chew and that chew leaves a brown patch and they are spoiled aesthetically but still very eatable.


Aha ! thanks, I had wondered what caused that.
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Primrose » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:26 pm

Well this is definitely a Cobra "has been". I'Ve never heard of bean blight but these brown markings have been affecting all my young Cobra beans for the past week and the brown marks start to spread along the whole bean very quickly.
Has anybody any idea whether i's s weather related or some kind of disease? . Have been growing these beans for years and never had anything like this before.
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Monika » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:06 pm

I have not grown many beans this year and they have been so-so, but least year we had what I think was 'bean anthracnose' and that certainly looked like your photo, Primrose. Could it be that this disease has become more prevalent?
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Primrose » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:51 pm

I've just been reading about this disease Monika. Seems it can be spread by spores and remain in the ground. Normally I chop up my bean haulms after picking the last beans and put them in a newly dug compost trench for the new bean location the following year. Everything has rotted down nicely by the time the next planting season arrives but if this is an infectious disease this may not perhaps be a good idea.
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Westi » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:26 pm

Oh! Another challenge to overcome as no doubt our clever forum has identified a new threat that is increasing!

My climbing beans were pants last year so I hedged my bets & grew extra dwarf beans this year which nearly had the 'courgette effect' on neighbours & friends! On reflection though my climbing beans had something similar to that on them last year which may be why they failed. With only being able to get down to lottie weekly mine were drier than that pic indicates but looks pretty much the same.
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Re: French bean Cobra

Postby Primrose » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:33 pm

It does beg the question of course whether the same disease can affect different plants. If blight can attack both tomatoes and potatoes even though they're members of the same family I suppose there perhaps no biological reason why it could suddenly start attacking beans. However I haven, noticed any signs of either leaves or plant stems being affected.
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