Saturday, July 25, 2009

More About Beans

As the summer progresses, I consider several factors before pulling up the bush bean plants in my garden:

1. If the plants still are flowering, even if no actual beans are obvious, and the night time temperatures are still at or below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then the bush bean plants will probably produce another crop, especially considering that the first frost date around here is about 25 October. That leaves plenty of time for maturing more beans.

2. If, though, the plants already are being visited by Mexican bean beetles or some other pest, it might be a good idea to pull up the plants so the pests won’t have an extended opportunity to build up a huge population and start roaming the neighborhood for other gardens to infest.

3. If the space is needed for fall crops, then the plants may need to come out before they are completely finished producing.

In my yard, I am still getting lots of beans. I have seen a couple with holes from the Mexican bean beetles, and I have squashed a couple of bean beetle larvae, but the problem hasn’t begun to escalate beyond those few incidents. For now, the plants are staying in the ground.

However, I will need that space for autumn greens, so when it is time to plant those (soon!), the bush beans will have to come out, but not all at once. Unless the bean beetle population begins to soar dramatically before then, I will start at one end of the bed, removing beans a few feet at a time, making space for the greens in stages.

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