Sunday, June 12, 2011

A note on green beans: Late-spring crop

Most people I know here in Florida plant two bean crops--one for the fall (mid-August plant date) and another for spring (first warm week plant date). I don't usually bother with the fall beans.

Typically by June, the spring bean crop has burned out. I've always wondered if the vines decline because of heat/humidity/pests, or if the vines decline because, well, annuals die after a season. So, this year, about May 1, I planted a second crop to test: a short row of Rattlesnake Beans (Southern Exposure, known heat resistance).

When I returned on Saturday after a month away, I found that my early-spring crop was dead or nearly so, with only a few vines producing the typical misshapen and stringy beans I've learned to expect for this time of year. The May-planted Rattlesnakes, though, are growing vigorously, full of blossoms and perfect, mottled, narrow, tender beans. We'll see how long they continue to produce, but it seems that it's possible to extend the green bean season for at least a few weeks into mid-June or later. Since the Rattlesnakes are saved seeds, and beans are generally a low-hassle crop, the cost and trouble are almost surely worth it.

My Willow-Leaf limas, planted a week or so later than the Rattlesnakes, are blooming and vigorous. Strangely, my yardlongs seems puny. They haven't started to run or bloom. I need to throw some cowpeas in the ground where the declining pole beans are planted. Maybe I'll grow some extra limas, too.

Man, it's HOT out there. I'm "lucky" to be suffering from some serious jet lag. I was up at 3am this morning, and cleaning up the garden before sunrise.

I noticed the bee hive has gone crazy with the new super. I counted more than 60 bees a minute exiting the hive at dawn--a steady stream.

A few other mumblings and reminders, while I'm sitting here: Cucumbers are basically done. The ones that are setting are generally beset by the #(*&##%* pickleworm. I need to tear them out. Sweet potatoes are only now beginning to run. I need to plant peanuts. Peppers seem to be slow this year--lots of fruit on them, but the heat will probably limit the fruit size. I need to get some basil seeds. I harvested a bunch of large, sweet red onions. I'd all but forgotten they were there. Tops were all dead, but the onions themselves look good. 


Nathan said...

Just pulled my Kentucky wonder pole beans bc they had basically stopped producing. Will have to try an additional later planting next time. Also my cukes are basically dominated by the pickleworm, not to mention aphids. The ladybugs are here and reproducing but not keeping up. My yard long beans are climbing and I've got some malabar spinach in the ground for summer.

Anonymous said...

My green beans are shot and my limas are fading. I have 2 varieties of cowpeas planted and plan to plant soybeans as well. Wish I'd started them sooner; I'm sad to have a lag in my legumes.

Pickleworms... next year I think I'm going to try bagging them, as you mentioned previously, but sewing little muslin cloth bags that won't get ruined in the rain. Muslin's cheap and I buy it in bulk for my work. :)