Green bean harvesting

AmyinOwasso/zone 6bAugust 13, 2014

Any tips for finding the beans on pole beans? The ones with easy trellis aren't producing yet. The ones I planted with corn and okra are a tangled mass of vines that shaded out all but one okra plant and are strangling the corn. I walked around and around this bed and every time found more. I will not use this method again. Also, I haven't cut them open yet to look, but, some have holes in the pods. Should I be looking for what ate its way in or what ate its way out. I cut 3 grasshoppers in half with my garden scissors today. There were several pinkish "lady bugs" in the beans, they aren't bean beetles are they? They don't look like the ones I googled.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I don't know of any 'secret' method that makes it easier to find green beans growing on corn plants, so I can't help you there.....and finding cucumbers is just about as hard. I do like to harvest in the morning and then again in the evening so that I am getting sun from the east during morning harvesting and from the west during evening harvesting. The change in the sun's location helps me find beans or cukes in the evening hours that are hiding in the shadows in the early morning hours, etc.

My favorite way to make the bean harvest easier is to grow beans that produce pods in colors other then green (pink, red, purple, yellow and bicolored). It is so much easier to harvest beans that are not green, but that doesn't help you for this year.

Without seeing the beetles you found inside the bean pods, it is hard to guess what they might be, but lady bugs wouldn't be eating beans. They only eat animals, not plants, so there also is the possibility that the pink beetles are lady bugs and that they ate whatever pest is eating holes in your bean pods. Some variation in Mexican bean beetles may exist so you might see some atypical ones that don't match the images you find online. Or, it could be a more generic kind of beetle that feeds on all kinds of stuff and not a Mexican bean beetle. It could be bean leaf beetles (see the link below). I've never seen them here, but they likely are found here in Oklahoma. If the pink lady bugs you found are not eating some part of the plant, they could actually be pink ladybird beetles. I have a handful of pink lady bugs every year, although most of the ones I see here are the more traditional orange or red colors. Ladybugs come in all kinds of colors and there also is quite a bit of variation in their sizes too.

When I find a bean pod with a hole in it, I usually find either Mexican bean beetles or nothing at all, because whatever was once there has moved on before I find the hole.

Today when harvesting six varieties of southern peas, I found an occasional hole in pods on all 6 varieties. I haven't shelled them yet, but I bet that when I do, the culprit who ate the hole in the pea pods won't even be there now. I base this on previous experience.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bean Pests

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:44PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

Good point on colored podded beans. I cut open the pods with holes and found nothing. Its not saying much, but I have only seen grasshoppers and ladybugs on the plants. Well, and wasps. The mollasses trap I made didn't catch grasshoppers, but a bunch of those big green June beetles. I figure their larva are eating away at the corn roots. I planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans, okra and popcorn in a round bed. I suppose it is 5 or 6 feet in diameter. There was string a pea trellis across the middle. I believe every bean germinated and then grew faster than the corn and okra. Suddenly it was out of control. There is a fence around it, which the beans are woven through. There's a lovely basil plant next to the one okra that survived, and A parsnip, but I can't reach it. My husband keeps saying this is an experimental year, LOL.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:25PM
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Every popcorn I've ever heard of has very short plants, which are not good for supporting beans. Most sweet corn is not much more suitable for supporting beans. The genes which make for âÂÂsweetâ apparently also make for weak stalks. For years I tried, periodically, to grow beans on sweet corn. It never worked very well for me. Then I learned about sturdy stalked types of corn, which are mostly flour or dent corns. I also learned to plant the beans after the corn was up about 5-6.â That worked better. What worked best for me was to plant a block of corn and scatter a couple of bean plants on the southern, eastern and/or western sides of the patch, avoiding the middle. That worked pretty well. I do have to confess, that it was âÂÂIâ who thought it worked well, and I tend to enjoy productive jungles.

This year I planted Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkins in the mulch under our fruit trees, in the front yard. I have found a certain pleasure, walking out there and seeing all that rampant growth. They are climbing our grape trellis and spreading out into the lawn, which has yet to get cut because of their presence. A couple of days ago I took my wife out there to work on some hand pollinations. I was chagrined when she commented about what a disgusting mess it was, and that we had better never plant squash like that again! Without her as my balance it is easy to imagine just how out of sync with society I could become!

In reality, if one wants a good many beans and efficiency in picking them, a trellis or pole is better. Amy, in spite of the challenges, it sounds like your âÂÂexperimental year gardenâ is doing pretty good!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:47AM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

Thanks, George. I like jungles, too. My husband twitches when he goes to the garden, LOL. He likes things neater.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:37AM
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The method of growing beans supported by corn stalks was meant for beans harvested dry, not green. By then, the pods have turned brown. I do wonder how many beans they missed when the pods split, as they eventually do.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:43AM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

That makes sense Itilton. And the corn was probably harvested dry as well. The okra and the beans were an impulse buy. I really needed to get the beans in the ground and I didn't think the pea trellis was enough support. I have a wonderful cow panel trellis next to 5 gal buckets with beans planted in them. The pole beans have done poorly since the beginning. I also have yard long beans in buckets there which are producing now, but they aren't happy either. My bucket experiments have not been very sucsessful, but those beans are MUCH easier to find. I guess I can let Kentucky wonder beans dry on the vine for dried beans, but I want some green beans first.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:16PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

George, I like wild, rambling plants too....and my whole garden becomes a jungle by this time of the year. I don't mind it all being jumbled together, but Tim is more of a neat-and-tidy person so he pretty much just avoids walking into the garden unless I drag him into it to show him something. I wouldn't mind if the pumpkins rambled out into the lawn and shaded out the bermuda grass, but it never will happen because the deer eat anything that grows beyond the fence.

Amy, Experiments are so much fun. My favorite Three Sisters Garden was just for fun and I grew broom corn (which easily gets 10-12-14' tall here) for my corn since it was just for fun. At the end of the season, I cut the colored seedheads and stuck them in a milk can by the barn as an autumn decoration. I didn't plant beans until the corn plants were 4-5' tall, and (since it was for fun, not for a harvest) I planted purple hyacinth beans. The beans climbed to the top of the broom corn plants by mid-August and were so beautiful in bloom that it stopped traffic as people stopped to look at those purple blooms on very tall plants. Somebody asked what kind of weird bean trees I was growing that year. For pumpkins, I instead planted Collective Farm Woman melons which meandered on the ground beneath the broom corn/bean jungle and we got a good harvest from them. Was I 'wasting' space where a better food crop could have grown more efficiently and been harvested? Probably, but sometimes you just gotta have a little fun.

I did have some success with a Three Sisters garden using half-runner beans, but they still had a tendency to climb the corn and then drape back down to the ground. I generally use a dent corn and not a sweet corn for a Three Sisters garden any more, or I use Texas Honey June which is rampant grower, and then plant beans when the Texas Honey June is about waist-high. The beans still will outgrow the corn, but not before I've harvested the ears. The hardest part, though, if you're harvesting corn and beans while the pumpkin plants are rambling through them is that you have to tread carefully to avoid stepping on the pumpkin vines.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:05PM
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