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please help me with my green beans

Posted by sdelony1 OKC, OK (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 22, 08 at 11:46

Help! I remember picking row after row of green beans as a kid in my grandparents gardens. Now I have tried to grow my own little green bean garden and they'll come up with a couple of cute little leaves and then in a couple of days most of the leaves are gone and the few with leaves left have missing sections on the leaves and then they to disappear. I'm thinking bugs? What can I do? I know this is silly because I'm pretty sure green beans are supposed to be REALLY EASY to grow. I live in central OK and any tips on gardening for that area would be appreciated. My grandparents had fabulous, prolific gardens and I want on too. Thank you.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: please help me with my green beans

Do you like rabbit stew?


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RE: please help me with my green beans

Well, this is actually more common than you think, so don't feel silly or like you have somehow "failed". You just have to figure out what is eating your green beans and then deal with that particular pest or pests. And, remember that, depending on your age, your grandparents MAY HAVE BEEN more prone to use chemical pesticides than many of us use nowadays.

If you are in the Oklahoma City area, could I correctly assume that your yard, or at least the garden, is fenced in and that cottontail rabbits are NOT a problem for you? Because, here in southern OK in a rural area, rabbits are my biggest green bean pest. If your garden is not fenced in with wire fencing small enough to keep rabbits and voles from getting the beans, they could be the culprits.

It most likely is insects and there are many that like to nibble on bean plants. Later on, after you get your bean plants established and they are producing beans, there will be a whole different batch of bugs that like to eat beans. Understand that, if you have a vegetable garden, you will ALWAYS have insects, bugs and other pests who want to eat your veggies and there are no quick fixes.

ORGANIC VS. NON-ORGANIC OPTIONS: I don't know if you are gardening organically, using only natural pest control methods, or if you garden non-organically and don't mind using chemicals. So, I'll try to address the pest issue both ways, but I am mostly organic myself and am not necessarily current on the names of the mostly recently developed and marketed chemical pesticides.

IDENTIFYING THE PEST:

CUT WORMS: If your beans are being cut off at the ground level, it could be cutworms. Here in the south, we have two kinds of cut worms. One of them cuts off the plants at or just below ground level and the other can climb as high as an inch or so and cut off the plants. Both cut off the plants by working their way all around the stem. You can thwart them by sticking a twig, toothpick, ice cream stick, bamboo shish kabob skewers (I break them in half since they are so tall) or something similar into the ground RIGHT NEXT to the bean plant stem that comes up out of the ground. I use two...one on either side, and have them extend at least an inch into the soil.

ROLY POLY BUGS AND SNAILS AND SLUGS: Check your soil, mulch, etc. for pill bugs or sow bugs. They are one of the pests in my garden that used to give me lots of trouble and they love, love, love green bean plants. If you have a lot of pill bugs and sow bugs (roly-poly bugs), they often are the culprit doing the destruction, especially this early in the season. There are several ways to combat them. I've mentioned snails and slugs here because they eat lots of plants too, although I seldom see them here in southern OK. They may be more plentiful in other parts of the state, and the baits I mention for sow and pill bugs kill snails and slugs as well.

My favorite is an organic snail and slug bait that has iron phosphate as the main ingredient. It is sold under several different names, including Slug-Go!, Escar-Go!, Organic Snail and Slug Killer, etc. It is NOT the commonly sold chemical snail and slug killer that has metaldahyde as its' active ingredient. Metaldahyde is a very dangerous chemical and I would never use it, especially since I have pets, as it is very toxic to pets. Please note that the organic, iron-phosphate products are NOT labeled for us on pill bugs and sow bugs, only snails and slugs. However, organic users who use these iron phosphate products have known for a long time that they not only control snails and slugs, but sow bugs and pill bugs as well. I have used it for several years with great success. It is my understanging that the makers of Slug-Go! have a new Slug-Go Plus on the market that is labeled for use on pill and sow bugs, but I haven't seen it yet, haven't used it, and don't know what changes they have made to the original product.

You also can keep pill bugs and sow bugs off of plants by surrounding each plant with a small ring of any of the following: bone meal, colloidal phosphate, wood ashes or diatomaceous earth. Or, you can scatter/dust any of the following on the soil around the green bean plants: cedar flakes, hot pepper, or natural diatomaceous earth (with no added ingredients).

MISCELLANEOUS CHEWING INSECTS: There are a variety of other medium to large-sized insects that could be eating your plants. Are you seeing any insects in and around the garden? There are to be some sort of clues. For example, if you are seeing grasshoppers around the yard or garden, they might be the culprit. (If so, Nolo Bait is the best treatment for them.) In general, though, you can dust the plants with natural diatomaceous earth and that usually helps with many types of pests.

NON-ORGANIC CONTROLS: If I had something eating my plants and wasn't able to diagnose just what it was, and using a chemical control was an option, I'd probably go with something that has relatively low toxicity to humans, like Sevin Dust. You just shake it onto your plants. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

Hope this info helps. And, for what it is worth, the first planting of my green beans usually has the worst problems. I think it is because there are not a lot of other green plants to chew on early in spring. Later plantings have less trouble in the earliest stages, but more trouble with bean beetles and other pests.

Dawn


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RE: please help me with my green beans

Thanks soonergrandmom. I thought maybe a rabbit but I have a big black dog that has always kept things out of my backyard. He is getting old and I think he sleeps most of the night in the shed now and it is always in the morning when the leaves are suddenly gone. I usually walk around and look at everything every morning and one morning everything looks good with the beans and then the next morning - poof! - the leaves are gone. We have seen a skunk and a racoon in the backyard on occasion even though we live in town (our backyard is REALLY big and that is where the gardens are) so I guess a rabbit wouldn't be too far fetched. Our squash, cantaloupes, strawberries, watermelon and tomotoes, carrots, lettuce don't seem to have any problems. Wouldn't bunnies eat those too? I will put up fencing around the bean bed. We have just been roping the gardens off and the dog goes around them that way but I'll put up mesh fencing. What about a bug? Would Sevin dust work? Would another pesticide be better? I remember my grandparents using Sevin dust at times but surely I won't have to dust the beans every day will I? Thanks again, Stefani


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RE: please help me with my green beans

Thanks, Dawn, I do live in town with a fenced yard and I thought maybe a rabbit but I have a big black dog that has always kept things out of my backyard. He is getting old and I think he sleeps most of the night in the shed now and it is always in the morning when the leaves are suddenly gone. I usually walk around and look at everything every morning and one morning everything looks good with the beans and then the next morning - poof! - the leaves are gone. We have seen a skunk and a racoon in the backyard on occasion even though we live in town (our backyard is REALLY big and that is where the gardens are) so I guess a rabbit wouldn't be too far fetched. Our squash, cantaloupes, strawberries, watermelon and tomotoes, carrots, lettuce don't seem to have any problems. Wouldn't bunnies eat those too? I will put up fencing around the bean bed. We have just been roping the gardens off and the dog goes around them that way but I'll put up mesh fencing.

I used some Sevin dust after the first few leaves disappeared. I still have beans just coming up so I'll keep it dusted. I'll also try some of the diatomaceous earth (I had to look that up). Where do you get it? A garden store? I would LIKE to be organic but between work and school a husband and a teenage daughter chemical is easier and faster (please forgive me). But if the diatomaceous earth work then I'll go with it.

Thanks again, Stefani


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RE: please help me with my green beans

Stefani,

Rabbits (and many other small animals) usually don't eat squash, watermelon and cantaloupe as often as they eat green bean plants. I don't know about the strawberries. Rabbits will eat lettuce and other greens, but not carrots. (Another illusion destroyed!)

I hope the Sevin dust is working. If it isn't, you probably have some sort of rodent at work. And, I forgot to mention that some birds, especially crows and cowbirds, like bean plants too.

Diatomaceous earth generally can be found at any store that carries some organic gardening supplies. It isn't always easy to find, though. I saw some in Lowe's recently, but a chemical had been added to it, so I wouldn't buy it. Also, there is a different kind of D.E. that is used in swimming pool filters, and you don't want to use that one in the veggie garden.

The last time I needed D.E., I ordered it online and had it delivered. If I am going to have to drive around and look for something (esp. with today's gasoline prices) that is not easy to find, I often order it online and have it delivered. Of course, I live out in the sticks where NOTHING much is close or easy to find. LOL

And I am the last person on earth who would give anyone a hard time about growing organically versus chemically. I've done it both ways and have found organic works best for me, but I'd never try to shove the organic approach down someone else's throat. Each of us does the best we can, whether it is organically or chemically, and there are many ways to garden. I will say that many times, the "quick" fix is not always the best long-term solution, but it is sometimes the best option available at that time.

Good luck with your beans and the rest of your garden.

Dawn


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RE: please help me with my green beans

I started pole beans under lights inside and when I set them outside to harden off, they had some torn leaves and big holes and so I watched when the dogs went out and they each would start eating the plants. I set them up high out of reach after seeing that I was providing a salad for them.
They also eat my tomatoes when I don't watch them close enough.


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RE: please help me with my green beans

Well, I second (Posted by) okiedawn Z7 OK. Very complete solution. I would only suggest that you look into setting up an "Integrated Pest Management" program, which "Okiedawn" has pretty much outlined for you. We have a free IPM guideline on our site (bottom left "Information" box) that might be helpful, or I can send you a PDF...


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RE: please help me with my green beans

I am having issues with my green beans, as well. I know that I have rabbits in my yard, so the rabbits would make sense EXCEPT there are leaves nipped off all the way up the 5 foot pole. Could rabbits somehow do this? I would suspect deer reaching over my 4 ft chicken wire fence, except for the fact that leaves are nipped of all the way at ground level, and I cannot imagine a deer could reach all the way to the ground over the fence without bringing the fence down, too.

So confused... ready to set up a hidden camera!


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