As we head into the middle of summer, the gardening tasks are endless. Make sure that you harvest when things mature so that you can eliminate rotting fruits, which attract pests and diseases to the garden.
Some of the first crops that you planted are probably in full production right now, such as bush beans. Bush beans are determinate crops, and they will generally put on a huge fruit set once and then be done. Most people who are preserving their beans prefer bush beans due to that fact.
The only main hiccup when growing them is that you must bend over to pick them. Pole beans are the opposite. They will put on their fruit sporadically until frost.
Bush beans can be planted until the first week of July, and they will still have time to produce. Normally, they only take approximately 60 days until harvest.
Most vegetable farmers will plant bush beans in sequential order so that they can have beans over a long period of time.
My mother only plants one cultivar of bush bean, Roma II. This is a tried-and-true cultivar, but there are hundreds of other cultivars. Try a few different ones and see which one you like.
I’m going to plant Jade II this weekend and see how they fare against some of the older cultivars. If you are looking for some other cultivars, try Maxibel, Mascotte, and Crockett.
Harvest when they are still tender and will snap. Some folks will leave them on to allow the actual beans to grow a little larger, which is all up to the person eating them. When some beans get larger they will have a large amount of fiber (string), so make sure you pick them at the right times.
We have a few issues when growing beans, and the main insect problem is from Mexican bean beetles. You will see leaves with holes, and they will resemble a skeleton of the leaf. An insecticide might be necessary, but make sure you monitor and watch for them daily.
When it comes to diseases, there are more issues. The one bacterial issue we’ll see causes the fruit to have water-soaked, brown spots on the pods. Sometimes, those bacterial issues can come from saved seed, so if you have this issue, try some new seed. A copper fungicide can help suppress the issue, but again, try and watch for when issues are starting to pop up so that they can be eliminated swiftly.
As always, if you have any questions regarding any horticulture facet, feel free to contact Lucas Holman, Horticulture University of Tennessee-Tennessee State University Extension Agent in Wilson County, at 615-444-9584 or Lholman1@utk.edu.