Thursday, June 25, 2015

Destructive Harvest- Snap Beans

To a gardener's ears this doesn't necessarily sound like a good thing. Once-over destructive harvesting is simply pulling up all of the bean plants and stripping off all usable pods. Some commercial growers  practice this with bean cultivars that have a determinate growth habit and produce a concentrated pod set.

Many gardeners leave bush bean plants way past their prime. Typically, after 4-5 pickings flower production drops, lower leaves yellow, and disease and insect pest problems increase. Destructive harvesting can be a good tool for vegetable gardeners who want to make room for the next crop AND control Mexican bean beetle. Here's a little video Dan and I put together this week-

Pull all bean plants up by the lower stem and strip off pods.

Foliage has significant Mexican bean beetle feeding. They were loaded with egg masses, larvae and a few lingering adults.

For more details on this pest:

Check out these cool Rhizobia nodules on the roots where nitrogen from the air is transformed by bacteria into a form of nitrogen the plant can use.

What next? Stuff the plants in a large plastic trash bag and let them "cook" for a few weeks. Plants can then be safely composted.

You've just interrupted the life cycle of this pest!

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