Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Gardening Discovery

Every year I struggle against Mexican Bean Beatles.  I can usually get one harvest of beans before the little buggers strip the plants bare.  I have tried spray in the past but to no avail (and I hate spraying).  The eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves so the spray rarely gets to them.  I have also tried diotomaceous earth and so no real success.  I have even squashed them bare handed and left their corpse there as a warning to the other.  All to no avail.  They grow by the hundreds and so impossible to control.  At least for me.  This year I tried something different.  Once my first run of beans was done, and the beatles were arriving in force, I picked the last of the beans, pulled the plants up and planted nothing in that area for the rest of the summer.  Once the first of August came around, I replanted more beans to get one more harvest.  Since it was experimental, I didn't invest many bean seeds.  I planted about 3 15 ft rows.  I planted the seeds in the same area as the earlier beans.  Yesterday I went out to pick beans.  I picked 6 lbs of beans in one picking.  The plants are green and happy.  I am not seeing the beatles.  So far I'm thinking this is a successful experiment.

The success of this experiment has made me change my gardening plan for next season.  Since I also have problems with tomatoes wilting in the heat, I will be planting beans early/late and tomatoes late.  My entire garden in spring will be beans, both pole and bush.  At the same time I will start my tomato seeds in seed pots, but outdoors.  Once the beans have had their run, the garden will be cleaned out and my tomatoes will be planted in their place.  Having a run of beans first will also add nitrogen to the soil., and allow  me a good harvest of beans before the beatles really get started.  Also, it will allow me to focus on one item at a time.  Beans first, then Blueberries, Blackberries, Tomatoes, then Beans again in fall.  Best of all I don't  have to try and use pest control products.  My planting schedule is my pest control.  I'm also hopeful by planting my tomato plants later, they will besetting fruit once the weather cools some and will continue to set fruit til the first frost.  Right now they set fruit once then wilt and die back when the heat comes on.  They then recover and start to set fruit again when it cools, but I see very few tomatoes because the frost comes first.  An alternative is to start my tomato plants early (like December) and plant them larger.  That would nix my bean plan though.  This is still a work in progress, but then most all of gardening is trial and error.  

If anyone has thoughts on this I would love more input.  My goal is to get the most from my garden without using sprays and such.  Any input is greatly desired.  Thanks

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