Fall Garden Spotlight: Green Beans

I love fresh green beans, but most of the ones I find at the store look nowhere near “fresh.” Plus, fresh, commercially-grown, non-organic green beans did not pass Consumer Reports’ recent pesticide residue tests (Consumer Reports, “Stop Eating Pesticides,” August 27, 2020). They recommend eating organic green beans. So here’s an idea for you gardeners out there.

At my house, we plant green beans every spring in either April or May depending on the weather forecasts. We harvest LOTS of beans throughout the summer until they start to decline in early August. At that time, we either rip those plants out and replant, or, if we have the space, we plant a couple new 8-foot rows of bush beans, wait a week and plant another couple of rows. By mid-September, we start getting beautiful, damage-free beans, since most of the insect pests of beans are waning in numbers. This year, we’ve been picking about a half-pound a day for weeks. Yesterday we had a full pound, and that was just from two of the 8-foot rows! Not bad for October! This is a great way to get a second crop from areas of your garden that may not be producing much anymore. Although I missed the boat this year, I have also had success planting Sugar Ann peas for the fall. Both crops work with bacteria to fix nitrogen in your soil.

So as you start to plan for next year, here’s what I suggest: don’t plant all your bean seeds in the spring. Hold back a few, and give this a try. You may be happily surprised with a nice harvest of fresh green beans before those cold winter days and frozen vegetables become the norm.

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