August 14, 2014

Green Beans: 2 Beds, Same Variety, Big Difference

Now here's a curious thing. I planted two beds of green beans, same variety, one about a month before the other. I'd intended to plant them at the same time but, due to time and weather, didn't. Here's what they look like at present.

The bed on the left was planted first. It's done poorly from early on, appearing to have succumbed to bean mosaic. The plants and beans have been stunted and slow to develop from the git-go. The bed on the right has been more vigorous and productive.

The seed was the same variety from the same company, just two different packets. Odd that they should be so different, isn't it? Interestingly, neither one shows any insect damage, I'm guessing because of last year's colder than usual winter.

Technically I should have pulled and destroyed the diseased ones. Bad practice to leave them, I know, but if I pulled and destroyed every plant that showed disease symptoms I'd have no garden left. It's tough because disease is so much harder to deal with than insects. Sad but true.


Dawn said...

Being a month apart was there a big differance in the weather that could be a factor.

Farmer Barb said...

What was planted there last year? Sometimes plants get diseases from each other.

Mama Pea said...

I've experienced the same thing . . . with other vegetables, too. I think it has a lot to do with the weather, moisture, sunshine and when soil and airborne spores are floating around. Continues to provide challenges for us gardeners, doesn't it?

This year I planted a row of green beans next to a row of yellow beans on the same day and I didn't think the green beans were EVER going to amount to much. They are still behind in maturing but are going to be okay.

Sandy Livesay said...


I'm not sure what causes this, I've experienced it myself.

Right now, I'm growing Cherokee Trail of Tears Green Beans. It took a long time before seeing a seedling, then some of the leaves showed a mosaic pattern on the leaves. Now the vines are growing like crazy, and beans are growing all over. Next year, I believe I'm going to move them from this bed and try growing them in another place.

Renee Nefe said...

I haven't had a problem with beans before and while it has been slow going, I am getting about a hand full each day now. I need to take what I have harvested and put them in the freezer (I don't can green beans as we don't like them canned)

Yesterday I saw a bunch of crows eyeing my almost ripe tomatoes. So the dog & I chased them off. I had to shoot them out of my trees with the water hose...stubborn birds. They can't even reach the tomatoes as they're covered in bird netting. sigh!

Cassandra said...

My first two crops of green beans look much the same as those on the left. We've had an unusually rainy summer and I thought maybe being too damp caused the virus to spread. Is that a possibility with yours? I also second the poster who suggested that maybe it has something to do with what was in the bed previously. The soil quality might be different enough to cause issues.

Matt said...

Wow. That is quite the difference. I'm glad you posted this because I have heard of it, but since I have no practical experience yet, I have never seen it. Thank you for sharing this.

Leigh said...

Dawn, weather certainly could have made a difference. The one thing I can't control!

Barb, I looked back at my notes. Last summer the bed was fallow but it had carrots in the fall over winter, which are supposed to be a companion to bush beans!. The "better" bed had potatoes last summer (which didn't do well) and cabbage in the fall. All clues?

Mama Pea, I have to think, too, that it's a combination of factors. I also can't help but wonder if there were some problems with the seed. Just grocery store packets, so maybe not from the best of companies.

Sandy, it's a puzzle, isn't it? What's funny is that some of my diseased plants are showing healthy second growth. Not that I think they've beat it!

Renee, if anybody is a determined gardener, you are! Freezing is the best way to deal with small amounts. That or dehydrating, but I don't like dried beans. We like canned beans for my Green Bean Caesar recipe!

Cassandra, that's a good assumption about disease and dampness. My second bed had to sit through our dry spell before it would sprout. I agree about soil quality, which is difficult to analyze when it comes to micronutrients. All factors. Wish I could put it all together.

Matt, thanks! I think gardening is one of the most challenging things to do. So many variables, so many things that can happen! With my first two gardens here I would spray with things like copper and sulfur at the first sign of disease. Sadly, it didn't seem to make a difference.

Kris said...

One of my fave garden tools is - an old digital meat thermometer. I used to plant too early, judging times by the perceived weather. Now I test the soil temps. Makes a huge difference when it comes to the crops. I remember some cool years I covered a patch with plastic to bring up nighttime temps. As for beans, I no longer plant before June 10th. I get better plants and more beans sooner than planting those I'd plant Memorial weekend. Patience....patience (which can be very hard to get. Hope you get a nice crop from the 2nd planting.

Nina said...

soil temperature when planting beans makes a huge difference on germination and growth, at least up here. I find that leaving an extra week or 3 after our last frost date to plant beans, often pays off with healthier, hardier, more productive plants. Of course then there are the bunnies who adore bean seedlings. That doesn't help at all.

Susan said...

I put our beans into a previous carrot bed and they have done no where as well as last year. Both years I planted late so the soil was nice and warm. Last year the seeds were off a rack this year bought from a well respected supplier. I'm learning to handle disappointment if nothing else.

Ed said...

I had the same thing happen once with tomatoes. We got a freeze after I planted them and I thought they were goners so I replanted new tomatoes in between the old ones. Both lived and one was much better producing than the other ones. Unfortunately for the life of me I can't remember which. I should have written it down somewhere.

Leigh said...

Kris, well, that's a very good idea about the meat thermometer. Usually I'm late getting things in so I don't worry about soil temp, LOL. Another important factor, however.

Nina, you're confirming what Kris just said, not counting the bunnies. :)

Susan, thank you for that tidbit! I couldn't help but wonder if seed quality was a factor. And yes, I agree about gardening disappointments. We gardeners have to be flexible when it comes to expectations.

Ed, it would be interesting to know! I've often wondered if plants' systems can't be bolstered by environmental factors. Sounds silly, I know, but I think about things like that sometimes.