This year we planted beans from the survival kit our parents just had around. They are a kind of bush bean called Strike. We weren’t convinced any of these seeds were going to germinate, so instead of putting 2-3 seeds in holes spaced nicely down a row, we just sowed them down the row. Every 2-3 yards or so, we put in a couple of marigold plants too. We try to remember to plant marigolds amongst our beans to keep the bugs away and they work great.
Yesterday, we decided that it was time to start picking the beans because we had seen the day before that some were pretty big. When we started picking, we found that there were actually a ton of beans out there. After we were done picking, we had filled up a huge salad crisper. Needless to say, we didn’t eat all of them last night. We gave a bagful to one of our friends, we had them with supper, and our dad took the rest to work today for lunch. We harvested some more today too. It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten good beans like these so it’s very nice.
There are two basic reasons some of our past bean harvests have been less than exceptional. The first is that we have wild rabbits in our yard and they unfortunately demolish the bean plants if they discover them when they are just getting started. You can’t exactly trap a rabbit and we don’t always get to fencing our beans; therefore, no beans or not many beans.
The second reason is because bugs have eaten the leaves and nibbled on the beans making the plants both diseased and unappetizing. This will happen when we either forget or are too lazy to plant marigolds with the beans. Bugs that eat beans don’t like the way marigolds smells so they stay away. It really works; while we were picking, we only found about five bugs, only one of which was a Mexican Bean Beetle which would actually have been harmful to the bean plants. They look a little like Lady Bugs except its body is orange, not red. Like lady bugs, Mexican bean beetles also have black spots. We picked up the beetle when we found it and tried to feed it to a chicken, but surprisingly, it wouldn’t eat it.
Anyway, this type of bean is really good – it produces lots of beans and they taste very good. If you’re planting beans next year and you’ve had problems with Mexican bean beetles eating them, I would definitely suggest planting marigolds amongst your bean plants. Sure beats spraying some kind of poison on them.