Category Archives: Beans

Still Growth Problems – Aminopyralid Still Around?

After a total disaster this spring with planting in this bed, I decided to grow a quick crop of bush beans before I plant broccoli and cabbage seedlings in this bed – which will be covered with hoops & plastic this winter.  I figured that the added nitrogen would be good for the soil and I was looking forward to yellow wax beans.  Didn’t work out that way.

Well, one end of the bed – actually about 2/3 of the bed, the beans did not do well.  At this end, they were the most stunted, a bit less stunted in the middle of the 16 foot bed, and awesome (normal) at the other end of the bed.  Use the clay pot to show scale.  These beans are sorry looking and many of them are turning yellow and dying before any buds appear.  Others have buds, but won’t be able to produce many – if  any – bean pods.  So scrawny – so sad.  What a waste of good seed – Dow cost me more money and won’t take responsibility.  ( Now, all my reply emails to their rep go unanswered.  They just don’t care.  Dow Agriscience wants your $$$$$$$$ and screw the home gardener!)  Unfortunately, most of my bean seeds went into this end of the garden.
is aminopyralid still killing my garden?

This bean plant is what they should look like.  See those giant (normal sized) leaves?   And all those buds?  For some reason this end of this 16′ x 4′ raised bed is normal.  Something in the other end is causing stunted beans.  I fear it is still Dow’s widespread poison.  Beans are a test crop to see if that poison is in your compost.  Well, thanks Dow, you, like Monsanto, like to do evil things to gardens and seeds and heirloom crops.  Maybe by next spring your poison will be degraded enough that I can grow something in my garden.

(The piece of rebar below the clay pot is what I put my pvc conduit hoops onto to secure them so I can put plastic over the hoops – making my winter hoop garden beds.  I actually use 10′ sections of gray plastic electrical conduit of 1/2″ diameter, I think.  One end is enlarged, both ends fit well over 3/8″ rebar.  1/2″ rebar is too thick.  I bend the 10′ section over the 4′ wide bed.  It works out perfectly, leaving about 3′ internal height for the inside top center of the bed.  I bought 16′ sections of rebar and had my sons cut them into 2′ sections – pounding 12″ into the ground and leaving the other 12″ above ground to slip the conduit over).
beans as they should look like
Yeah – this is what a bush bean should look like.  Look at all those blooms – I have already harvested a few yellow wax beans.  I hope I can get enough for a decent serving.  This may be difficult though, since most of my beans were planted in the poor section of the garden.
yellow wax bens

I finally purchased a gallon jug of Garrett Juice, a foliar feed.  I sprayed all of these plants with it, adding some neem oil in it to help as insecticide.  I think it has helped – but couldn’t counter the effects of Dow’s poison on the smaller beans.  I could have mixed some up myself, but I can’t be confident in the animal manure compost component of the ingredients, so I purchased a jug.

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Late Season Bean Planting

After trying to get over the failure of my spring garden, probably due to Dow Agriscience’s poison aminopyralid, I have decided to replant some quick growers for the second half of our growing season here in Texas.  This bed is scheduled to have broccoli, cabbage and greens this fall.  However, since these crops won’t be planted for at least 6 to 8 weeks, I am going to try to get a quick crop of beans.

So far, the beans look OK.  I think that maybe most of the poison aminopyralid may have degraded in this bed.

This half of the bed is planted with yellow wax beans. I intend to pick them for fresh yellow beans and have no intention of saving seeds. This means that this crop should be done in 60 days.  There is basil planted all thru this bed – I planted it after my squash mysteriously started to dye – probably thanks to Dow’s poison aminopyralid that is now loose and ruining compost piles all over the western world.  One okra plant survived – barely holding on for the past few months, but now seems to have taken off – it is in the lower left side, circled in red. In the front right corner is a lone surviving pepper plant.  The peppers seem to be doing better – again I suspect that maybe Dow’s poison aminopyralid may be degrading.  The tomato next to the okra never recovered and really needs to be pulled.

yellow wax beans

This end of the garden – below – was initially planted with left over Seed Savers Painted Pony beans from a 2009 batch. The seeds were refrigerated, but I guess they were just too old – only 2 seeds sprouted. So, a week later I replanted the area with a few Bolita Bush bean seeds that I had left from Baker Creek, dated 2010. They sprouted and now they look like they are actually pole beans! As such, I had to put some tomato cages among them so that they have something to climb onto.  I had intended to only grow bush beans for 2 reasons: to improve the nitrogen in the bed and for something quick – bush beans mature quicker than pole beans. Well, this is a surprise an I hope that they will be done and producing by the time I have to yank them out to plant my broccoli seedlings in. I didn’t have enough seeds to cover this whole half of the bed, so I’ll just leave that bare spot unplanted for now.  I had planed to save some of these Bolita seeds – if the plants can mature quickly enough.

late summer bean crop

I still don’t have my greenhouse moved over to our new property and have had a very difficult time trying to get seeds to sprout.  These are my cabbages and broccoli seedlings.  The chinese cabbage seedlings were rained on and over half of them were lost.  I have reseeded these trays. I need several hundred chinese cabbage seedlings and at least 6 dozen cabbage transplants and at least that many broccoli seedlings.  I plan to grow the broccoli under my winter hooped garden beds and stick the cabbages all over – under the hoops and outside.  It can take the freeze.

broccoli cabbage seedlings

I have trouble knowing when to start the cabbages and broccoli because it is so hot here for so long and quickly gets cool.  It is almost too hot to get the seedlings started and then gets too cool to get them growing good in the garden.  I can’t even start the spinach until the soil cools to 75 degrees and at the same time I plant my lettuce.  I plan to direct seed the carrots, chard, beets and kale pretty soon.  The turnips are the last thing to get planted.  The winters seem to be getting colder and get here sooner.  I’m having trouble timing plantings.

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Toxic Compost? Aminopyralid? Thanks Dow AgroScience

I posted a while back that I thought that our wetter than normal spring may have been responsible for my pepper leaves being deformed.  Well, after weeping over my destroyed garden – peppers, tomatoes and beans shot for the season, I have found that a herbicide may be responsible.  After thinking about it, I do believe that the tomato leaves do in fact look like previous herbicide damage to tomatoes that I have seen.

My tomato damage and pepper leaf damage does indeed look like pictures of aminopyralid damage seen all over the internet.

Here is an update on what my tomatoes now look like:

aminopyralid damage to tomatoes?
dow agroscience damage to my tomatoes?
aminopyrlid dow agroscience damage to my tomatoes?

The EPA won’t help me – they are too busy trying to shut down our coal burning power plants and cripple the American economy.

Manure and compost can kill your garden – thanks to Dow chemical company.

They peddle a herbicide called aminopyralid.

Dow Agroscience released this environmental poison in 2005, from what I can tell.  They aggressively market it to horse and cattle owners to control perennial weeds.

Dow strikes again – in 2001, Dow’s clopyralid – still sold as Confront, was found to be the contaminant in compost that killed home garden and nursery plants in Washington, Pennsylvania and New Zealand.

Aminopyralid is the active ingredient in the herbicides Milestone and Forefront and belongs to the same class of chemicals that includes clopyralid.

Dow’s behavior defies environmental corporate responsibility.  They know their product is capable of causing significant environmental harm, yet they continue to not only sell it, but to develop and sell new products that pose equal or greater risks.  The EPA lets it happen again.
My peppers:

The peppers grew perfectly fine in the pots that I sprouted and grew the seedlings in.  They seemed OK for the short while that they were in the garden.  After a rainy spell, I noticed that they suddenly had deformed, small and cupped leaves.  After a few weeks, the leaves dropped off.  At this time, it looks like new leaves may be trying to grow from the spots where the leaves dropped along the main stems.
aminopyralid killing my pepper plants?

These leaves are deformed and long.
did dow agroscience destroy my pepper crop this year?

These leaves are cupped and wrinkled.
is aminopyrlid and it's toxic compost destroy my garden?

More deformed, cupped leaves.  Some of these leaves don’t look totally deformed.
did dow agroscience kill my garden?

My beans were also deformed.  I replanted Heriloom Rattlesnake Pole Beans three times.  This image is the third planting.  I can’t get a good picture, but maybe you can see that the new growing ends of the plants just shrivel up and never grow into new leaves.  After a few leaves, the growing ends are deformed.

did dow aminopyrlid destroy my garden?

From what I have read, lettuce and carrots are also affected by this poison.  This past fall – in some of the areas where the peppers and tomatoes are deformed this spring – I grew carrots and lettuce – they seemed to be OK.  One of the links below mentions Peas as being damaged by this poison – my pea crop was a total failure this past fall. Out of a whole raised bed of peas, only a few germinated and those never grew more than about 3 inches – perhaps Dow’s poison damaged my peas. In a previous post I show the trailer of horse compost that I shoveled into my beds in about October.  It should have affected the lettuce and carrots that I then planted.

Dow chemical seems to be playing games with studying the half life of this poison so I don’t know what to expect this spring.  I shoveled that horse compost into all 7 raised beds and put the rest into my compost pile.  It seems that this poison doesn’t start to degrade until the toxic compost actually gets mixed with soil.

I don’t know what to think.  I will have to call our county extension agent and talk to him and give him this blog URL so that he can see the pictures.  Will keep you updated.

Some links for further information:

Manure Matters 
Tomato Ville forum
Aminopyralid images

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Chinese Long Red Beans

FINALLY!!! The Chinese Long Red Beans are finally ready to harvest.  As previously noted, we moved this spring and I left my seeds at the old place.  Most of these beans were planted from smaller, less than superb seeds.  They were slow to get going and didn’t look so hot at first.  However, as they grew that began to look amazing.  The leaves are so large and so green and they are growing like crazy.  I am letting plenty of long bean pods grow to maturity for the seeds.  When I harvest these beans this season, I am harvesting them a bit smaller than I used.

These plants are so full, dark green and growing all over.  I have already figured where I am going to plant them next spring.  They need at least 10 feet to grow up.  I have a section of cattle panel that was cut off at about 10 feet length.  I plan to mount it long edge high against a couple of treated 2×8, 10 foot boards, lag bolted to the garden timbers that make up my garden beds.  This will give them some height to grow up.
long red beans

These are young red bean pods.  The always grow in pairs off of the bud area where they grow from.  If you harvest them without destroying that bud area, a couple of more pods will later grow from that bud area.  This season, I am harvesting my beans when they are this young.  They stir-fry up better and are more tender.
chinese long red beans

This growth is out of hand.  I knew when I planted them on this 4′ high cattle panel that it wasn’t near high enough to allow for the full growth of these vines.  You can also see the squash leaves from the few winter squash vines growing in and among the beans.
long red beans

Another picture of Chinese Long Red Beans ready for harvest:  (The squash leaves have had powdery mildew – as you can see – however, bean leaves are immune to powdery mildew.


This long red bean pod is being allowed to grow to maturity, for seed.  Fruit for seed must grow to maturity.  You can begin to see the beans with in the pod showing their form.  I will leave these seed pods on the plant until they dry out.  They remain red, but the pod walls dry out.
long red beans for seed

Look at those large, dark, beautiful, disease-free bean leaves.  I am thinking that I may have a good crop of bean seeds for next spring’s planting.  These Chinese Long Red Beans are heirloom, open pollinated beans.

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Overview – From July 10

This is the middle walkway between the 2 long rows of raised beds.  The beds are 5 feet wide and 16 feet long – to accommodate the 16′ cattle panels.  I planned to plant climbing plants – mostly beans, squash and cucumbers – under the cattle panels on both sides of the bed and plant other things along the outer 2 feet of each long side.  I planted these squash so that they could grow down into the 4′ aisle between the beds.  In the very front, left you can see a long vine growing along the outside of the raised bed.  This is one of 4 Crenshaw winter squash that I grew.  These seem overly sensitive to powdery mildew and I don’t believe they will live long enough to produce a single fruit.   The winter squash growing on the cattle panel on the front left are several varieties including Seminole pumpkin.  These did very well last year.  On the bottom right side is the cattle panel where my cucumbers are growing.

At the top middle left of the pic is the raised cattle panel on which my Long Red Chinese Beans are growing.  They have really taken off  but have yet to start producing the 12″ red ‘green’ beans.  At the old place, I grew them up twine in a narrow bed in front of the carport.  That gave them at least 10′ – which still wasn’t enough room.  These cattle panels are no where high enough for the beans.  They are growing wildly, but when I try to tuck the growing ends in and out of the cattle panels, they easily snap.  Next year I will have to find some place better for them to grow.
overview july 10

I need to get the garden in on time next spring.

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The Bean Patch

Although it is now harvest time in the bean patch, here are some older pics.

This is the bean patch as it is just sprouting. I planted Romano pole beans all along the cattle panel and Chinese long red beans along the shorter edges. I planted Orka bush beans and Texas Cream 8 cow peas in the middle section.

bean patch just starting

These Orka bean seeds are a few years old. They are also called Yin Yang and a few other names. They started out very prolific. Look at all of those buds.

prolific bush beans

Here is a closeup:

closeup of orka beans

In about 2/3 of the space, I planted what was labeled Texas Cream 8 Bush beans. Oops – those bush beans are actually pole beans. I had trouble trying to take a pic that showed the bean runners – this is the best that I could take. I had to scramble and put up some things for the runners to grow on.  I put some tomato cages in the area and laid a 3×3 foot section of old fence over the top to give the runners something to grow on.

bush beans turned out to be pole beans


These are all heriloom seeds and I will be saving the best seeds from some of the earliest maturing plants.  All of these beans are finishing up their run.  With the exception of the Chinese long red beans, all of the beans were grown for the dried bean.  The pods are now drying on the vines.

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Fava Beans

My big plot of Fava beans froze out during our unusually cold ‘global warming’ winter last year. This year I decided to grow them in the greenhouse. I planted mostly Broad Windsor, with a dozen Aqua-something-or-other at the other end of the growing row.

They took a week or so to sprout, but once they did, they took off. These sprouts are about 2 weeks old. I expect the plants to top out at about 3 to 4 feet and hopefully be full of pods. They have very large pods that grow upward from the branch junctions.

Fava beans in the green house

In between the 2 patches of Fava beans, I planted Green Arrow peas. The seeds were 2 seasons old. I did store the seeds in a dark can, but not in the refrigerator. Today, I soaked about a hundred more peas for a few hours then replanted them in this open space. Hopefully within 2 weeks I will see their little sprouts.

Replanting non sprouting peas in between fava beans in greenhouse

I will plant many more peas outside in the next few weeks. I have an area about 16 feet by 5 feet that I need to turn over and get the peas in. After the pea harvest, which should be within 75 to 90 days from the time I plant them, that space will be planted in a 60 day bush bean, probably a wax bean.

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Spider Mites Made Worse By Excessive Heat

Originally published in late Summer of 2011

Spider mites have decimated the garden.  They started in the tomatoes.  (White flies were also a problem in tomatoes this year).  They spread to the squash and watermelons – but were harder on the watermelons.  Or, it could have been a virus that made those tomato leaves yellow speckled, then spread to the watermelons next to it.  Doesn’t matter now, all vegetative matter is dead or almost dead.  Spider mites are also on the Sweet Potatoes is the green house – they were treated with neem oil.  Sweet potato can take the heat and partial drought – I’m hoping to keep them alive until harvest time this fall.  Spider mites are particularly hard on the pole beans.  They slowly wiped out these Missouri pole beans, but didn’t do too much damage to the yard long green beans next to them.

Spider mites killed pole beans

I hadn’t had real problems with spider mites ever before, so they got ahead of me before I realized what was happening. Spraying with neem oil didn’t save these beans. A word of warning – Sevin will kill the bugs that feed on the mites – so if you diagnose spider mites – only use neem oil. Spider mites are NOT an insect, so Sevin won’t kill them. Neem oil and soap will.

I’ve had several new pests this year that I hadn’t had to battle before – spider mites and white flies. Neem oil seems to eventually kill off the white flies and hopefully will keep the sweet potatoes going until fall. Chinese long red beans are very susceptible to ants and their aphids – I have to constantly spray the ants and aphids. They will be back the next day on another plant. But those long red beans in stir fry is worth the effort of war.

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Drought And 100 Degree Temps Kill A Garden Quickly

Originally published late Summer 2011

Looking at my bright, green and bushy garden pics of mid July, and comparing to these pics is heart breaking.  For most of the 3 weeks since my last garden pics, we have been DRY and HOT.  The porch temperature is always at least 105 in the afternoons.  The Greenhouse temp is 120.  The sun is beating down on my winter squash and tomatoes day after day.  After 3 weeks of this, the garden is dead.  Water was not a fatal issue – they got enough gray water, although there was some wilting in the afternoon.  The unrelenting 100+ temps killed the garden.  The peppers are all that are still producing, although a couple of red beans seem to be re-sprouting near their bast and there are a handful of baby red beans.  Most of the longer red beans dried out before they matured enough to pick.

Dried up tomatoes

Those castor plants are tough. (In tropicalareas they grow into trees). They always survive the droughts. Below, these winter squash are dying. The leaves are being cooked day after day, although this part of the garden is in partial shade for part of the day.

Dried up squash on the cattle panels

I have a few Seminole Pumpkin winter squash (c. moschata). This one is still green, some in the background have already turned brown – the customary color for butternuts. I am thinking that next Spring, Seminole Pumpkin and Waltham Butternut are going to be my choice for winter squash. Look at those leaves – 2 weeks ago they were supple and vibrand, now they are cooked, crusty and dying.

Seminole pumpkin squash

Here is a broader shot of the garden – squash, watermelons (both in the foreground) and tomatoes (rear center) are all dried up. I circled a watermelon – they aren’t mature enough to pick, but the vines are dead. (Actually, the spider mites killed the watermelons). In the foreground I circled a maturing okra pod – I let them mature for seeds.

Squash, watermelons and tomatoes dried up

Chinese long red beans are resilient. They have been almost killed by the heat, but some plants are trying to put out new leaves near the bottoms. Also, ants and their aphids are hard on these beans. It is a constant battle

Long red beans dried up

Not a good summer for self sufficiency and vegetable gardening. Oh, if I only still lived a few hundred miles north!!!!

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The Chinese Long Red Beans Are Finally Ready

Originally published Summer 2011

I grow long Chinese red beans just for stir-fry.  They fry up so good.  I have never canned or froze them – I personally have no reason to.  Once they mature enough to start producing, they will produce all season long.  They are best picked (just as regular green beans) before the bean inside becomes too pronounced and the wall begins to thin. They are usually between 12 and 15 inches at this time.

I grow my beans, they are a pole bean, on twine strung from the carport. That puts them on the north side of the greenhouse, but they do receive plenty of sun.  I stood in the shade of the carport on a very bright, sunny day to take this pic – so the shading on the leaves make it a bit difficult to fully see the leaves.

Lots of long red beans hanging

A closeup:

close up of long red chinese beans

This pile of beans is ready to be cut up for stir-fry:

A pile of long red beans

If I miss picking a few beans, I’ll just leave them to finish maturing and save the seed – this is assuming that they turn out to be a nice looking bean.  Don’t save seed from poor looking fruit or poor quality plants.  I collect so much seed that I always replant in the middle of the summer – that is NOW!  Beans self pollinate, so there is very little worry of crossing varieties.  I am planting seeds here and there around the garden where there is space by a pole or trellis.  I also replant rattlesnake pole bean seeds and try for an additional harvest before the winter freeze.  That is one of the few benefits of a long growing season in this hot, dry area.

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