Garden q&A: veggies don't like fluctuations
Q: We grew green beans in our garden last year and had a problem that we'd like to avoid this season. The plants grew lots of beans, but each pod was curled up at the bottom and the leaves had yellow markings on them. What happened, and how can we produce a better bean crop this year?
A: To ensure optimum health and adequate production from all your veggies, start your season by getting a soil test. Improper soil pH and fertility issues can lead to deformed or dwarfed vegetables. Contact your county's office of the Penn State Extension Service to purchase a test, and when the test results are returned, adjust your fertilization program accordingly. Most vegetables, green beans included, prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
That being said, I suspect there may be a few other factors at play in regards to your deformed beans. During pod-set, fluctuations in soil moisture and excessive heat can lead to pod curling. While you can't control the temperature, be sure your bean plants are well mulched and water them regularly throughout the growing season if necessary. Most veggies require 1 inch of water per week. Set an empty tuna can in the garden and measure the amount of rainfall collected in it each week. If you need to water the garden, put the can under the path of your sprinkler and run it until the can is full. That's about 1 inch of water.
It's also possible that your beans were infected with common bean mosaic virus. Mosaic virus creates a yellow and green mosaic pattern on infected plants, stunts growth and causes the bean pods to curl. It arrives in the garden via infected seeds and can be transferred from plant to plant by aphids.
Be sure to purchase your bean seeds from a quality source and dispose of any infected plants. Rotate this year's bean crop to a new area of the garden. Because mosaic virus is a viral disease, there are no products available to control it. Plant only varieties with a noted resistance to the virus. Some of my favorites are Venture, Renegade, Blue Lake, Maxibel and Contender.
Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.
Send your gardening or landscaping questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates, Worley edge Brewers, 1-0, move to cusp of playoffs
- Machine operator avoids serious injuries in accident in North Huntingdon
- Pirates notebook: Bucs set single-season attendance record
- York man, 21, accused of assaulting Indiana Borough police officer
- Rescuers carry injured person up hillside near Phipps Conservatory
- Person rescued from McKees Rocks fire
- Hospitals turn to technology to tear down language barriers with patients
- Pirates find a bridge at end of baseball world in Holdzkom
- Water service restored to CMU campus
- Google grants teachers’ school supply wishes
- Gas industry remedies ‘brain drain’ in Western Pennsylvania