I feel like I’m beating a dead horse when I talk about the bean beetles. However, right now they are a huge impact on the homestead. I didn’t pull the beans the other day like I had planned. But I took care of that today.
I had some use or lose leave to use up before Christmas, so I took off today. I decided that today was the day to pull up the bean plants. But we prefer to can the beans, so I had to get a replacement canner first. So off to the store to look for one.
I would like to get an All-American canner, but that’s not in my budget at this time. I figured I’d get either a Mirro or Presto canner. I looked at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but the canners were MSRP and since I know I can get them online cheaper, I decided to check out Walmart.
I found this Presto 16 quart canner at Walmart for the same price as I could get online. This is replacing a 12 quart Mirro that I damaged. The larger Presto has a pressure gauge, but that’s not all that important to me. I brought this home and washed it up to take off the oils left by the manufacturing process.
With that taken care of, I headed out to the garden to check things out. The Mexican bean beetles were all over the place. There were easily twice as many beetles as were out there the other day. I was also wrong about the pole beans not being attractive to the bean beetles. Those couple pole bean plants had leaves that now looked like lace. So I started pulling up plants.
My technique is to pull up the plants from a portion of the bed. Then sit there on a milk crate to pull off the beans. The plants then go into the wheelbarrow. This time around I decided to try to kill off the beetles without destroying the plants. That way I could compost them. So I put the plants into black trash bags. I sealed them off with zip ties and have them laying in the sun to cook. In a couple weeks I’ll empty them out into the compost pile.
Whenever I plant beans in a bed for the first time, I always treat the beans with inoculant. This is a helpful bacteria that allows the bean plant to pull nitrogen from the atmosphere. This nitrogen is in nodules on the roots of the bean plant. I never knew what they would look like. So I figured I’d take a picture of them. Those little things that look like stones are the nodules. The quarter is there for scale.
I ended up with this big pile of beans. That quarter should show just how big of a bowl that is. After I got them all picked, I had to take my son to karate, so my wife stepped in to help. She snapped all those beans and had them all ready for me to put into the jars ready to can. I ended up with 6 quarts of beans to put in the new canner. I’ll have to go through my notes to find out how many quarts we have canned this year, but I think it is in the 25 quart range.
On the way to karate, I passed the farm stand down the street. They have green beans in. I’m actually thinking of stopping by there tomorrow to get more beans to can. We certainly will eat them all before next year’s crop comes in. Might as well take advantage of the low prices on the local produce.