Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Blight on My Beans

Well, horse feathers! My green beans have got White Mold caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Or at least I'm pretty well convinced that's what it is.

A couple of pickings ago I noticed a little white mold here and there in the bean row but didn't think much of it.

This morning when I picked it was . . . Eeeeuwww! . . . extremely prevalent. What the . . . ? Ninety-nine percent of the beans themselves still looked as healthy as could be so I finished my harvesting and came in to do some research.

The strange thing is the weather conditions that cause this fungus to run rampant are long stretches of cool, damp weather. Well, that sure hadn't been the case in these here parts THIS summer! As you know I've been whining about the hot, hot weather that has caused very dry conditions in the garden.

I do know we've had heavy dew most every morning and you're not supposed to touch bean plants when they're wet. For this reason, there have been several days when I couldn't pick beans in the morning, but rather had to wait until afternoon (when it was hottest out there, of course) when they had dried out.

Last night around 5 p.m., all of a sudden one of those horrendous winds came out of nowhere. You know the ones where everyone's eyes get big and you think, "Omigosh, what's going on here?" Within minutes we had sheets of rain coming down so hard it broke branches off my sunflowers, knocked parts of the buckwheat patch flat and tore pea vines off trellises. We got a half inch of rain (yes, we finally got a rain gauge) in about 15 minutes.

Could this have brought on the overnight wild growth of the White Mold on the green beans?

Since the research I did said the mold can spread to other vegetables, I immediately went out and pulled up the whole bean row. But happily the picking of beans I did this morning gave me our year's supply so I'm not bummed out about no more beans this year.

Supposedly the fungus can live in the soil, so I guess I've got more studying to do to figure out if there are preventative measures I need to take to avoid another problem next year.

I think it's a little scary that so many gardeners seem to be having unusual problems (including huge bug infestations) this year. Lots more problems than usual it seems.


meemsnyc said...

Ugh, how frustrating!

Erin said...

hmmph! I'm stumped on that one, never seen it before! You are right, we have had blight, wilt, insects like crazy here this year. Gardening is definitely getting more challenging with the crazy weather patterns. Glad you got your year's supply in although I know it would have been nice to have a bumper crop to stash away!

Mama Pea said...

meemsnyc - You said it!

Erin - The real bummer is that I think I had a good week, maybe two more of beans coming on those vines (lots and lots of blossoms yet) and since I had my quota, I was going to offer them to someone who I know would have appreciated them. :o(

Jo said...

I've got that going on too with my beans. I seem to get a bit of it every year, with my snap peas too. Apparently my garden is a fungus fantasy land. Next year I'm growing pole beans. Maybe they will do better with more air circulation, off of the ground.

Susan said...

Well, yuk! It DOES seem that there's an awful lot of awful going around this year. I had a plague of Japanese beetles and countless other unwanted insect invasions. Maybe next year we'll get just the right amount of rain, sun and beneficial insects to make this seem like a bad dream. Speaking of dreaming....

Mama Pea said...

Jo - Hope your White Mold doesn't get out of control. Always something, eh? Pole beans for a year or two sound like a good idea.

Susan - Yup, we sure could all use a super-good gardening year next year.

You said, "Speaking of dreaming . . . " Huh? Care to finish that sentence?

P.S. My dishcloths arrived today! Hooray! Very nicely done and a good size, too. Thank you so very much!