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.
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