For those of you who have had your bean crop devastated by spider mites at the end of a hot dry summer, I may have discovered a solution this year. At least for those of us with smaller gardens… Since I have only had a few weeks to try this – my success can only be taken as something worth a try next year. Or even now.
For the last 3 years my beans have all been pretty well wiped out by mites before I got a enough to freeze. Last year I tried cutting some of the bush beans back to a nub to see if they would regrow “mite-less” and was only partially successful.
This year – armed with the knowledge that the conditions mites thrive in are hot, dry and dusty – I began spraying down my beans with water every day. One batch I did from the day they put out their first leaves, another bed I didn’t start until they were fairly well grown (and beginning to show signs of mites) and a bed of my
favorite pole beans (Fortex) I didn’t think to spray until they were pretty well taken over by mites… every leaf speckled white (that was pretty dang dumb!).
Here’s what I have found:
The beans I sprayed nearly every day (really drenching them till they were beaten down to the ground with water) are looking and producing wonderfully! Here’s a picture of them:
The ones that I started spraying later are producing very well and although they show signs of mites – they aren’t getting much worse.
The Fortex pole beans which were struggling along trying to produce a bean here and there are making a comeback since I started spraying them everyday. I didn’t really have much hope – but decided it was worth a try. I’m really glad I did now, because I just may get a half-way decent crop from them this year after all!
My spraying method is pretty forceful because I want to get every side of the plants leaves, and I discovered that you could really hose bush beans down forcefully and have them pop back up the next day. I didn’t seem to deplete the crop by doing that either, much to my surprise. I may have knocked a flower off now and then, but somehow they are still producing well!
Many of the plants on my deck are attacked by mites as well, and although – unlike beans – they don’t put out lots of new leaves all the time, spraying things down seems to be keeping things from getting worse.
I wish now that I could discover something as simple as this for dealing with aphids…