Kathryn Fontenot, Koske, Thomas J.
Snap beans are adapted to a wide range of soils in Louisiana and make an excellent crop for the home garden. Their freshness is a real treat at the dinner table, and some varieties are new for 2010.
LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske says many new cultivars of bush snap beans are available that produce outstanding yields with excellent quality. For this year’s bush bean crop, he recommends the All America winners Derby and Green Crop(flat).
Other excellent bush snaps are Ambra, Bronco, Dusky, Storm, Strike, Hialeah, Valentino, Caprice, Grenable, Lynx, Nash, Shade and Festina.
Older bush cultivars of outstanding quality are Provider, Contender and Blue Lake 274.
Good flat pods are Magnum, Roma II and Green Crop. For a bush wax types, choose Golden Rod, and for a dark red pod, choose Royal Burgundy.
Pole snaps produce high yields over a longer period and can be replanted in August. For pole snaps, Koske recommends Kentucky Blue-AAS, McCaslin, Rattlesnake, La Purple, Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder191 or the half runners(semi pole) of Volunteer or State. A great summer-producing pole snap substitute is the Yardlong Asparagus bean.
Although snap beans are a cool-season crop, they cannot tolerate frost. They also will not set fruit under the high temperatures of mid-summer. Therefore, the best time to plant the beans is just after the danger of frost has passed and before the mid-May.
Bush varieties should be planted about two weeks apart to extend the fresh harvest period. Pole varieties will produce over a longer period, and only one planting is necessary. They are still subject to much of the heat-stress pod failure.
It will take about ½ pound of seed of bush varieties to plant a row 100 feet long, but only about 3 ounces of pole varieties seed per 100-foot row.
Pole beans may be supported by placing poles at the bases of two plants from each of two adjoining rows. The four poles, which then can form a four-point 'teepee,' are tied with heavy twine to hold them in place. When the bean plants begin to elongate, they should be trained up the supports.
Pole beans (as well as cucumbers, gourds and other vining vegetables) may be supported by twine woven between two heavy wires. The wires are fastened to 7- or 8-foot posts located every 10 to 12 feet down each row. Prop poles between the posts will prevent sagging or breaking if end posts are far apart. Beans may be harvested easily from both sides of this row.
Koske says the biggest pest problem seems to be beetles. He recommends controlling them with malathion, carbaryl or orthene. Thiodan may be used, but he cautions to be extra careful with this insecticide. For aphids, use any mentioned with the exception of carbaryl.