Friday, February 27, 2015

Variety Show - Jade

Jade green beans
Jade provides us with a good continuous crop with beans that have a wonderful gourmet taste. In contrast to many green beans, Jade tastes better when the beans are larger (6-7 inches) and are a bit bitter if picked too small. These beans tend not to get woody and don't produce 'empty' pods like some varieties do when the beans are larger. This variety has allowed us to continue to provide fresh tasting beans that don't have the end of the season taste that some varieties get later in the year. If you luck out and get a long fall, this variety seems to keep on going. And, if you offered us a plate of steamed green beans and told us one was Jade and one was some other variety - we'd eat the Jade plate first.
This is a white seeded variety and does not care to germinate in cool, damp soils. We find that they appreicate the high tunnel with numbers that far exceeded field production levels.

We interplant green beans with potatoes and strongly recommend this to anyone who has problems with bean beetles or potato beetles. While you cannot guarantee a complete absence of these pests, there will be a significant reduction. There is some research that indicates a masking quality of the companion plant that makes it difficult for the pest to recognize its target crop. We received a SARE grant to work on planting spacing techniques and found that potato beetle larva were found on the edges of the field (away from the beans).
We are also happy with planting marigolds next to potatoes and beans. We recommend the old-style marigolds with the stronger marigold smell. They are a great habitat for predators, they look nice and beans and potatoes nearby seem to be happier. We have been known to throw in a plant in the middle of a row, but we don't do this consistently.
Our old pattern for companion planting is to center potato rows 6 feet apart. Between potato rows you center a double row of beans. Our current technique is to have 60 inch tractor beds (including wheel tracks). Each bed has a row of potatoes and a row of green beans, usually planted May 15-25. The rows are 15 to 18 inches apart.  We are looking to hybridize this approach in response to our current state of tool availability

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