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May 12th, 2011

Noodle Beans, Drought, and Aphids

I harvested our first ‘Chinese Red Noodle’ beans last week, after direct-seeding them on March 4. I picked all the ones that were about 12 inches or longer. Some were over 18 inches and should have been harvested a few days earlier, but I wanted to do it all at once. Warning: After they hit 12 inches, they seem to grow an inch per hour! The taste of the Red Noodle beans is VERY good. Cindy did a stir-fry with toasted sesame seeds and garlic—outstanding!

We are in the midst of a horrible drought. Thanks to drip irrigation and organic production, we’re using much less water than conventional growers. Even so, this is the time of year that legumes like row-crop and vining beans get ravaged by aphids. The cowpea in our variety trials is also decimated with aphids. In a normal year, I would have planted it in January to avoid the problem period, but our unusual winter temperatures didn’t allow that this year. I’ll try again in fall. Still, we should be able to harvest enough pods to get a taste in a week or two.

The aphids don’t seem to bother the leguminous trees; the poincianas are putting on a great show, and our pigeon pea trees are covered with pods.

Well, that’s it for now. Will gladly trade some heat for some cool!  —Andres Mejides, Homestead, Florida

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