Ha! Iâ€™ve done it! Iâ€™ve finally grown enough of my very own green beans to can several gallons, with more plumping up on the bushes as I write. You just donâ€™t know how happy this makes me.
I havenâ€™t always been so lucky, you know.
The first couple of years I tried growing green beans were a horrible disaster. Those blasted Mexican Bean Beetles made swiss cheese (no pun intended) out of my beautiful plants, and chewed so many holes in the beans themselves they werenâ€™t even worth picking. Talk about frustrating!!
Last year, I even resorted to sprinkling bug dust over my crop, tossing my dream of an organic garden to the wind in my determination to win the battle with the bugs. But most store-bought products arenâ€™t only unsafe and unsustainable, they arenâ€™t cheap either. I needed a solution that I could find naturally.
And then one day I was at a yard sale buying a box of canning jars from an elderly woman, and as I paid her I asked if she canned anymore. She shared that she used to can green beans often, but that she just doesnâ€™t get out into the garden much anymore. Seizing an opportunity to glean a little bit of wisdom from a seasoned pro, I asked her if she ever had trouble with pests in her beans. She said, â€œNo, I never had any trouble with beetles. I just sprinkled my plants with wood ashes every now and then, and that seemed to keep them away.â€
Ah-ha! Wood ashes, you say? I made a mental note of that tip and kept it tucked away until this past spring when I planted a new crop of beans. Iâ€™ve sprinkled my bean patch with wood ashes from our stove about three times this year, and although Iâ€™ve seen a handful of beetles on my plants, they havenâ€™t done nearly as much damage as in years past. And my beans are gorgeous!
I am now a firm believer that wood ashes work wonders for keeping pests away from my green beans. I love that it doesnâ€™t harm the insects (it just makes the leaves unappetizing), itâ€™s safe for my family, and itâ€™s beneficial to the soil my plants live inâ€¦ not to mention that itâ€™s free!
So, the next time you see the fuzzy yellow larvae of the Mexican Bean Beetles, or the orange, ladybug-like adult form of this pest on your plants, give them a good sprinkling of wood ashes straight from your fireplace. And tell them theyâ€™ll just have to find their snack somewhere else!
Want to share your tried-and-true natural pest protection tips? Drop an email: email@example.com You may see your tip in next springâ€™s garden preparation series.