If I cut my tired pole beans down to about 3 feet tall, strip any
remaining fruit off the vines, and side dress them with a little
fertilizer, will they put on a new flush of growth and give me a fall
crop? Or will the severe pruning kill them? Thanks.
In my experience, some varieties put out a tremendous first flush, then
go silent for a while, then they recover and offer a second smaller
flush. Others have a more constant yield, longer first flush but
smaller overall yield. My solution is to plant five different
varieties, from ultra early to late season. Then the overall production
averages out some. I let some plants go to seed and by now the beans I
save are quite mixed. I recommend one of the romano varieties for ultra
early, violet types for early, and Blue Lake types for later. You have
to keep them picked, of course. If you have only one variety, just
wait, there will be a second flush. You could also plant scarlet runner
beans, which are pole like in nature, good for string or shelling, and
quite a performer.
I wouldn't prune them. I've had very good luck just stripping the remaining
beans & side dressing them. Insect & disease control are more important for
this second smaller crop than for the first.
Forgot to mention, my heirloom greasy beans are now blooming well again
after a heavy first crop. There was about a 2 1/2 week lag time where they
looked very tired, but now new runners are appearing at the leaf/stem
joints. Give it a try, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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