growing green beans

Asked July 9, 2014, 9:06 AM EDT

I'm having problems growing green beans. Last year, the foliage of any seedlings that emerged from the ground were quickly eaten, and I assumed that rabbits or opossums or some critter had eaten them. This year, I planted seeds, put white row cover over the bed, secured the row cover with bricks all around, and went on vacation for 2 weeks. (A neighbor kid watered the garden.) When we returned, I took off the row cover and found that most of the seedlings had again been eaten. One or two were still alive, but portions of the foliage had been chewed off. Since bunnies and raccoons could not get to the seedlings, I have to assume that some insect in the soil chewed them up.

Advice? I grew green beans successfully for many years and am confused by the current problems.

Thank you for your help.

Boulder County Colorado fruits and vegetables

1 Response

Your problem may be cutworms. This is a common early spring pest. They are a 1 inch grayish brown caterpillar, some with spots or stripes. They feed at night and hide during the day. The most effective way of natural pest control is to set a small 2" - 3" collar, pressed 1" in the soil around the vulnerable plants. Collars can be made of paper, cardboard, PVC or metal cans. Here is a link to the Univ of MN extension on cutworms - with further information.