The Mystery of the Stealth Bean Nipper

Un-nipped, Recovering, Nipped

Our beans have delighted us by sprouting and putting out their first sets of leaves.  However, now some mysterious creature has been nipping off the new leaves.  I immediately suspected PF, our resident rabbit, but Jim assured me that the fence was intact.

 Nonetheless, when the depredations continued, Jim went out and—at great risk of exacerbating his allergies—ventured behind the massive juniper at the southwestern edge of our yard.  There he discovered that the wind had knocked several boards just loose enough that an intrepid rabbit could squeeze through.

The fence slats have been nailed back into place.  As an added precaution, we’ve covered some of the bean rows with tunnels made from scraps of hardware cloth or chicken wire.

We’re especially protective of a rare variety of tepary bean we were gifted by fellow gardening enthusiast Ursula Vernon.  (You may know her by her other identity, that of an award-winner writer and artist).  Ursula supports Native Seed Search but, living as she does in the hot, warm, wet South, she could not use the Pima Beige and Brown tepary beans they sent her as a thank you.  Being devoted to saving of heirloom varieties, Ursula sent the seeds to us. We’ve been eager to see if we can get this particular variety to thrive in New Mexico.

We’re hoping that the nipped-upon plants make a comeback.  The interesting thing we’ve discovered about beans is that some varieties, even when clipped back to little more than where the first leaves formed, are capable of leafing out again. When you think about it, such versatility makes sense, especially for plants like tepary beans, which originated in desert regions where anything green screams “Salad!”

Now that we’ve fixed the fence and given the baby plants armor, we’re eagerly watching to see what happens next.

Next mystery: Figuring out what creature has been making those perfectly round holes along the soaker hose.  I suspect Skinny the Thrasher, myself.  His long and curving beak would be the ideal tool…

7 Responses to “The Mystery of the Stealth Bean Nipper”

  1. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    The critters are tricky. It’s humbling to be outdone by a rabbit or a bird.😃

  2. Other Jane Says:

    I had some kale that survived the winter and the rabbits had a field day with that. They tend to eat my parsley too. But the deer are a bigger problem around here!

  3. Harried Harry Says:

    For some, using raised beds for plants helps to avoid the issue with birds, rabbits and squirrels. I saw one set of plans in the latest version of Handyman magazine, which could be easily modified to add a screen to the overhead area so birds and other critters could not munch on the “salad bar”.

    My tomatoes are doing fine, but the ones I planted using some actual tomatoes which were going bad are still not up. I hope they will produce but I’m not expecting them to do so.

    The temps are already at the 100 mark, so my plants will need water again, as will my dogs (we use a five gallon jug which fills the bowl and a two qt. bowl to ensure they have very fresh water since we clean it and add water several times a week.

    Enjoy your day and the garden. I hope Jim can find something to keep the allergies away. Maybe he can get a very fine filter mask to aid him.

    • janelindskold Says:

      We hit 100 for the first time this spring last week. This has been the coolest spring in a while. It’s helping some plants, but the cooler nights are really hurting our peppers. Be interesting if those tomatoes sprout. “Going bad” might have applied to the seeds, too.

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        I’ve found sprouts inside old tomatoes more than once, so I suspect that ‘going bad’ is part of the tomatoe’s [and a number of other berries’] strategy for making more tomatoes.

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