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Three kinds of heat-loving beans to grow now in Vermont

Lima beans growing in a garden
Growing lima beans, and other heat-loving beans in Vermont.

By now most gardeners have planted their bush and pole snap beans. These beans come in green, yellow or purple colors and are probably some of the easiest veggies to grow. With the hot weather returning, there are other beans that will not only enjoy the heat, but need it. Let's talk about sowing edamame, yard long beans and lima beans now to take advantage of the heat and long days. I'll talk about varieties, planting techniques and where to grow them.

Now is the perfect time of year to grow heat-loving beans, like edamame, yard long beans or lima beans. These are three examples that can grow in Vermont, but they need the heat, and you’ve got to get them growing fast, because as soon as it starts getting cold, toward the end of August or September, they shut down.

Edamame, or the green soybean, grows up like a bush, and it has pea-like pods with the beans inside–usually two or three per pod. The peas all seem to mature at once, so freezing some is a good option, or eating a bunch pretty quickly. Then you can chop the plants down and put in a fall crop like kale, so it's actually a nice succession crop. You can steam edamame in salted water. And then once the pods are soft enough, you can squeeze them and the bean pops right out. It's a fun thing to do with kids! You just shoot the beans right into your mouth and they're delicious.

Lima beans grow in a similar way. Bush varieties, like the Fordhook 242, or the Henderson Bush are two heirloom varieties. They grow like regular bush beans, but they need even more heat. You can grow them in black plastic or put them under a tunnel of some type. You can get a lot of heat on those plants so they mature quickly. When the pods start turning a little bit different color from the green, that means the seeds are ready to eat. You can make some succotash.

And the third heat-loving bean is actually a pole bean. It's a yard long bean and grows up like a regular pole bean. And it has two beans that can grow a yard long, but some are about a foot long. They grow in pairs–very romantic beans. The red noodle is a burgundy-colored bean. It's thin. It's delicious. It's really nice–and great in different kinds of Asian recipes. But it's another one that once it gets cool at night it starts yellowing and it’s done. So if you're looking for some hot beans, these are the ones to go for.

A question about chipmunks eating rose flower buds

Q: Hello - I’m trying to train a couple of climbing roses up a gorgeous dead branch I found, but chipmunks keep eating the buds. What can I do to make those buds taste terrible? - Willa

A: Well, you could try a whole bunch of home remedies, you know cayenne pepper, vinegar, mint, garlic, any of those sprays, anything with a strong pungent flavor to them, that might deter them. I would actually lean more towards a commercial product, I use plant skid to keep deer and rabbits and woodchucks, and a whole bunch of other critters off of our plants and it seems to work pretty well. It's based on blood meal and slaughterhouse waste. It has a horrible smell when you first put it on, but after a day or so it dissipates. But the animals still smell it. So I would go out there and treat those buds right now as soon as you can, and in the future, try to do it even earlier. That way they won't get used to coming to find your roses.

Blight on a cherry bush?

Q: I have a cherry bush here on Cumberland Head, in Plattsburgh, which we planted about 10 years ago. In the past few years, white blossoms have appeared, followed by a blight-like condition, where leaves start to wither to a yellowish hue, on various branches. This is accompanied by a hardened transparent like substance appearing on random branches.

This year is different. After the blossoms appeared and shed, all leaves have turned brown and are falling off. Previously, on advice of a horticulturist friend, we have used Neem, and then copper sulfate. So to say I am no expert would be an understatement. -Rick, in Plattsburgh

A: Well, it could be blight. It could be blood blast, or botrytis blight, which is something that the wet springs that we've been having especially this year might have attributed to, and that's why the flower is dropped like that. And that's why you're getting that oozing substance, something like that you want to spray before the flowers are actually open. A neem oil, or copper sulfate, or something of that type would be a protective spray to put on the plants maybe next year before they start flowering or when they're in the bud stage. And that might protect them so you don't have that problem next time around.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, our audience! Send us your toughest conundrums and join the fun. Email your question to or better yet, leave a voicemail with your gardening question so we can use your voice on the air! Call Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Listen to All Things Gardening Sunday mornings at 9:35 a.m., and subscribe to the podcast to listen any time.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.