Ah, the First Car. For the rare few of us who were lucky enough to have had a car in high school, yours was probably like mine. First off, it probably had a name. Mine was called “The Ogremobile”. Next, it likely had an array of quirky problems which varied in the degree of humiliation they caused for your 17-year-old self: The Ogremobile shook violently if you drove over 60 km/hour, the passenger side lock was duct taped on, and my friends were already out on their driveways waiting for me when I’d come to pick them up because they’d heard my engine coming from 5 blocks away. Your First Car was probably unique, but there is one quality that almost all First Cars share- with each other and with my bush beans:
Friends, high school was long ago and so are the days of The Orgemobile. I am so over rust. So imagine my frustration when I noticed dapples of rust-coloured spots on my Ferrari green beans. Will the drama never cease?!
According to The Gardening Manual for Canada, “rusts are fungal infections, encouraged by moisture and characterized by orange or brown pustules, streaks, or blotches”. The good news: plants often recover. Here’s what they recommend:
- remove affected leaves and debris- dispose of the waste in the trash, NOT your compost or garden
- improve air circulation around the plant and between its stems by reducing overcrowding (definitely needed to be done in this case)
- Spray with fungicide. I am considering picking up some sulphur but I will wait and see how my guys manage now that I’ve removed the rusty bits
- Do not overuse high-nitrogen fertilizers
More good news: according to these science nerds (aka more legitimate sources of information than my blog), the pathogens that cause rust are not transmitted on or by seeds- which to me sounds like it’s OK to save seeds from your affected beans. They do, however, promote crop rotation (i.e. plant your beans somewhere else next year) and choosing seeds of resistant beans in future. Wikipedia also says that rust affects other plants, such as roses, wheat, apples, pears, barley, onion, leeks, and garlic.
I will let you know how it goes!
(Also, for the record, I loved The Ogremobile and realize how insanely privileged I am to have had access to a car back then, and now. And let’s not kid ourselves: my “grown up car”- The Toaster- is only a step up from my high school days. My new beauty screams- yes, screams!- as I drive it, much to the joy of my poor neighbours).