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Squirrel-Resistant Beans

By Guy Duran, 2016

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When I became involved in starting the Garden of Blessing Community Garden, here in Fremont in the beginning of 2020, I knew it would be probably a year before the garden actually opened. Rather than just let the land sit unused, for the summer of 2020 I put it to use to get a feel for the soil and to see what kind of pests our future gardeners would be facing.  Additionally, always when gardening, one of my goals is utilizing available space to its maximum, and to that end I do a lot of vertical gardening.  

In my mind, I saw a lot of beans growing along the 100-foot length of fence that I had available to use.  It was simple enough to run one 5/8th inch drip line along the length of the fence and I then went ahead and planted the runner bean seeds. I planted about eight different varieties of beans and they all popped up quickly and looked really good until, all of a sudden, they were gone! Nothing left but stems.  It was soon determined and verified that the culprits were squirrels.

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I tried replanting with various coverings but with limited success and sooner or later it was game over for the bean seedlings. Nothing was getting past the first or second leaf stage. For next year, it will be game on to figure out how to outsmart the squirrels but that brings me to something interesting that I already learned in this process - which is that squirrels, apparently, do not like Asian Long Beans. Go figure. 

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All the varieties of beans that produced the “regular string beans”, got eaten by the squirrels but NONE of the Asian Long beans were eaten by them.  I planted about a 15-foot length and have gotten a bunch of beans to harvest. As a gardener for many years I know that sometimes the best information is learned from experience and this experience, with the beans and the squirrels, I’ve found fascinating so I wanted to share it.