Garden beans must be picked by hand. When grown on a large scale a great many pickers are required. Colored labor is used almost entirely for this work in the South. Figure 61 shows a large force harvesting a crop of wax beans at Norfolk, Virginia. The pickers of snap or string beans are generally paid a definite amount a basket Field beans were formerly harvested by pulling, but the special harvesters now employed materially reduce the cost of this operation. L. C. Corbett (United States Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin 289, p. 14) describes it as follows: "This implement is built on the principle of a pair of shears, and consists of two long steel blades mounted upon a strong framework carried upon wheels. The long shearlike blades are set to cut the roots of the plants just beneath the surface of the ground. Above these blades guard rods or guide rods are so arranged as to move from their original positions the plants whose roots have been severed and, since the implement is designed to cut two rows of beans across the field, the plants of two rows are thrown together in a single windrow. This clears space for the passage of one of the animals in the team, so that it is necessary for only one to pass through the standing crop, thus decreasing the amount of loss by shelling which would result from both animals being driven through the standing crop".
Fig. 61. picking string beans at NORFOLK, VIRGINIA.
After cutting, the rows may be thrown together into small piles for curing, or they may be moved into windrows by side-delivery rakes. The crop is allowed to ripen fully in the field, so that only a few days after cutting are required for curing. If the weather is wet, the piles must be turned frequently to prevent damage to the beans. After thorough curing the crop is stored in barns after the manner in which hay is handled, and threshed whenever it is convenient, but not until cool weather. The old method was to flail, while now bean threshers are generally employed. These machines are moved from farm to farm, just as grain threshers or separators are used.