How to Grow Beans

Beans are members of the Legume family and most are warm season crops. They are loosely grouped in two groups, either climbing beans or bush varieties. They like rich well composted and free draining soil and to grow in sunny to partially shaded position. The beans can be eaten as either immature pods or allowed to mature, shelled and then either dried and stored for later use or eaten fresh. Generally, the older the pod, the tougher and more "stringy" they become somewhat indigestible. The seeds can be sown direct or in punnets and then transplanted as seedlings later. I generally get an early start by sowing in punnets and transplanting when the temperatures rise. If you wish to grow a climbing variety, you will need to erect a sturdy frame to support them. This can be a space saver, wire mesh against a wall for example, or as we do, a garden stake "tee pee" with one plant at the base of each of the three stakes. Some varieties require the correct temperature and humidity in the evening to allow fruit set from the flowers (French runner bean). In all cases, the more you pick, the more flowering and beans you will get. If the beds have been prepared before hand, in most cases, additional feeding is not required. 

Growing Conditions

 

Position: Full Sun to partial shade, protected from strong winds.

 

Plant: Can be grown in pots, sown direct or planted out as seedlings in spring when the soil temperature has warmed. If sowing seeds, wait until the frosts have passed and the soil has warmed, then sow 1-3 seeds together (to allow for losses) water once, and then not again until shoots emerge. (unless you experience very dry conditions)

 

Frost Tolerant: No. Heat tolerant: Yes - but extreme summer heat can burn leaves and podsFeeding: if planted in well composted soil, additional feeding is not generally required. "Sweeten" the soil with a light dressing of dolomite lime before sowing. If plants produce few flowers, a side dressing of potash can be added.

 

Feeding: If planted in well composted soil, additional feeding is not generally required. "Sweeten" the soil with a light dressing of dolomite lime before sowing. If plants produce few flowers, a side dressing of potash can be added.

 

Planting group: Beans are members of the legume family and can be grown with peas and peanuts. They can also be grown with nitrogen hungry plants as in the right conditions, beans will fix nitrogen in the soil. I prefer to keep a legume bed and move the plantings with the normal crop rotation.

 

Pests: Main pests are birds/slugs/snails as seedlings. They is also a wide range of beetle and moth/caterpillar pests that attack plants, but i've been fortunate to keep these at bay with companion planting and good crop rotation and mulching techniques.

 

Harvesting: Depending on the desired use, bens can either be picked as young pods, where the whole pod is eaten, or allowed to mature, where the beans inside are the intended harvest. These are then shelled and either kept dried or eaten fresh. The pods can be fairly easily pulled off the plant, but i prefer to cut them off to avoid damage to the plants.

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