Beans are usually the very easiest seeds to germinate and will normally sprout within 7 to 14 days from planting. Growth will be rapid if weather conditions remain warm and moisture is ample.
Their dramatic growth and easy cultivation make beans an excellent vegetable for a young person’s first garden. Once growth has been established, the after care is simple.
Cultivate lightly around the plants being careful not to disturb their roots and irrigate around the plants weekly during dry weather. Avoid watering the foliage of the plants in the evenings or excessively touching the plants while their foliage is wet as this often spreads fungal diseases through the beans.
Rust, anthracnose and downy mildew are the most common problems and usually arrive with warm, humid, wet weather or when the plants are under stress from drought, excessive wet, plant damage or under liming.
Most any copper spray (Copper Oxychloride) will correct the problem or any of the new bacterial/fungal sprays like the one recently released by Watkins. Most insect pest can easily be controlled with derris dust or something stronger but I do not recommend chemical sprays on any food crops once flowering and food production begins.
Some gardeners place fertilizers along the rows (called side dressing) as the plants grow but this is unnecessary if the soil is naturally rich or was fed prior to planting. If you elect this method of feeding be sure that the fertilizer does not contact the plant or severe burning may result.
However, as the plants approach flowering, crop yields can sometimes be nearly doubled by foliar feeding the plants with a complete plant food like Phostrogen. Unless you are growing beans for winter drying, it is best to pick beans while they are young and tender as they become course with age.
Frequent picking will greatly extend the length of the harvest season on that particular plant. For a continual succession of harvests plant beans every 2 to 3 weeks. A 1OOft. (30m) row or it’s equivalent will feed a family of 5 for a year!
Pole or vining_ beans mature about 75 to 80 days so should he planted as soon as possible to insure enough warm weather to get a good crop. A strong trellis, netting, wire or string support will be necessary or they may be grown over shrubbery or hedges.
Bush varieties can mature in as little as 45 days and can be successfully planted here well into March. The bush types take a lot less space and adapt well to containers.
Both bush and vining varieties come in green and yellow (often known as “wax”) varieties. The golden varieties often have a mild, subtle flavour while the darker green and purpling shades often have a distinctively deeper flavour that makes them excellent as meat substitutes in cooking.
New varieties are being developed all the time and number in the hundreds! So if you are on a budget, want to involve the kids in the wonderful world of Nature, are looking for a great and healthy diet of natural produce, or are starting out and want to try something easily, you just can’t go wrong / with God’s little treasure: the humble Bean!
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