Choosing Bean Varieties for Home Gardens
When electing to grow beans, it’s important to know which variety to choose. To make the choice difficult, there are over one thousand varieties of beans. The easiest way to choose a favorite is to select a species by how they grow:
The most popular bean in home gardens are green beans which grow on long poles. These are commonly referred to as string beans. Close relatives of string beans are golden yellow wax beans and snap beans. Other beans include fava, lima, Great Northern, kidney, white, black and butter beans to name a few. Some beans have natural shells like chickpea, black-eyed peas and garbanzo. Thee are usually sold in dried form and then soaked and allowed to slow cook until tender. Gardeners enjoy many harvests from their bean crops.
How to Grow Beans
Beans are easy to grow. Bean seeds have a relatively fast germination period. Plant beans when the outdoor temperature has reached at least 45 degrees. Fast germination helps gardeners keep a continuing crop throughout the growing season. Invest in a trellis, wood frame or long pole intended for growing green beans. Green beans prefer a loam soil. Gardeners can encourage a loam soil by adding mulch prior to planting. Soil should be well-drained to avoid rotting the roots. Soil should also be warm to the touch when planting. Water frequently. Keep soil nutrients in balance to avoid a decrease in bean crop. Plant bush beans about two inches apart and at a depth of about two inches. Pole beans can be planted three inches apart. Pole beans are climbers. Keep this in mind when training them to the trellis, pole or wood frame. Bush beans will become dense with foliage.
Unlike some vegetables, beans are picked before they reach maturity. Once pods develop, carefully pick without injury to the rest of plant. Green beans left too long on the vines, frames or poles tend to be stringy and tough when cooked. To get a bumper crop of beans, simply remove pods from the bush or vine. Peel away the other skin of the bean and remove the tiny seeds inside and dry before replanting. For a full crop throughout the growing season, plant beans every two weeks. When fully harvested, allow the soil to rest by rotating vegetable crops. Rotating crops in this way prevents valuable soil nutrients from becoming depleted.
The Simplicity of Growing Beans
Whether gardeners choose green beans or the type that will become dried beans, the method for growing beans is relatively simple. There’s less care and maintenance to growing beans since they are quite hardy. Beans do not grow as well in climates where moisture levels are high. There are several varieties of bush and pole beans from which to choose. Be sure to harvest beans regularly. Unlike some plants, beans need water taken into the plant quickly. Beans tolerate watering in full sun unlike other less-tolerant vegetables.