Beans are a medicinal plant
Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Common name: Green French beans String Beans or Snap Beans, dry beans (many varieties).
Grow beans and stay healthy. There is nothing better than growing your own beans. They are simple to grow, easy to harvest and delicious to eat. Good companion plants to grow with beans include beetroot, borage, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, marigold, squash, strawberry, sweetcorn and tomato.Do not grow beans with chives, fennel, garlic and leeks.
Some green beans are grown to be eaten raw or steamed ie Green French beans and some are grown for the dry bean for example kidney, navy, borlotti. French and the Dry bean have two growing habits, dwarf or bush beans and pole or climbing beans. Depending on the variety you are growing prepare the bed accordingly. Climbimg beans will need a good trellis to climb on.
Plant green beans as the soils warms up after Winter months, directly where they are going to grow as they do not like to be transplanted. Sow at a depth of one and half times the diameter of the seed. Plant into a friable loamy soil with a PH of 6.5. Test your soil PH with a simple test kit from the hardware store.
Green Beans are one of the easiest plants to save the seeds from, as pollination occurs before the bean flower opens. Collect seeds on a dry day and make sure the seed is very hard. Freeze the seed for 48 hours to kill off any weevils under the seed coat as they will hatch out destroy your seeds post harvest.
Some varieties of beans are the same colour so label your plants well and separate the varieties so you can identify at seed collecting time.
It is not good to plant beans in the same bed year after year as they are susceptible to many pests and diseases. Rotate your crops and plant them after a flowering crop like broccoli or cauliflower.
Beans are a warm season crop and need eight hours of good sunlight per day. They are frost sensitive. Plant three to five climbing beans per person every two weeks over the growing season to ensure a constant supply. Their growing period is fifty to seventy five days.
Keeping your beans healthy and strong relies on good soil health, follow organic practices for building up your soil fertility. Make sure you don’t overcrowd them and avoid watering the leaves, drip irrigation, mulching and watering trenches between the rows is ideal. In wetter areas you probably wont have to water them at all as water logging causes beans to stunt. Once they get going liquid fertilise with compost teas made from things like stinging nettle, seaweed and fish emulsion. Worm juice is also great. So grow beans, save money and know what you are eating. The secret to a successful bean crop is the seed. Know your source and find a successful local variety. Lazy Housewife and Zebra Bean and two stand out climbing varieties.
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