I was super inspired to write this post earlier today. So I guess I should get to it.
Beans are one of my favourite vegetables to grow. Although they don’t often make it into my kitchen -I usually end up eating them straight off the plant.
For the last few years I have almost always grown them in containers. Since we rent, I want to keep them mobile, rather than leave them behind.
Last year was the first time I had trouble with my beans for as long as I can remember. They didn’t produce like usual. I later learned that it was probably because I put them in with the Chives. It is probably a good idea to look into companion planting lists when you are deciding where to stick those seeds in the dirt.
Another thing you are going to want to check – When you are buying your bean seeds: Are they are “Bush” or “Pole” beans. For Pole beans, you are going to need something for the plant to climb onto.
This year I am growing Scarlet Runner (Pole) Beans and (Bush) Greencrop Beans. As well as some leftovers from last year Tendergreen (Bush). I don’t have high hopes for the last ones, as they did not do very well in my seed germination test. However, I am going to stick them in and see how it goes anyway.
You can grow beans for drying and use in soups or stews or whatever else you may decide to use them in. I have never done this – But I may try with a few on the Scarlet Runners this year.
Beans are a legume – Which means they help fix the soil. They take nitrogen in from the air, store it in a special area of their roots, transferring it back into the soil. You may want to look into planting peas, beans or other legumes in areas where you have had other plants for years, but they are just not doing very well this time around. – The soil may not have enough nutrition for the plant growing there. Also important to note here: Since beans are not heavy feeders, (like perhaps Zucchini) you probably won’t need to fertilize them much, if at all. If you over-fertilize, you may end up with lush leaves, but a tiny crop of beans.
You can also add some mulch if you feel like your beans are having trouble staying hydrated. This will help keep the soil cool, and slow down evaporation. Although- I have heard that beans tend to be very drought tolerant -something to think about if your particular area tends to be very dry.
Now, Onto my seed choices and why I chose them:
Bush Green Crop: I chose this variety because it matures fast (53 days!). They also sprout in 6-14 days. The description on the seed packet is as follows:
“An Abundant crop of tasty beans on prolific bush plants. Long 15-20cm (6-8″) beans are perfect for fresh use, canning, freezing or frenching. Avoid working among the plants while they are damp or wet to reduce chance of disease. Cultivate shallow and often”
Scarlet Runner Beans: I chose these mostly because of their pretty flowers. I see them every year in the seed stand at the store, and so I finally decided to try them out. They mature in 64-70 days, and can grow 6-10 feet tall. They also attract hummingbirds (i doubt that will happen here though). These also sprout in 6-14 days. The description on the seed packet is as follows:
“Very unique! Brilliant scarlet flowers that attract hummingbirds contract attractively against the dark green foliage. All this and edible too! The vines provide an extremely high yield of delicious 20-25cm (8-10″) snap beans. Very tender when cooked. Seeds can also be dried. Harvest when young. Climbs 2-3m (6-10′)”
Since I have yet to plant these outside – Our last frost tends to be around the end of May – I will link back to this post when I update throughout the summer.
Happy Gardening- Spring is finally here!