How to Grow Beans

How to Grow Beans

Broad Beans

how to grow broad beans A popular and heavy-yielding crop. Given good soil conditions, they are very easy to grow well. Varieties suitable for autumn Sowing are extremely hardy. They freeze excellently.

Soil requirements

Nothing in particular but good drainage and deep cultivation encourage strong root and pod development.

Possible yield

About 5-1/21b (2.5kg) per 10ft (3m) of row for traditional varieties. About 4.5 lb (2kg) for dwarf varieties.

Time from Sowing to harvest

9-11 weeks for spring sown; about 6 months for autumn sown. An autumn Sowing will be ready for picking about two weeks ahead of a spring Sowing.

Varieties

For spring Sowing: ‘Jubilee Hysor’ (Windsor type) for normal (3ft. + /90cm) height, best type for flavour; ‘Feligreen’ – seldom more than about 2ft (60cm) tall, excellent for freezing; the ‘Sutton’ (Dwarf).

For autumn Sowing: ‘Aquadulce Claudia’.

Sowing

In November or March to May. Sow tall varieties 4-1/2in (11 .5cm) apart, 2in (5cm) deep, 18in (45cm) between rows. Sow shorter varieties 9in (23cm) apart, 2in (5cm) deep, 9in (23cm) between rows. May also be sown January-March under cloches.

Transplanting

Those sown early under cover in pots or boxes can, if you like, be transplanted in April. Otherwise, sow in situ.

Cultivations

Keep weeds down by hoeing. Never allow the plants to run short of water, particularly when the pods are forming. Provide support when the tall varieties are about 2ft (60cm) tall. This is best done with a stout cane at each corner of the bean plot, running a string round all four canes.

Overwintering varieties will greatly appreciate a cloche or polythene tunnel during the worst of the winter. Pinching the tops out of the plants when the bottom flowers have ‘set’ will encourage bigger and better pods and, at the same time, discourage blackfly.

Pests and Diseases

The pea and bean weevil may take little bites out of the edges of the leaves; don’t worry. Blackfly is the worst pest. Chocolate spot fungus may appear late in the season, seldom in large enough quantities to warrant control measures.

Harvesting

Never allow the beans to become coarse and mealy, always pick them young and tender. Old age is shown by the development of a black scar on the seed and the toughening and discolouring of the pod. Broad beans freeze very well so there’s no excuse for letting them get old and tasteless.

 

French Beans

A very popular summer vegetable that starts after broad beans but before runner beans. Like runner beans, the whole pod is eaten.

Soil requirements

No particular soil needs, but it shouldn’t be too firm or the roots won’t be able to penetrate deeply enough.

Possible yield

About 6-1/2lb (2.9kg) per 10ft (3m) of row for normal varieties about 101b (4.5kg) per 10ft (3m) for climbers.

Time from Sowing to harvest

12-14 weeks.

Varieties

There are three types of French bean; the traditional flat pod, the new fleshy round pods and climbers. For the flat podded, try ‘The Prince’, the fleshy podded ‘Pros Ghana’, and of the climbing varieties, ‘Hunter’. There are so many new varieties coming out every year especially of the round/fat podded and climbing sorts, that the only sensible approach is to read about them in the seed catalogues and choose what you want on the basis of that.

Sowing

Sow fleshy podded varieties from early May. Flat podded and climbing should be sown from late April. Sow dwarf varieties 2in (5cm) deep, 2-3in (5-7.5cm) apart with 18in (45cm) between rows. Sow climbers 2in (5cm) deep, 6in (15cm) apart with 2ft (60cm) between rows. Sow a few seeds at the end of each plot for filling any gaps. All varieties may also be sown in a greenhouse in pots in mid-April for planting out later.

Transplanting

Those raised under glass should be planted out at the above spacings in late May or early June when the risk of frosts is over

Cultivations

Keep weeds down before the complete canopy has formed and smothers them. Never allow the plants to run short of water, especially once the pods are showing. Be ready to protect from frost if the seedlings appear rather too early.

Support climbing varieties with canes as you would runner beans, one cane per seedling soon after they appear or at planting out time.

Pests and diseases

Millepedes may attack the seeds, and slugs or cutworms the seedlings at ground level after emergence. Red spider mite can be troublesome in a hot, dry year

Harvesting

Pick regularly and often as soon as the beans start to become ready; if left, they will only spoil. They freeze well, so there’s no need to waste a surplus at any one time.

 

Runner Beans

how to grow runner beans Runner beans are without a doubt the most economical summer vegetable. Using a modern variety and with good growing, they can be cropping from June/July until the frosts come in the autumn.

Soil requirements

The soil should be deeply worked and open to allow the maximum possible root development to sustain cropping over a long period. It should be well supplied with organic matter to increase its water holding capacity and yet maintain good drainage. Many gardeners achieve this by digging out a trench and working garden compost into the bottom before replacing the soil.

Possible yield

A good climbing variety can give up to 40 lb (18kg) per 10ft (3m) of row; a dwarf variety will yield about half that.

Time from Sowing to harvest

Usually 10- 12 weeks.

Varieties

Once again, it is hard to keep up with new varieties that crop up every year but ‘Red Rum’ is consistently good in every respect. For an exhibition variety and for sheer size, Robinsons’ ‘Liberty’ takes a lot of beating. Where there is not enough room for tall varieties, ‘Hammonds Dwarf Scarlet’ is the time-honoured bush (non-climbing) variety. However, any variety is worth trying so long as you pinch back the shoots as they start to lengthen.

Sowing

Early sowings can be made in a heated greenhouse in April, but don’t be too early or the plants will be large well before it’s safe to plant them out.

Alternatively, sow outdoors in situ in late April and cover with cloches or a tunnel. Sow 2in (5cm) deep in double rows, seeds 6in (15cm) apart, rows 2ft (60cm) apart. A third way is to sow outdoors in May without any cover, but be ready to protect the seedlings if a frost threatens. Spacing, again, is 2in (5cm) deep in double rows, seeds 6in (15cm) apart, rows 2ft (60cm) apart.

Because runners grown from this early Sowing under cover will finish cropping in the early autumn, a useful trick is to make another Sowing in July in situ (where they are to grow and crop). With a bit of luck, this will keep you in beans until the first frosts.

Transplanting

Harden off and plant outside those raised under heat when all risk of frost is over during May or early June.

Cultivations

A 7ft (2m) cane should be pushed in by the side of each seedling on emergence or after planting so that it has something to climb up and so that roots won’t be broken later. Tie the cane tops together to a longer cane placed lengthways. An alternative is to use 6ft (1.8m) high plastic bean netting strung between stout posts at each end of the rows. Keep the rows weed-free and always give plenty of water once the beans have started to form.

Pollination and fertilisation is helped if the flowers are sprayed every evening with plain water. It must be remembered, though, that runner beans seldom start to set beans until after the longest day so it doesn’t matter how many tricks, etc., you play on them to encourage them to set, they will do it in their own good time, and not before. Once the plants have started cropping, give a top dressing of ‘Growmore’ to keep their strength up.

In these days of smaller gardens, a very good system is to grow climbing runner beans up tripods as long canes erected in the flower beds. If you take advantage of the different coloured flower varieties, a striking effect can be had, as well as, of course, an excellent vegetable.

Pests and diseases

Millipedes may eat the seeds. Blackfly can be a bother late in the summer. Botrytis disease may infect the pods and leaves in a wet summer.

Harvesting

Because runner beans freeze well, they should always be picked when they’re ready. Pick often and regularly before the seeds have started to swell within the pods. This is seen as slight swellings along the length of the pod. Modern stringless varieties stay in good condition far longer than older ones. Given good conditions and care, they should crop for upwards of three months.

 

13. March 2011 by admin
Categories: Organics, Vegetable Gardening | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on How to Grow Beans

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