Beans are one of the best home garden vegetables you can grow. There are many different varieties to try and they are relatively easy to grow. With some bean varieties you can even get two crops a year. You can plant one crop in the spring and one in the fall.
Beans are excellent nutritionally and should be a part of everyone's diet. Some beans are grown for their immature pods such as Snap Beans; some are grown specially for immature seeds such as Edema. Further, some beans are grown for their mature seeds for dry beans, such as Navy Beans. Whatever your preference, beans should be a staple plant in your garden.
Beans grow best in full sun and in well--drained, fertile soil. Some beans have trouble growing through soil that has crusted or become hard on top. The best way to deal with that situation is to add some compost to the soil before planting and to make sure you mulch the soil.
This year has been hard on gardeners because of the cold wet spring. If you tried to plant beans early this spring you may have encountered poor germination. Seed rot is likely the cause of poor germination if the soil temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit when the beans are planted. Bean plants are sensitive to frosts too, so plant after the last frost of the season.
Some bean seeds come with a fungicide already applied to the seeds to help avoid seed rot in the spring. If you use untreated seeds it is more critical to wait until the soil is at least 50 degrees to plant.
Most beans except Cowpea, Yard Long and Lima should be planted about 1 inch deep in Putnam County soils. To prevent crusting of the soil you can add peat, vermiculite or compost on top of the planted seeds to help the bean plants emerge stronger.
When you plant Wax, Soy, Cowpea, Horticulture, Dry and Bush Snap beans, plant them about 2-4 inches apart to allow them enough room to grow well. Make sure the rows are also 2-3 feet apart.
Pole beans can be planted in rows or hills, but make sure they are planted 6-10 inches apart and the rows are 3-4 feet apart. Make sure you have very large stakes or trellises for your Pole beans. Pole beans need at least a 6-7 foot tall trellis with a rough surface so the beans can climb up. You may have to train the vine to the trellis in the beginning. You can also stretch rope or wire between two posts for the Pole beans to climb on.
Once the bean vines get to the top of the trellis or stake, it is a good idea to trim the tops off the plants to encourage branching and bean formation.
Your beans will need to have adequate moisture to set flowers and produce good-sized beans or pods. You need to make sure the plants get about 1 inch of water a week.
Without enough water, the plants will not produce flowers and will create malformed bean pods. It is best to water in the morning to allow the plants time to dry out. Watering in the morning will help reduce the possibility of disease and infection.
Sometimes, weeding beans can be a challenge. Bean roots are very shallow so deep hoeing could damage roots, shallow cultivation or hand pulling is best. You can also apply mulch to help keep weeds down, as well as, retain moisture which helps the plants have a good yield.
For more information about growing beans or any vegetable in your garden contact Ann Delchambre 653-8411 or email at email@example.com or facebook: Putnam County Agriculture Extension.
June 28 -- Certified Livestock Producer Program -- Johnson County Library
June 29 -- "Drying Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs" Putnam Co. Library, 7 p.m.
June 30 -- 4-H Electricity Workshop, Extension Office, 1 p.m.
July 1 -- State Fair Cat, Dog, Goat, and/or Rabbit registration due
July 4 -- Independence Day Office closed
July 5 -- Deadline for Animal Pen Forms
July 7 -- Exploring 4-4 Field Day, Fairgrounds, 1-3:30 p.m.
July 10 -- 2011 Putnam County Fair Kick Off, Fairgrounds Community Building, 2-4 p.m.
July 16 -- Putnam County 4-H Queen Contest
July 16 -- Putnam County 4-H Tractor Contest
July 22-30 -- Putnam County Fair