SELECTED VEGETABLE CROPS [continued]
Ch. 10, pp. 76 - 81
Crops: intro |
asparagus | beans |
brussels sprouts |
sweet corn |
herbs | herb
||Well-drained, deep sandy loam.
||5.8 to 7.0
||Warm (65 to 80° F), except fava beans
-- cool (60 to 65° F).
||Seed after danger of frost is past;
inoculating seeds with nitrogen- fixing bacteria may increase
yields on land newly planted with beans.
||2 inches by 24 to 30 inches for bush snap
beans; 4 inches by 18 to 30 inches for bush lima beans; 4 to 8
inches by 24 to 36 inches for pole beans.
||Tender annual, except fava -- semi-hardy
||Beans are light feeders. Since beans are
legumes they will fix nitrogen once a good root system is
established; inoculation will speed the process. Excess
nitrogen will delay flowering, so sidedress only after heavy
bloom and set of pods, using l 1/2 ounces or 3 tablespoons of
10-10-10 per 10-foot row.
Snap beans grown for the pod are the most common. Some beans like
limas, soybeans, and dried beans are grown primarily for the seed
itself and not the pod. The bush snap bean is the most popular
because of its early maturity and because trellising is not
required. Varieties include standard green, yellow wax, and
purple-pod types, giving the gardener a larger choice than is
generally available in supermarkets. Though wax beans are yellow
and waxy in appearance, their flavor is only subtly different from
that of regular green snap beans. The purple pod beans are
different in appearance while growing, but the pods turn green
when cooked. Flat-pod green snap beans are somewhat different in
flavor and texture than the round-pod ones, and are preferred by
many gardeners. These are available in both bush and pole types.
First plantings of bush beans should be made after
danger of frost is past in the spring and soil is warmed, since
seed planted in cold soils germinate slowly and are susceptible to
rotting. Also, seedling growth may be slow in cool temperatures.
Plant several crops of bush beans 2 to 3 weeks apart, until 8
weeks before first expected frost for a continuous harvest. Snap
beans should be kept picked to keep plants producing heavily.
Half-runner beans have a growth habit between
that of bush and pole beans, producing beans usually used as snap
beans. Though they have runners about 3 feet long, half-runners
are generally grown like bush beans. Trellising, however, may
increase production of these already heavy yielders.
Pole type beans come in many varieties,
generally bearing over a longer period than bush types. They
require trellising, and for that reason generally yield more in
the same amount of space. Pole beans are natural climbers but will
not interweave themselves through horizontal wires. A tripod
support can be made with three wooden poles or large branches that
are lashed together at the top. Five to 6 seeds are planted in a
circle 6 to 8 inches from each pole. Many types of homemade
trellises work well as long as they provide the needed support.
Trellises should be 6 to 8 feet tall and sturdy enough to
withstand strong winds and rain.
Interplanting pole beans with corn is often
recommended, but practices vary. Beans should be planted late
enough to allow some growth and development of the corn first.
Scarlet runner beans are a type of pole bean which is quite
ornamental as well as productive and delicious. The vines grow
rapidly, producing beautiful red flowers and beans, which may be
harvested as snap beans when young and as green shell beans later.
Beans are ready to pick in 75 to 85 days and several pounds are
produced per plant. The value of scarlet runner beans is mainly
ornamental though - the lush 6 to 15 foot vines can be used to
cover arbors, trellises or fences. An added feature is that the
flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. According to some
catalogs, the scarlet runner bean grows best in cooler weather
than standard beans prefer; in some very hot areas the vines may
not keep producing all summer, as they will in cooler regions.
Keeping maturing beans picked off will prolong the life of the
Lima beans are available in bush or pole types.
Bush limas mature about 10 to 15 days earlier than pole limas.
Pole type limas have better yields and produce longer than the
bush forms. Soil temperature must be 65° F for 5 days in
order for the beans to germinate well. Because the large seeds
store considerable amounts of carbohydrates, limas are quite
susceptible to soil fungi and bacteria, which find these foods as
nutritious as we do. So, the sooner the seedling can start using
the stored food, the better. Pregermination or starting indoors
helps if care is taken not to damage the shoots when planting and
if soil remains moist for several days; seed treated with
anti-fungal agents also have improved germination rates. Soil
should be kept moist (but not soaking wet) until the seedlings
come through the ground; do not allow a crust to form on the soil
since the seedlings will have trouble pushing through. Prevent
crusting and conserve moisture by spreading 1/4 inch of sand,
sawdust, or a light mulch over the seeded row. A cold, wet spell
can cause lima flowers to drop, as can excessively hot and dry
periods, reducing yields. Baby limas or butter beans are less
susceptible to blossom drop problems.
Southern peas are not actually beans or peas,
but are in separate genus. However, they are used in the same
ways. There are three commonly grown types, black-eyed pea, cream
pea, and crowder pea. They are available in both pole and bush
forms. Southern peas may be harvested in the green shell or in the
dried pea stage.
The yard-long or asparagus bean is related to
black-eyed peas and has similar flavor, but the entire pod may be
eaten. On trellised vines, pods may be produced which are l 1/2 to
2 feet long. Yard-long is stretching it a bit. Asparagus beans
need warm temperatures and a long growing season to do well. Look
for the seeds in novelty, gourmet, Oriental, or children's
sections of seed catalogs.
Soybeans are increasing in popularity because
of their high nutritional value and their versatility. Catalogs
often list them as edible soybeans; all soybeans are actually
edible, but those in garden catalogs have been bred to do well
under ordinary garden conditions, requiring a shorter season and
not growing as tall as the field types. There is also a difference
in flavor and texture, as there is between sweet and field corn.
Soybeans are less sensitive to frost and may have fewer problems
with Mexican bean beetles than standard beans. Soybeans are quite
delicious when harvested as green shell beans, but may also be
allowed to dry on the vine. The pods of soybeans are quite
difficult to open; cook for a few minutes to soften the pod before
removing the beans.
Beans used primarily as dried beans are many
and varied. Many can be used green, but dry well for easy storage.
In the small garden, growing dry beans is somewhat impractical,
since the amount of space required to raise a large enough
quantity for storage is great. Many types of dry beans may be
purchased in supermarkets at a very low cost, so it may be more
worthwhile to grow higher-value crops in the limited space.
However, if you have a very large garden area and a desire to sit
on the front porch rocking away and shelling beans in the fall,
they are worth a try. Some varieties available to gardeners are
either rare or completely unavailable in the supermarket.
A wide selection of dry beans are available to the
garden including the horticultural, or October bean, which is very
widely grown in parts of the United States. The colorful pods and
beans of the October bean make it an attractive addition to the
garden and kitchen. The seeds of pinto beans look similar to those
of the horticultural beans, but are smaller. They are widely used
as brown beans and as refried beans in Mexican dishes. Black beans
or black turtle beans make an unusual, delicious black-colored
soup. They are easy to grow if given plenty of air movement to
prevent disease problems to which they are susceptible. Kidney
beans are the popular chili and baking bean, available in deep red
or white types. Navy pea and Great Northern beans are used in
soups and as baked beans. Cranberry and yellow-eyed beans are
heirloom varieties again gaining favor among gardeners.
Mung beans, native to India, have enjoyed a rise in
popularity because of their use as sprouts in Oriental dishes and
salads, and gardeners now find seeds available for home
production. Mung beans require 90 days of warm weather for good
yield in the garden. Garbanzos, or chickpeas, produce plants which
do not look like other bean plants. Garbanzos are actually neither
true beans nor peas, but are leguminous. The fine-textured foliage
is an attractive addition to the garden. Plant many seeds; the
meaty seeds, like limas, tend to rot if they don't germinate and
grow rapidly. Also, each pod contains only one or two seeds. The
nutty-flavored beans of unusual texture are good roasted, in
salads, and in soups. Garbanzos also require a warm climate and
long (100 day) growing season.
Fava beans, or broad beans, are quite hardy. In cool
climates they are often substituted for limas. Favas are sown
early in spring, and are the exception to the rule, as they do not
grow well in warm weather; in fact, if sown in April they may be
ready as green shell beans in late June or early July. It should
be noted that some people of Mediterranean origin have a genetic
trait which causes a strong allergic reaction to fava beans.
People of this descent should sample the beans in small quantities
||Mosaic -- use resistant varieties;
Anthracnose; Bacterial blight -- use disease - free western -
grown seed; Seed rot -- do not plant in cold moist soils; Root
and stem rots.
||Mexican bean beetles (adult and larvae),
corn earworm, mites.
||Large plants with few beans (excess
nitrogen); blossom drop (excessive heat, dry winds).
HARVESTING AND STORAGE
|Days to Maturity:
||50 to 60 days for snap beans; 85 to 110 days
for pole limas; 65 to 75 days for bush limas; 60 to 110 days
for pole beans.
||Snap beans -- full size pods beans or larger
beans as long as pods are still tender; pods break easily with
a snap when ready, seed should not cause pods to bulge.
Lima/Dry beans -- Seeds will be full sized and pods will be
bright green. End of pod will be spongy. For dry beans (of all
types) pods should remain on bush until dry and brown.
||3 to 5 pounds snap beans, 4 to 6 pounds lima
beans per 10-ft. row.
|Amount to Raise:
||8 pounds of snap beans, 5 to 10 pounds of
lima beans per person.
||Drying, freezing, and canning.