Monday, 1 December 2014

How to grow Beans, Beans the musical fruit ....

Hi ya! .... Been picking beans .. say THAT three times really fast *beenpickingbeans,beenpickingbeans,beanpickingbeans*

ok, enough silliness now for some serious info about all things bean ... We had a MASSIVE thunder storm last night  … EEEEKK!!! Scary!  and when I finally removed myself from inside the doona this morning and gingerly ventured outside to check the garden for damage I discovered, to my delight, that the beans plants had started producing  baby beans ... *yay* .... aawww …. so cute! … so green!!
The temptation to pick them now is almost impossible to resist but resist I must because they are not quite ready to be eaten …. A few more days and then into the steamer they will go to become a nice side dish for my tasty dinner. 
Beans are easy to grow and today I will share with you a few tips on how to grow them so YOU TOO can experience the fun of “growing your own food” and eating it (that’s the best part) . The secret to growing any food is to make sure that you get constant growth … too slow and the plants become hard and woody ….  too fast and the plants become sappy  and get attacked by sap suckers and nobody wants that do they!? …  no, no, no, sap suckers are not fun …  neither are unwanted house guests but that’s  a story for another time.
Beans, like all vegetables, need  well fertilised soil to grow in (mulch isn't a fertiliser). In our garden we use lots of animal manures such as cow / sheep or goat poo plus chicken manure from the hen house which we put on the beds during winter when the beds are empty.
If you don't have access to animal manure (use grass-fed if possible) then you can always use what's known as a "Complete Fertiliser" from the shops. There is a VERY IMPORTANT reason why I say "Complete Fertiliser" .... it gives the plants the nutrients they need without "locking up" the soil. "Nutrient Lock Up" is not good for plant or the soil. This is a link to some great info about soils etc if any of you want to know more .... Soil Quality Fact Sheet
The beans I've got growing at the moment are a variety of Dwarf Bean called "Tendergreen". I've not grown this variety before so will be interesting to see how they taste.
When to grow: Spring and Summer (Can be grown all year round in warmer climates)
Harvest: 8 to 10 weeks
Plant: after all chance of frost has passed. Water well during dry periods
Position: Full sun
Storage: Wash, drain and store in vented plastic bag in fridge. Use fresh soon after harvest or blanche & freeze if wanting to keep for longer periods of time.
Cook: Steam or boil. May be lightly tossed in butter to glaze. Do not over cook.
No support is necessary as they are a dwarf variety of bean and are able to stand up on their own unlike climbing beans which need a trellis or fence to grow upon.
Companion Planting: Beans Like Carrots, Cucumbers, Cabbages, Lettuce, Peas, Parsley, Cauliflower, and Spinach ... Beans Dislike: Onions, Garlic, and Fennel.
** Personally I don't do "Companion Planting" as I prefer each plant to have the necessary space to do its own thing .... One year I grew carrots, onions and lettuce all together in the same bed because I was told they were "good companions" .... it was nothing but a pain in the bum because when it came time to harvest the carrots I was inadvertently removing some onions at the same time which weren't ready and so I got the shites about it ..... I don't grow like that anymore .... it frustrated me so much that now I grow my onions in one bed and my carrots in another with out any problems  **
You can plant beans either directly into the beds or you can start them off in dunny rolls or small containers and wait for them to sprout and then transplant as seedlings into the garden. I always start my beans of in dunny rolls and then transplant later but that's because I live in a cold climate and so try to extend the growing season by starting the seed early and letting them sit out on the veranda in a warm spot for about a month.  

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