One of the most popular summer vegetables is the bean… Fresh beans can be eaten in salads and many favorite cooking recipes, while there are also varieties that are planted for dry beans to make our favorite bean soup and giant beans. We usually plant the beans in the spring to have our products in the summer and early fall. And for those who don’t have a garden available, we can plant beans in a pot on the balcony to enjoy a good production. Beans have a high nutritional value, as they are rich in protein, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. Because they are very low in fat, they are recommended in all diets and diet programs. Let’s see what we need to know about growing beans, what varieties we choose, and what care we need to enjoy the most delicious beans from our garden.
What are the best-known varieties of beans?
There are many popular local and traditional bean varieties, low and climbing to choose from. Most growers prefer fresh beans that do not have fiber, as they are more palatable when eaten. It should be noted that the bean varieties for dry beans have a harder shell and a lot of fiber. Well-known varieties of fresh beans are chauli, terli, grapefruit (black eyed peas), measuring beans, red mullet (beads), canaries (yellow beans), bulga zuna, bulna toram (early barley). climbing red mullet, while in some areas we will find other interesting local varieties. The excellent traditional variety of dried beans are the giants of Prespa. It is worth noting that the climbing varieties of beans are much more productive than the low varieties, while at the same time they have a longer production period, although they are more delayed to enter the production than the low ones.
How do we prepare the soil for planting beans?
Beans cultivation needs fertile soil, rich in organic matter and good drainage to have good growth and fruiting. When preparing the soil for cultivation, we first plow the field to make the soil quite fluffy, as it is necessary for the formation of a rich and strong root system of beans. Then, before planting the bean, we incorporate enough compost, digested manure, and organic fertilizer to enrich the soil with organic matter and nutrients.
How are beans planted and at what distances?
It is not usual to make a bed for the beans to transplant them in our garden, as is the case with okra and corn. We prefer to plant the bean with seed directly in the soil. In this way, our beans take root better and have richer growth. Before sowing, we put the beans from the previous night in a damp cloth to hydrate and germinate faster. We plant the beans directly in the soil, at a depth of 4-5 cm, 2-3 bean seeds in each planting position, at distances of 20-40 cm between the plants and 50-80 cm between the planting lines.
How often do you need to water the beans?
Beans are relatively water-demanding and need regular watering to produce good quality. When planting beans, avoid large amounts of water as the bean seed may rot and not germinate. During the flowering and fruiting period of the bean, water adequacy and not excess is required, as excessive watering can cause the flowers to fall and fail to bear fruit. By no means do we want to convey that we recommend for the mother to be inactive, but only for the first time. Usually, we water the beans every two or three days during the spring and every 1-2 days during the summer, so that the soil is kept relatively moist around the root of the bean. We prefer a drip irrigation system to have more effective watering of the beans and to do water saving.
How often do we apply fertilizer to the bean crop?
Bean cultivation has important fertilization needs to ensure good growth and production. In addition to basic fertilization when planting with complete organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, it is important to add organic fertilizer every three weeks, fortified with potassium and magnesium to enhance fruit production. To enhance flowering and fruiting, we can spray with a solution of zinc, while it is important to add additional iron fertilizer to ensure green vegetation and to avoid the appearance of yellowed leaves.
What diseases and which insects affect the cultivation of beans?
Bean cultivation is affected by several diseases and insects. In conditions of high humidity and poor ventilation, the foliage of the bean is affected by fungal diseases such as downy mildew, powdery mildew, botrytis, ascites, and rust. For the ecological protection of the bean from diseases, we spray the foliage of the beans with a solution of wet copper and wet sulfur. The beans are infested with various insects, such as oats that sting the beans and do not allow them to ripen. Also, the insect of the meligra, the powdery mildew, and other insects create honeydew which sticks to the leaves and fruits.
In order to deal with the insects that infect the beans, we use ecological preparations of potassium salts and natural pyrethrin that we procure from agricultural stores. Alternatively, for the preventive protection of beans from insects, spray every 10 days with an improvised recipe that we make by dissolving a tablespoon of grated green soap and a tablespoon of alcohol in a liter of water. And of course, don’t forget the black-tailed deer, the little spider that infects the beans and dries their foliage in the summer. To treat blackheads, spray the leaves of the plants at a temperature below 30 degrees Celsius with wet sulfur to prevent burns.
Does bean cultivation need support?
The basic care of the bean crop is to support the plants. Especially if we plant climbing bean varieties, as soon as the plants grow and grow a little, support is required using crates or rods that we find from the field which we make with the characteristic. Also very useful and functional is the special plastic bean climbing net that is commercially available, which is 2 meters wide and on it, a large area is created on which our beans can climb extremely well. In any case, you need to carefully tie the bean plants with twine, as as they grow and bear fruit there is a risk of falling when they are overloaded with fruit.
When are the beans harvested and how are they stored?
Bean harvesting begins about 2 months after planting and lasts about 2-3 months. It is important to harvest the fruits of fresh beans before they ripen well because as the pods ripen, they harden and fill with fibers that make them unsuitable for cooking. We collect the fresh beans early in the morning and keep them straight in the refrigerator to cook them without losing their freshness at all. Also, if we boil the fresh beans for a minute and then throw them in cold water and then dry them, we can keep them for several months in the refrigerator. Dried bean varieties are harvested later than fresh ones when their pods are dry and the seeds have reached their normal size and have lost their moisture.
And one last secret about growing beans
In the southern regions, we can plant late varieties of fresh beans late in the summer and have a significant harvest in the fall as due to lower temperatures compared to summer, we have reduced infestations by insects and moths.