The Bean: Growing beans is easy!

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The Bean

By Sharon
January 16, 2014

If you could grow only one vegetable, one that would provide the most nutrition for you and your family, what would it be?

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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jan 15, 2014 6:13 PM CST
I love to grow beans. They are truly easy to grow and exceptionally easy to start from seed. So many different types. Great to eat fresh from the garden.

Great garden idea to remind us to grow beans, they are not fussy. And Sharon, you always write such excellent articles! Thumbs up I really enjoyed this garden idea.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 15, 2014 6:25 PM CST
Rita, thanks so much. Actually it was you who inspired this article; your wonderful photos of beans and tomatoes always make me hungry! And thanks, too, for providing two of the pictures.
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jan 15, 2014 6:47 PM CST
Thank you Sharon!

Every spring I see bean seedlings for sale at the local nurseries. I am always surprised as to why anyone would buy seedlings. Beans have big seeds and germinate easily and quickly. I advise everyone to start their own bean plants from seeds. But they do need warmth to germinate. Unlike peas which are also ultra easy to grow from seed but sprout in cold ground.

This year I did grow two different varieties of bush beans but mostly I grew pole beans again. I really hate to have to bend and stoop to pick the bush beans. Pole beans are much easier, no great amount of stooping required. And there are all sorts of varieties available.

But I don't eat fresh beans just in the summer. In winter when I don't have my own from the garden, I buy frozen in the supermarket. I used to freeze my own but have not done that in years.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 15, 2014 7:12 PM CST
I have a friend who lives in the next county over, an organic gardener and he grows wonderful beans, several different kinds. So I grow enough to get myself through the summer and buy from him enough to freeze, so I have them all year round. I'm not sure what I'd do without beans.

And pole beans are easier for me too. Plus not so dirty when picking them.
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Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Jan 15, 2014 7:23 PM CST
Great reminder: beans are so good for us!

In areas with mild winters, fava beans are a great cold-weather crop. Sown in the fall, they can grow all winter to produce very early in spring, when not much else is coming out of the garden. They're hardy to about 15F, or -10C, and grew reliably for me as a winter crop in zone 8. They'll even germinate near freezing (most beans need warm soil), so they're forgiving if you put off planting a bit too late in the fall.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jan 15, 2014 7:25 PM CST
No getting fresh beans around here unless I grow my own. Fortunately they are really easy to grow.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jan 15, 2014 7:26 PM CST
bit, bit, too bad it gets too cold around here for me to try that.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 15, 2014 7:29 PM CST
I've never succeeded with winter favas here, Bit. My timing is probably off at one end or the other. Our winters are at best unpredictable here, so it's always hit or miss. Mostly I think it's just too cold for them.
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Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Jan 15, 2014 7:39 PM CST
They grew very slowly for me, to the point I thought they weren't going to produce. But the vines grew, and as soon as it warmed up a tiny bit in spring, the flowers would come out.

You are a bit colder than me, so perhaps their limit is somewhere between us. I wonder if a spring or fall crop could work for you... I've only grown them in winter.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 15, 2014 7:59 PM CST
Might work for a spring crop, but I'm not sure about fall.
I'll do some research and see what I can find. Thanks for mentioning that, Bit. I hadn't even given it a thought.
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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jan 15, 2014 9:03 PM CST
Interesting! I too love to grow beans. I usually grow three colors, green, purple and yellow. Yellows are my favorite. But I grew up with bush beans and pole beans just seem strange to me. But I am trying to change and bought a few different varieties of pole beans this year to try.

And I'm very interested in the favas. I tried to grow them in the spring last year and didn't have any luck. Very few even germinated. I have more I was going to try this spring, but a bit earlier than before. Now, since we are having such a cold winter, I'm guessing I couldn't get away with planting them now but maybe as early as Feb. since that's when most around here put in peas and potatoes?

We are also trying a lot of the dried beans and lentils. And cowpeas. And soybeans for eating green.

It should be an interesting year, if I can stay ahead of the Mexican bean beetle!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 15, 2014 9:21 PM CST
I haven't had any experience with the bean beetle, but then I don't grow a very big crop of beans since it's just me I'm growing for. Plus I usually keep a few herbs growing in planted pots through all my vegetables and seems like that helps to keep most unwanted insects away. Luck with the favas, Arlene. Let me know what happens.
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Jan 16, 2014 4:17 AM CST
Nothing better than fresh picked green beans Hurray!

Great article and info Sharon - thank you Thumbs up
Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
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qwilter
Jan 16, 2014 5:55 AM CST
I could eat green beans every day & not get tired of them. I grew some purple beans this winter. I put them in a pot of soup since I knew DH would not be keen eating a purple bean.
Already have my beans ready for Spring planting. Just need to get the bed & trellis built.
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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jan 16, 2014 6:55 AM CST
If you cook the purple beans before Dh sees them he'll never know the difference! Hilarious!

My first crop of beans is usually good since i keep a row cover on, but by the time I have to uncover and plant a second crop i seem to get tons of bean beetles. I was thinking of putting marigolds in with them this year, or maybe some of that penny royal? @sharon, any recommendations for which herbs to try?

I have Provider beans for early crop but I may pre-sprout some others in soil blocks to get a head start. All depends on how much time I have when the time comes. I always have great plans, just that they don't always happen! Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 16, 2014 10:09 AM CST
Arlene, somewhere I have an article about herbs in the flower garden, I think it's here, I'll see if I can find it because it also works for vegetable gardens. But -- off the top of my head I can think of these:

*All lemon scented plants repel lots of insects

*Castor bean is good for repelling underground things including moles and voles

*Basil deters white flies

*Clovers are great for repelling aphids

*Dill repels just about everything

*fennel - same as dill

*garlic - same thing

*oregano, rosemary, and thyme - same

So that's the short list and most of these, especially things like clover, I keep in pots that are placed around and about in the garden. Sometimes I bury the pots, leaving just the rim above ground. The pots keep them from spreading, particularly things like mint and that's another one that needs to be added to the list.

The size of my vegetable garden is dwindling now, so it's nothing like yours, but what I've listed works for me and though sometimes I have an infestation of something, not often. I hope this helps.

I'll see if I can find that other article, forgot the name of it.
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 16, 2014 10:25 AM CST
Here's the other article, Arlene, nothing really specific in it, though, and it's mostly about flowers.

http://garden.org/ideas/view/Sharon/1129/I-Will-Plant-Veggie...
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jan 16, 2014 11:33 AM CST
I grew green, yellow, purple and yard long beans last year. This year I already have my seeds ready as I have plenty from last season including some varieties I had not gotten around to growing.

My favorites were yard longs and the yellow pole beans that I grew that were called French Gold. I got those French Gold From Rene's Garden Seeds as I have not seen those any place else.
Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
Jan 16, 2014 11:46 AM CST
I love beans, though I haven't tried many varieties. Is there much of a taste difference between purple and green ones?
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jan 16, 2014 11:56 AM CST
Actually the purple beans turn green when cooked and to me the tast isn't a lot different. Though purple beans do remind me more of a grassy taste as opposed to the buttery taste of say, limas. French green beans to me have a slight grassy taste, so that's my comparison. Rita is a great bean grower so she might have a different opinion.
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