Don’t Forget the Beans!

    • Impatiens come in a wide variety of colors. Mix them or make mass plantings of different colors for bold statements in shady borders.
    • Cage or stake tomatoes while still small so that you can train them as they grow.
    • Asparagus plants should be fed with good, rich compost when you have finished cutting spears. Keep the bed mulched and weed-free all summer, and the soil moist.
    • Ladybugs are a big help with aphids in your greenhouse or garden. Release at dusk in problem areas.
    • Earwigs are out and about and hungry. Control them with the new “Sluggo Plus”, or diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the plants, or go out after dark with a flashlight and a spray bottle of Safer’s Insecticidal Soap. One squirt will put an end to the spoiler.

Don’t Forget the Beans!

Green beans are a dependable vegetable that should be part of every garden. They are very productive even in poor soil and are ready for the table in 7-8 weeks. You can expect about 15 pounds of beans from a single 30 foot row of bush beans.

Your choice of bush or pole beans and how many to plant depends on the size of your family and whether you intend to preserve or freeze the beans or just eat them fresh.

Bush beans take up more space but require less work planting, staking, weeding and watering. They produce most of the crop all at once, which is great for freezing.

Pole beans are space savers and you don’t have to bend over to harvest them. They mature later than bush beans and bear small amounts each day but will keep producing all summer long if you keep the mature beans picked. Pole beans are best for those interested in having a pot of beans on the table every 3 or 4 days rather than those interested in preserving their beans.

Pole beans, of course, require something to climb on. You can plant the seed in rows 3 to 4 feet apart, thinning the plants to 6-inches apart. Then put up a trellis for them to climb on.

Another method is to take three six foot long wooden poles (don’t use metal) and place them in a tee-pee arrangement, tying them together at the top. Plant 3 seeds around the base of each pole. You can put two of them in a six foot plot which will produce enough beans for a family of four.

To plant seed directly in the garden, prepare the soil by adding compost or well-aged manure as soon as you can work the soil. Beans love the sun so be sure to plant your beans in a spot that gets at least 6-8 hours of direct sun each day.

As the beans send out long shoots, train them to climb the poles or trellis if they do not do it own their own. Keep them watered but not soaked and fertilize when the plants start climbing the poles.

For bush beans, plant the seed about 1 to 2 inches apart in the row. The rows should be 2 to 3 feet apart. After the beans are up, thin the plants to 3 to 4 inches apart. If you are growing beans in a new garden spot, it may be worthwhile to purchase a seed inoculant to make sure the symbiotic bacteria are present.

Green beans can actually be green, yellow, or purple-podded, and they come in different shapes: long, short, flat, round, broad. For green bush beans, ‘Bountiful’, ‘Tendergreen’ and ‘Blue Lake’ good varieties to try. For yellow ones, grow ‘Golden Wax’, and for purple-podded beans, a good one is ‘Royal Purple Burgundy’. The purple pods are flavorful, and turn green when cooked.

Pole beans have a more distinct and nuttier taste than bush types. ‘Blue Lake’, ‘Kentucky Wonder’ and ‘Romano Italian’ are the most popular varieties.

Be sure to include this important staple crop in your garden plan and start planting now!

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