Green beans are also known as kidney beans and belong to the legume family. They contain a large amount of protein, minerals and fiber. They are known throughout the world and are characterized by having a climbing part. There are many varieties known as low bush or dwarf beans, which have a moderate growth and make them perfect to be able to grow in small spaces, such as in home gardens. To be able to learn how to sow green beans We must first know the requirements and the steps to follow.
Therefore, in this article we are going to dedicate ourselves to telling you how to plant green beans and what they need to maintain themselves.
Green bean requirements
Let’s see what are the main requirements that green beans need for cultivation:
- Climate: The beans will not grow if the temperature is below 10ºC or if the photoperiod (the amount of light it receives in a day) is reduced. They do best in warm and temperate climates. If we plant them in windy areas we will protect them since they are fragile plants and do not support the direct effects of strong winds.
- Substratum: They do not do well in cold and damp soils, but neither do they if they are very dry. They like loose soil, well dug, fresh and rich in humus, but without a trace of fresh organic matter. When choosing the plots we want them to be exposed to the sun so that the ground warms up.
- Nutrients: Beans do not require fertilization because, like other beans, they are capable of fixing nitrogen in the atmosphere thanks to the nitrifying bacteria in the roots. If the soil is very poor, it may be interesting to mix very decomposed organic compost (mulch) with the soil a month before planting.
- Irrigation: Green beans need soil that does not dry out, as they cannot tolerate a lack of water. It is best not to water too much during the first bloom, as this can cause the flowers to fall off. They are very susceptible to lack of moisture, but excess water can lead to loss of harvest. The optimal relative humidity for the first stage of cultivation is 60%, followed by 65% to 75%. When watering, the most important thing is to avoid stagnant water. So the ideal is drip irrigation.
How to sow green beans
Once we know what the main requirements to take into account are, we are going to learn how to plant green beans. Beans are the same as other legumes and it is recommended to sow them directly because they do not support transplantation well. Sowing is done when the soil temperature is above 8-10 ° C, so in cold climates we will wait until early May to sow, while in temperate regions we will be able to sow in March.
- Low branch beans: They are usually sown in rows or rows of 40-50 cm, place 4 to 5 seeds and bury them in continuous holes 30 to 40 cm apart for about 2 or 3 cm.
- Enrame beans: They need 60 to 75 cm of space between lines or furrows to promote their growth and maintain adequate ventilation. Regarding the number of seeds and their distribution, it coincides with the bush bean.
Green beans are fragile plants, so organic mulch should be used to control weeds and keep the soil moist and ventilated. As we have discussed previously, bush beans do not need stakes, but black beans do because they grow by wrapping themselves in rigid elements. For this we will place some rods or stakes of about 2 or 2,5m so that they are on top. The most common structure to place the stakes is a pyramid, for this we will connect two rows of reeds, we will incline them and we will tie them in the center.
One of the important things to learn how to plant green beans is the associations that can be made between other crops. Let’s see what the main associations are:
The most famous combination is the so-called pre-Columbian association, where corn, beans and squash are added. Corn is the guardian of the squash and it fixes nitrogen. The pumpkin occupies the space between the corn plants. In addition, they combine perfectly with carrot, cabbage, cucumber, strawberry, parsley, potato and tomato plants. But they are not suitable for garlic, onions, fennel or leeks.
As for crop rotation, they are not very demanding on plants, and even so, to avoid diseases or parasites, it is better to leave two or three years apart before growing in the same space.
Plagues and diseases
One of the things to keep in mind when learning how to grow green beans is the possible pests and diseases that can affect crops. Let’s see which are the main ones:
- Green and black aphid: If the plant is attacked in time, it is enough to uproot it. If the problem is widespread, it is recommended to use potassium soap with neem oil.
- Spider mites and other mites: They attack if there is a lack of irrigation, so we keep the soil moisture, even mulch is advisable. For normal outbreaks we apply potassium soap and neem oil, in addition the garlic extract helps us prevent it.
- Anthracnose: this is a disease that develops dark spots on the leaves and pods if the weather is very humid. Therefore, if the weather is very humid, we will try not to touch or harvest. We can spray horsetail if we are growing them in humid areas. If the attack is generalized, we will choose to uproot and burn the affected plants.
- Powdery mildew: This is a fungus that generally occurs when humidity and heat are high. To avoid this, we will use horsetail and try to ensure that the plant has good ventilation. If the disease is more frequent, we will use Bacillus thuringiensis for fumigation.
Harvesting the beans
After sowing it takes about two or three months to harvest, if what we are going to get is dry beans, we are going to wait four months for it to be ripe and dry.
It is advisable to collect the pods as they are formed, do not leave them in the bushes for long periods of time as they will become stringy and grain will form quickly. The plants are fragile, so we try not to damage the young shoots, pods and flowers during harvest. To maintain good production, extensive watering after harvest is recommended.
For the dry bean harvest, we can pick one of the bushes that we see ripe beans, or let all the pods ripen and collect the plantslet them dry in the sun for a week, and then shake the bushes to dry. The pods are crushed and the seeds are free.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about how to plant green beans.