Beans are plants that aren’t usually incorporated into the run-of-the-mill garden. However, there are numerous benefits to growing and eating beans. Beans are rich in complex carbs and high in protein, and they offer a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Similar to their veggie friends, beans are rich in antioxidants and contain little to no fat and even have cholesterol-lowering abilities.
Tips on Growing Beans
In addition to the benefits beans provide for your body, they also provide essential nutrients to your soil, increasing the overall health of your garden. If you think growing beans in your garden is too difficult, think again. Below you will find a list of tips to help you grow beans successfully and start enjoying the myriad of benefits from these legumes.
Beans do not grow well as transplants or seedlings and grow best if they are sowed directly into the ground as a seed. Make sure your soil temperature is at least 60 degrees before sowing.
Soak Your Beans
Soak your seeds in room temperature water overnight the night before you plant your seeds. This will help encourage a speedy germination process. The one caveat, however, is if you expect it to rain immediately or shortly after planting your bean seeds; if this is the case, you can skip this step as the rainfall in addition to the soak may cause your seeds to rot.
Rotate With Brassicas
As mentioned, beans are excellent for your soil and this is because they help fix nitrogen in the soil. Many plants use up all or a lot of the nitrogen in the soil, and this nitrogen needs to be replenished. Especially guilty are plants of the Brassicas family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. If possible, plant your beans where you had grown these veggies the previous year.
Careful Companion Planting
Beans are very friendly and get along with almost any garden resident. The only items to avoid planting near your beans are garlic, onions, leek, scallions, and other members of the allium family. These tend to be greedy plants that will inhibit or stunt the growth of your beans. Click here to learn more about companion gardening.
Protect Your Beans
Birds are known for pulling up new bean sprouts. To prevent your fledgling bean sprouts from being uprooted, simply tie a string one or two inches above the row of sprouts; this prevents the birds from being able to rip them up. Once the beans are a few inches tall, the bird threat decreases and you can remove the string.
Know Your Beans
Are the beans you want to plant a bush or pole variety? The package of seeds should tell you, and if not, you can ask a knowledgeable attendant in the garden section. It is important to know which type your beans are because it will affect the way they are grown. Bush beans don’t need a support system and generally stay full and low to the ground.
Pole beans, however, send up vine runners, and therefore need something to climb (thus the giveaway “pole” beans). Once your runners start growing, they need something to grow on, whether it’s a fence, pole, or trellis. After your pole beans are supported, they will grow rapidly, even growing multiple inches overnight.
If you follow these tips, your bean harvest should be plentiful. Beans can easily be canned and stored for future use, so no need to worry if you don’t eat a pound of beans on a regular basis. If you are happy with the beans you have chosen and the success you had, be sure to keep some seeds to plant again next year. Best of luck!