Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bush Beans

I must admit I told a lie. I am not 3/4's done with the notes for the gardening organization. I got to looking at my material and found there was just too much that I wanted to include so I have bush beans done -maybe - that is unless I find more information I want to add. And I know I will for I will begin to save seed this year for the first time and begin to grow dry bean varieties.

But before I talk about that, take a gander at my chart for beans.

Then tell me if I missed anything.

Bush Beans 40-56 days maturity (except Royal Burgundy Purple - plant 2-3 weeks before last frost)

warm weather
not frost tolerant

Min. Soil Temp
Companion Plant
potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, cabbage, corn
NOT onions, garlic

Nutrient Needs PH acid < =7=> alkaline
Potassium, phosphorus light acid to neutral PH above 6.0
Contributes nitrogen to the soil.

Plant every two weeks until first of July and 1/2 pound seed per 100 feet. Plant in double rows - 1 foot apart - three feet between double rowws. Direct seed 1 - 8 weeks after frost. Make furrows about 1 inch deep. Thin plants to 2" -4" apart when they are 2" - 3" tall. Soak seeds in warm water for a few hours before planting speeds germination.

Seed Saving

Self-pollination takes place before blossoms open. Suspect zinc deficiency if the seeds mature slowly or irregularly. A good healthy supply of zinc in the soil is needed for healthy seed formation. A high PH in the soil does not allow the intake of zinc. Leave the pods on the plant until they're dry and brown and plant is nearly leafless. Seeds usually mature six weeks or so afte the beans were tender and good to eat.

Crop Rotation

Carrots and beets (detrimental crops) > beans > squash >corn

Bush Bean Trial Varieties _____to be filled in

Looking at this I see saving seed will mean that I will be taking my chances since I looked up the average last frost day which is 6/2 and first of the fall being 9/3. That doesn't even give me a window of six weeks for the fresh beans to turn to dry beans. But the first frost is usually light and the beans only get slightly damaged. I will try row covers if there is a chance of a serious frost but I don't have many of those. A few bed sheets will have to do to.

So if June is warm, last year it was cold, then the end of July I might start getting beans which would mean I could get a picking or two before letting them produce beans. Then again, I'm thinking I should pick the beans on the plant that I don't like the shape of etc. and leave the nice ones for seed. Is that the way it's done? I've never really seen a detailed description, just choose the plants you want to save seed from. Those gardening experts have garden space - I don't. Plus, every expert I've read their work on has a growing season. Yes, zone 5 is a growing season when we are 3 to an iffy 4.

Over the mountain from us they get a week to two weeks longer season and that makes a big difference. They grow dried beans in that country commercially. Our area doesn't grow anything but a few oats and I mean a few and grass hay but not much of that.

That could be why most people who see our little garden area can't stop talking about how large it is. It really isn't. Just large for a solid clay soiled area. I've learned you skip the clay soil and grow on top of it. Not completely as that isn't feasible for a serious sized garden area but as much as my back will allow. That means I haul in and shovel lots of sawdust and manure, 20 foot after 20 foot trailer load on a regular basis.

The crop rotation section above still needs some work as I've never done much more rotation than not putting the same crop in the same spot each year. The part above about carrots and beets being detrimental crops means not much does well in the same soil after they've grown in it. The experts say that, not me. And companion planting I'm going to take seriously. I'll have to rely on the advice of others heavily in this area. According to them, beans don't seem to mind the ground carrots and beets grew in.

So if I seem to change my mind a little as I prepare for the coming season, it's because I'm talking out loud trying to figure things out. Join in anytime, it will help make me appear a little less crazy.

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