Sunday, February 01, 2009

Growing Green Beans

Green Beans are something that always grows well for me every year. I like to pick them young and tender and lightly steam them. I grow enough so I can freeze extras to get us through the winter months. I always can a few for Andy as well – he really likes canned green beans and only tolerates the frozen which is mine and Dan’s preference. Most years I do freeze and can enough extras to last. This year, however, we are out and buying them in the store. I may increase the amount of beans I plant this year.

Most people plant bush beans. I prefer pole beans – I think they work better in my small garden and that I get more out of a small area. You do need something for pole beans to grow on. I have two metal bean towers that I purchase from a seed catalog several years ago. Some people grow sweet corn by their beans and let the bean grow up on the corn (my garden is too small for corn). When I lived in Arizona, I went out in the desert and collected the tall poles from the yucca plants and fashioned them into a teepee in my garden for the beans to grow on. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to find something to support your bean plants. Of course, if you opt to grow bush beans, you don’t need any support at all.

Beans are directed seeded in the garden when all chance of frost is past. If you plant them too early they will rot in the ground. You do not want to plant them in the same spot every year – you need to move them around in your garden as they are more susceptible to disease if planted in the same spot every year.

I like to plant one tower with green beans and the other one with yellow wax beans. I like variety in color in my garden and on my dinner plate.

Once you start getting beans on your plants, you want to keep them picked – that is the secret to getting more – pick them and they will keep producing. You should never pick beans when the plants are wet – doing so can spread disease.

Beans are a good source of complex carbohydrate and fiber. They are also good sources of folic acid and molybdenum as well as phosphorus, iron, protein, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Beans are full of cholesterol lowering fiber. The high fiber content also prevents your blood sugar from rising too quickly after a meal.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I had no clue that beans shouldn't be picked when the plant is wet! Wow! We just reserved a spot at the community gardens again this year. I'm anxious to get started!