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Homegrown- Beans for July 9, 2009


by Carol Dunn

HUERFANO- The Huerfano County climate is not well suited to raising lima beans because they need a long season.  Likewise with soybeans, although if you start early enough next year, you can have several good harvests of edamame (baby soybeans in the pod).  However, if you plant right now, you can still harvest bush green beans.  Bush beans mature at 50-55 days.  According to the Green Beans ‘N More web site, some producers report beans grow better when the soil temperature is at least 70 degrees F.  If you want your plants to grow faster, place four water-filled gallon-size milk jugs around each plant.  The jugs heat up during the day and give off the heat at night, hastening the plant’s growth.  This is the same wall-of-water principle used with tomato plants.

    Plant beans in direct sun.  Because of potential virus problems, avoid soils where tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, or cabbage were planted last year.  With their shallow root system, beans prefer a loose, moist soil.  Water regularly, about once a week at the roots.  Do not leave the plants in standing water for prolonged periods or they will rot.  Avoid getting the foliage wet when watering.  Green bean plants benefit greatly from a thick layer of mulch, and the mulch will also keep the beans from getting muddy during our monsoonal rains.  

    For the most tender beans, pick them when they are about five inches long.  If you are careful not to uproot the plant when you are picking, it will continue to bloom and produce.  The more often you pick beans, the more the plants will produce.  

    Common green bean pests include bean beetles and aphids.  Set ladybugs to work to control the aphids.  Hand pick bean beetles and feed to your chickens. 

    Squash are ripening!  Do you have a good zucchini or summer squash recipe?  Please send it in: so we can share in an upcoming issue.

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