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Growing Great Beans
Beans are another one of my favourite foods, red beans and rice, baked beans or refried beans with eggs for breakfast; it really does not matter, I like beans.
For the home gardener, there are two types of beans that you will want to consider. One is the pole bean. Pole beans will need some kind of support; a support that is strong enough to keep the plants from tumbling to the ground.
The support must bear the full weight of the plants but it has to also withstand the summer winds and storm. You do not want to come out one fine sunny morning and find that last night’s storm knocked your beautiful beans flat.
The other is the bush beans, which are a smaller and more compact plant and will provide a heavy first harvest as well as a lighter second picking before the plants are finished.
When you use bush beans you may be able to plan more than one crop during the season so that a continuous supply of beans is always close to maturing.
Most bush beans are ready to harvest in less than 60 days from planting and there is also less chance that pests and other diseases' will affect them.
I usually go with pole beans if my garden is small and the upright shape is what I need. I have grown both sometimes in the same garden and have no actual preference; it is always a matter of how much land I have available to grow beans.
I have build tripods/teepees from poles to use as supports and if the poles are long enough and put into the ground at least six inches and securely fastened at the top they have withstood some fairly heavy wind storms.
Beans should not be sown until the danger of the last frost has passed; damp and cold soil will cause the bean seed to rot and bye bye bean.
There is a wide variety of beans to choose from and remember when you buy seeds of any kind, beans included, read the seed package and follow the instructions.
Beans are also a great way to introduce children to gardening and the connection between food and the earth.
What you need are a bean seed, a small garden pot (3 inch across) some soil and water. You will also need a palce at hoem to put the pot where it will get 4-6 hours of sunlight.
Fill the pot with soil; make a small hole using the pinky finger about ¼ inches deep, put in the bean cover over, water.
Then place the pot in a sunny spot and watch it grow. Be sure the planter has drainage and be sure to place a saucer or somethign else to catch the excess water.
We have done this exercise with quite a few children over the years and they enjoy the planting and have often told us about their beans and even brought pictures.
This exercise works well with children between the ages of 2 and 4 years old but children up to 7 have participated and had fun.
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