How to grow beans

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Beans are some of the easiest vegies to grow, which makes them ideal for beginners and beloved by experienced vegie gardeners.

Best of all, beans get the perfect start if they’re grown from seed, so this provides a great opportunity to teach kids about sowing, germination and how seeds play their vital role as the starting blocks for our food.

Where to sow beans?

Like all vegies, beans need a sunny spot. In fact, dwarf beans can have a peculiar reaction to insufficient sunlight: they can start to turn into climbers. You see, all beans were originally climbers and given half a chance, dwarf beans will head skywards, especially if they don’t think they’re getting enough sunlight.

So sun’s a necessity, as is good drainage. Bean seeds can rot away in the ground if they’re too cold or wet, which means waiting until the soil has lost its chill, watering well, allowing to drain and then sowing the seeds next day while the soil’s still moist. If the soil is heavy or clayey, it can be helpful to add some Yates Gypsum to break it down. Then spread well-drained Thrive Seed Raising Mix, or even some sand, around the seeds at sowing time.

Seeds shouldn’t need to be watered again until after the new shoots appear. At first these will be the thick ‘seed leaves’ but the true leaves will soon emerge and the bean plant will begin to photosynthesise and feed itself.

Fertilising beans

Because they’re members of the legume family, beans can make use of nitrogen in their surrounding atmosphere, so it’s important not to be too generous with fertiliser. A balanced plant food like Thrive All Purpose Granular can be sprinkled beside the planting rows, or the growing plants can be fed with a high potash liquid plant food like Thrive Flower & Fruit.

Which bean?

Yates seed list includes a wide selection of varieties. Brown Beauty and Hawkesbury Wonder are hardy, traditional beans that will need to have their strings removed unless they’re picked very young.

Pioneer, Snapbean and Gourmet’s Delight are sweet, stringless varieties. Bountiful Butter has a similar tender texture but the pods have a rich yellow colour and ‘buttery’ flavour. Borlotti is another dwarf bean with pink, speckled pods. These can be eaten fresh but the seeds are usually dried and stored for winter use.

Climbing beans (pictured) are great space savers that can be grown against a fence or trellis. Blue Lake is the favourite climbing variety but if you’re looking for something a little different then try Purple King. The purple pods that look so attractive on the vine revert to a mid-green when they’re cooked.

Scarlet Runner and other long-lived beans don’t fruit well in warm climates so are usually only successful in areas with cool summers.


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