Introduction to the Bean Family Growing Beans in Your Garden Organically
The moment one talks about beans, one immediately has a mental picture of beans on toast, roasted beans, fried beans, baked beans…. These beans are different from the beans which we are going to grow in our garden. They belong to the Phaseolus family and are also called lentils in many parts of the world. French beans belong to this family.
Also, there are the other beans, which come under the legume beans category. These green beans – legumes- are members of the Bean and Pea family (Leguminoseae). These can easily be grown in your garden to provide your family with lots of good, natural and nutritious food.
Beans have been an integral part of human cuisine for millenniums.
This book is going to tell you how you can grow different varieties of beans in your bean patch. You do not need wide open spaces in order to grow beans; beans can be trained to climb up walls and other surfaces.
So learn how to grow broad beans, Soy beans, Mung beans, Lima beans, and French beans etc., for a start. With a worldwide distribution of these plans extending to 730 genera, there is no place on the earth where some sort of bean in some form or the other has not been eaten by man and his livestock.
For centuries, beans in their dried and lentils form as well as in their green form, as well as their wide-ranging variety in the form of shrubs and trees as well as herbs have been a part of mankind’s cuisine and life.
Beans are nitrogen fixing plants. They are capable of taking the atmospheric nitrogen and fixing it into the soil. That means that if you do not have natural fertilizer, all you have to do is grow bean crops on your land, after a harvest.
This crop can that be plowed right back into the soil as green manure. This is the best way in which you can replenish your soil. Clover and alfalfa also belong to the bean family. They are excellent fodder for livestock.
Beans are self-pollinating crops. Many of the bean varieties are the vine types, except some varieties like French beans, which are shrubs.
Beans are a legume; that is why farmers growing beans have been using just phosphorus and potash in the fertilizer because the beans can get atmospheric nitrogen on their own. However, adding some more of nitrogen in the soil can increase your bean yield.
You are going to need less fertilizer when the beans are grown in rotation with field crops or when you are using organic manure. Pole beans are going to require more nutrition than Bush beans because the growing season is longer and they are going to yield greater yield than most bush varieties.
Why do I not recommend chemical fertilizers? That is because I believe in organic farming. Also, it is unsafe to apply any sort of chemical fertilizer in the soil, where it can come in contact with the seed. Unfortunately, a number of gardeners and farmers do not know about this point and the moment they sow the seeds, they smother the upper layer of the soil with chemical fertilizers, which sink deep in the soil and poison it.
If you really have to fertilize the soil, and you are not using any organic manure, place the fertilizer in bands about 3 inches to the side of the seed and slightly deeper than the seed. The high concentration of the chemicals in the fertilizer when placed in contact with the seed is going to delay germination. They may also kill some of the seedlings.
This low germination is usually going to result in poor results owing to the greater damage from soil insects and disease organisms. This fertilizer injury is going to be more when the soil is dry and is used on light soil. Higher moisture content and heavy soil types are going to reduce the amount of injury.
“Banding” the fertilizer instead of broadcasting it all over the ground is a much better option, because the bean plant is not going to produce a larger group system.
Beans are sensitive to high concentration of aluminum and manganese, and that is what they do not grow very well in very acid soils. If you are growing beans in the soil, where you have also planted potatoes, you are going to find a magnesium deficiency in the soil. This would have to be supplemented with the immediate replacement and replenishment of the nutrients through organic manure.
Do not do any liming to the soil, if the soil reaction is about pH 5.5, unless the soil contains high-level of manganese and aluminum. Beans can be grown in practically any type of soil, from light sands or even heavy clays.
This book has introduced you to a number of beans, which you can grow easily in your garden. Beans are healthy, nutritious and one of the most important parts of our diet, in either a dry form or as green beans.
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