Beans are an increasingly popular plant with gardeners of all stripes. They’re easy to maintain, delicious to eat, and capable of surviving in all kinds of climates and soils. But many gardeners are looking for further information on when exactly they should begin growing beans.
It’s certainly a good question, as the time beans are planted can have a huge impact on how they end up. And there are many factors that must be considered when choosing an optimal planting time. But by following a few simple steps, you can get the most out of your organic heirloom beans.
What Month Do You Plant Beans?
Before deciding when to plant your beans, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the plant, helping you to choose the right variety of beans and take care of them properly. Beans are often underrated, but they’re one of the most versatile and durable plants you can choose to grow as they’re unlikely to be wiped out by a touch of bad weather or the odd bug attack.
They come in plenty of different varieties and can be used in all kinds of healthy and delicious recipes, from soups and salads to pasta and rice dishes. But as much as they share these common characteristics, different types of beans share some key differences, so it’s important to learn as much as possible about the specific variety you’re growing to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The Perfect Time for Growing Beans
While there might be some variation in your exact planting time, depending on your chosen variety, growing method, and several other factors, there’s one rule that must always be adhered to when planting beans: wait until the last spring frost of the year has passed. This should be around late April or early May, depending on your region. Although beans are pretty durable plants, they can be totally wiped out by a frost, leaving all your hard work for nothing.
The time of year in which frost is a danger will vary from region to region, but beans ought to be planted when the average soil temperature is no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Check a local forecast for difficulties. To improve early growing conditions, you can cover your plot of land with plastic or tarpaulin a few weeks early. This will warm the soil and create optimal conditions for your beans to get an excellent start on life.
Different Bean Growing Methods – Bush or Pole
Beans can be grown in a variety of different ways, with two core methods forming the bulk of bean growing practices: bush and pole. Bush beans grow naturally from the ground, packing their plants into a compact space. This is the easiest way to grow beans, requiring the least maintenance, so it’s perfect for those with less experience, or limited time to tend their plots.
The pole method sees climbing beans affixed to a pole called a staking or trellis. Pole-grown beans can reach serious heights, between 10 to 15 feet. Although they can be a little more vulnerable to the elements, the rewards are plentiful, with many more beans produced on average. And while the beans on a bush all ripen at once, pole-grown beans provide a consistent bounty over the course of weeks for plenty of picking fun!
Different Stages of Ripeness
Something that’s fun about planting beans is that you get to watch them as they grow. Unlike many root vegetables which grow and develop underground, away from view, bean pods ripen on the bush or pole for all to see. It’s satisfying to get a real-time view of your plants developing, but it’s important to know when beans should be harvested for optimal effect.
Choosing the level of ripeness best suited to harvesting your beans is more of an art than a science. Different varieties suit different levels of ripeness, and the taste and texture of the beans changes subtly with every passing day. Be sure to research the variety you’re growing and pay close attention to the texture and colors of the pods. You could even experiment with different plants, harvesting them at slightly different times to see what you like best.
A Little Help
Beans don’t need a whole lot of help to get them growing optimally, but you can give a couple of healthy organic boosts to ensure you get an optimal harvest. Beans are thirsty plants, and they love to guzzle down water throughout the growing process, so it’s important to ensure consistent irrigation. When planting, cover the seeds in a little aged, organic compost to prevent soil crusting, which should be enough to see them thrive.
Plants should receive around 2.5cm of water each day. Be sure to monitor weather conditions, as you don’t want to overwater your plants on a rainy day. It’s always best to water the beans in the morning, allowing the plants to soak in the moisture before the sun is at its hottest and helping them to avoid fungal disease.
What Beans Do For Soil Health
As much as beans are a wonderful plant in their own right, they also play an important role in the long-term productivity of your land. Beans give much-needed nitrogen to the soil, drawing it from the air and pushing it into the earth, making your land more fertile for future vegetables you choose to plant and helping you enjoy years of bountiful harvests. Beans also clear the soil of weeds, ensuring even better growing conditions next spring.
In fact, bean growing has been used as a crucial element of crop rotation for thousands of years. By planting beans on intensively farmed fields, agricultural workers have been able to revitalize the land and ensure consistently good harvests. In fact, beans could be considered an excellent organic way to boost nitrogen levels in the earth. It’s just another great reason to start planting beans on your own land!
Three Sisters Growing Method
If you’re looking for even more ways to promote the health of your soil while growing yummy, nutritious veggies, take a leaf out of the Native Americans’ book and adopt the three sisters growing method. Alongside your beans, choose some sweetcorn and either pumpkins or squash to grow in the same plot. This will allow you to make the most of your parcel of land while imbuing the soil with plenty of valuable nutrients.
These plants work harmoniously together, sharing space and light to make the best use of the land and its resources. Pumpkin vines thrive in the shade of the cornrows, while climbing beans grown with the pole method make use of the space between the other two plants. It’s an ancient method, but it still holds up in the modern day as a natural method of getting the most out of your land.
As long as you keep these key facts in mind and pay close attention to your plants, you’re sure to enjoy a bumper harvest of delicious beans, as well as boost the health of your land. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather and give your plants plenty of love and care and you’ll be well rewarded by the land.