Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekend Gardening: Green Beans

   Second only to tomatoes, green beans are the most common home garden crop. Many wonderful summer afternoons have been spent seated on a porch next to our loved ones snapping beans for an evening meal or a late day canning. Easy to grow and bountiful in their harvest, green snap beans are truly a home garden necessity.
    In my home garden green beans are seeded thickly in raised rows with successive rows planted every two weeks to ensure continuous harvest. Bush varieties, such as Contender and Blue Lake, are direct seeded in the large 'victory garden' near our greenhouse while runner beans, such as Scarlet and Kentucky, trail their vines along the corn stalks. Soaker hoses run along the planting rows while row covers keep moisture at hand and pests at bay.
    Our bush are planted first for early harvests due to their tender nature. Once our southern heat makes an appearance, these plants scorch and slow production while their climbing counterparts kick it in high gear for long summer bounty. Pests are kept a bay with gentle dusting of natural BT or Neem oil sprays..but only if hand picking the critters becomes too overwhelming.

The bare facts:

Bush beans are direct seeded in rows throughout the month of March; runners are direct seeded at the base of a trellis or near corn shoots when they are a foot high.
Common Southern Varieties:
Bush: Blue Lake
Gator Green
Runner: Scarlet runner
Kentucky wonder

     Bountiful harvests of beans can be pressure canned or blanched and frozen for later use. As a home gardener, it's quite satisfying to step into the pantry seeing all those wonderful jars of bright green beans lined up in a row. 
     Are you planting green beans this year? Or maybe wax beans? Share your garden plans with us...let's inspire each other to get out there and grow something wonderful!


Dolly Sarrio said...

Beautiful, I love green beans too! I like that you are so ambitious as to stagger your planting time to have a continuous crop. You are so smart.
We have to change our garden location this year. The nut grass has done a number on our old garden spot. Love this post.

Simply Scaife Family said...

Nut grass is the bane of every gardeners' existence! Good luck.

Willow said...

Love this post too I am real impatient with Winter not giving way to Spring here in New England. This year in these parts snow has taken presidence ~still ~ this too shall pass.

Simply Scaife Family said...

Oh, of luck in New England. I spent a winter in New Jersey..never seen so much snow!