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Tuesday September 27, 2011
Post Title: How to grow bush beans and climbing beans  

Bush beans and climbing beans are wonderful additions to the yearly cycle of planting in an organic vegetable. They are one of the most productive crops you can grow for the space used and the flavour of sweet bush beans and climbing beans are sensational.

My blog describes some of the key things you need to know for growing your own great tasting beans. Also have a look at my movie on growing bush and climbing beans to accompany this blog. It is set in my back vegetable garden bed which has two rows of beans underway, one for bush beans and the other for climbing beans. Although the plants are quite young in both beds, we are harvesting from them daily. You can do the same.

A bush bean is a plant which grows in a small bush, no greater than 70cm high. The bush is usually quite round in shape and very compact. Climbing beans will run along the ground, but are best directed to a climbing frame as they shoot out tendrils (runners) as they grow, which grip onto climbing frames. Climbing beans allow you to use the air for growing space, so they greatly increase your food production from the garden bed space you have.

There are a large number of varieties of bush and climbing beans. We have many listed in our Gardener subscriber web site and you will also find different varieties in your organic seed seller catalogues. I suggest experimenting with different varieties for a few years until you find the ones you like the best and thrive in your garden.

The first thing to consider is planting at the right time of the year for your climate to get the best crop. Beans are sensitive to temperatures like most vegetables. If you plant too early when its a bit cool, they will grow very slowly and struggle to fruit. If you plant too late and its too hot, they will get burnt before having the chance to establish their root system and most likely die or be consumed by insects.

Whereas, if you plant at the right time, they will grow very fast and you will have a crop in no time. To extend your cropping time, its important to work with the ideal months to plant. Our Gardener subscriber planting calendar uniquely does this for you no matter where you live in Australia, NZ or the USA. Stage your planting with multiple crops during ideal growing periods to extend your harvest times. By doing this, we can harvest beans from our garden for about 5 months.

Always use organically certified seeds to ensure you give the plants the best start. The seedlings should come up in about 5-10 days depending on temperatures. I suggest you also save seeds. Both the bush and climbing bean crops you see in the movie are from seeds we saved from last years crop.

You can plant your beans directly into your garden beds if you have good compost to get them underway and you know the local animals are not too familiar with your vegie patch. Otherwise start them in trays and plant they out when they are about 3-5cm high. If you are planting them directly in your garden bed, make sure you have your climbing frames in place before you put the seeds into the ground, that's if you have climbing varieties. I find climbing varieties to be bigger producers than bush varieties. The higher you can make the peas climb and get good sun, the more they will flower and fruit.

Since the beans are grown for their fruiting, its important that you put them in a sunny position in your garden. If its too shady, they will grow but not flower or fruit or be stunted. Take note of the position of the sun during the year when deciding on the position in your garden. We have some detailed instructional material on this in Gardener subscriber kit. You can also help the seed strike rate and health of the beans by planting them on a fruit day according to the planets. You can easily find this out on our Gardener subscriber planting calendar search by day.

More detailed information on soil requirements, cultivating, companion planting, crop rotation and pest and disease management for growing bush and climbing beans is provided in our Gardener subscriber site.

Enjoy your beans!

This post has been translated into Estonian here (http://webhostinggeeks.com/science/blog-latestposts-et

Author Peter Kearney www.cityfoodgrowers.com.au

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Peter Kearney, Cityfood Growers

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