Growing beans and peas from seeds is the first thing we could think of doing in the spring season.
There are a great numbers of beans in the market. We heard often about the old timer board beans, green snap beans, bush beans, Lima beans, mung beans (green beans), Adzuki beans (red beans), Chinese black beans (for soups), and soy beans.
Every gardener is looking forward for new varieties of beans to experience in every possible growing time.
Which kinds of beans you intend to grow and it is for what purpose?
We have been growing a number of organic beans and peas all these years. Those dwarf, diseases resistant and high yielding variety interest us the most. However, the string-less dwarf bush beans, the care free creeping vines sweet peas, snap beans and edible pea pods are our favourites.
In 2009 we had planted six different types of beans:
Butter Beans 'Minidor';
String-less Pea Pods 'Stamkievits';
Bush Beans 'Maxi';
Dwarf Beans 'Miracle'; and
Edible Pea Pods 'Admires'
Butter beans, Minidor (Lage boterboon in Dutch) are dwarf bush beans. They have long pods and beans are yellow in colour.
Seedlings can be done under cold frame or in the greenhouse in early spring.
If you prefer to sow directly in your raised bed vegetable garden, it can be done from mid spring to mid summer.
Growing Pea pods, Stambonen-Stamkievits
String-less pea pods (Stambonen, Stamkievits in Dutch) is an old variety; mostly used as dry beans.
Sow about 4 cm or 1.5 inch deep, direct in the open ground space when the spring frost is over. It should be around mid-spring. Lay seeds 38cm or 15 inches apart in rows and 15cm or 6 inches apart from each other; keep the ground moist during the entire plant growth.
When the pea pods are shown, throw a net over to protect the pea pods from the birds. Harvest when the bean pods are brown in colour.
When harvesting, pull out the whole plant and hang it in a dry and windy place and the peas would dry naturally.
I remembered my grandmother said: those days, when the pea pods are dried, they put them in a jute bag and beat the pods with a stick; the peas would be out of the pods and the dried peas would be able to stay for a long time.
Stamslabonen 'Purple Queen' is an early crop. The pea pods have purple skin outside. However the pea pods flesh are green. When it is cooked, their outer skin would change to dark green colour. We called them as magic beans.
If you have quite a bit of space, you may plant direct in the open ground garden when the ground is warm. It can be during mid-spring to early summer. Set the pea plant about 50cm or 20 inches in rows and 10cm (about 4 inches) apart from each other.
This purple skin beans love a warm place and a moist ground in your garden. Seedlings just like the others, can be done in early spring. Transplant to open ground raised bed in mid-spring. Harvest from early summer to late summer.
After harvest you may store all your sweet beans in the freezer, if you prefer.
EKO Bush bean 'Maxi' is a dwarf bush bean. Harvest in summer.
Dwarf beans, Miracle (Chinese boontjes in Dutch) are bush beans. They are high yielding variety. The beans are suitable for deep freeze.
Sowing in early spring under cold frame or in the greenhouse, and plant out when the ground is warm. Sowing in rows of 40 to 45cm (about 16 to 18 inches) apart and 7 to 10cm (3 to 4 inches) from each other. Harvest within 3 months from the date of sowing.
Dwarf beans, Miracle do best in a sunny place. The bean seeds would be sprouted in 14 days from seedlings.
Edible pea pods (Stamsnijbonen, Admires in Dutch) are string-less early crops high yielding variety; they do best with temperature at 20°C; and they can be grown in any type of soil.
Sow seed 1.5 inch or 4cm deep. Direct seedlings can be done from mid-spring to early summer. Sow 4 inches (10cm) apart and 50cm or 20 inches in rows.
Harvest in summer. Harvest when the pea pods are young. The pods are in light green, thick and fleshy.
If you have limited gardening space, you can consider to grow the bean pods in containers. I had one outside of our green house.
Growing bean plants and pea plants in your natural garden is totally amazing! Imagine... with such a small gardening space you can enjoy supper sweet and fresh harvests from many varieties of beans and pea pods everyday.
We discovered that, after a few days of light rain falls, the bean plants grew supper fast. We provided the most important plant foods, fresh air, sunlight and rain water from the nature. The rest are taken care by the plant itself.
Start growing beans project to invite more legumes in your small garden today; to help fertilising; and to maintain our natural earth?