Beans make their own fertilizer. Heirloom, non-GMO beans are a perfect companion crop.
If you grow both green beans and dry beans, you will have food all year. Green beans are a favorite summer vegetable. Dry beans are easy to grow and store, for comforting food all winter.Legumes like beans and peas can take nitrogen from the air and put it
into the soil, where plants can use it as fertilizer. Inoculants make
sure that the right bacteria is there to do this. Regular garden beans like warm soil. Plant when soil has warmed (70 degrees optimum, 60 minimum). Some specialty beans, such as favas, can grow in cool soil. Follow package instructions. Average garden soil is fine, not too acid--pH 6.0 or more.
Pick green beans often. Once pods start to mature, the plant will stop making new ones. Use over-mature green beans as "shelly beans". Take them out of the pod and cook for 1/2 hour with a bit of water, oil, and seasonings.
Dry beans should be allowed to mature on the vine. Cut whole plants when they are perfectly dry (seeds hard when bitten) or when heavy rain threatens, whichever comes first. Hang in a covered place to finish drying, if needed. Dry plants can be piled on a tarp and walked on or beaten with sticks to extract beans, then winnowed. For smaller crops you may want to just pick the dry pods and shell them by rubbing with gloved hands as time permits. Spread on open trays or boxes until totally dry. Once completely dry, it helps to freeze them for a couple of days to kill any pests, then store. Before storage, make sure that beans are so dry that they shatter when hit by a hammer. Moisture will cause mold.
We have many other specialty beans - Fava (Broad Bean), Garbanzo, Moth (Mat Bean, Mother Bean),Lima, Runner, and Soybeans (Edamame).
All types can be used as dry beans, but plant will stop producing if beans mature. Keep picked for continuous pods.
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