Bush Bean

How To Grow Bush Beans:

The bean originated in Mexico and areas of Central and South America. It  was one of the many, new vegetables discovered and brought back to  Europe after the Spanish’s conquest of America. Naturally, the bean is a  vine and Native American’s were known to grown them up the stalks of  corn. Later, the bean was bred as a low-growing, high-yielding bush. The  Bush Bean makes a nice addition to a smaller garden because they take up  such a small area, and produce so well.

Because they are so high in protein and other vitamins, they make a great  staple food especially for vegetarians. They can be eaten green, with the  ends snapped off in a stir-fry, or you can let them dry on the vine.

Beans are the second most popular vegetable grown in the home garden,  after tomatoes. A simple vegetable to grow, it’s an easy choice to start with  when choosing what to plant in your garden. The soil requirements are low  for the bean, but as always you will get a better yield if you prepare the soil  with compost before planting.

Planting and Growing Bush Beans:

Bush Bean Growing GuideIt is well worth the wait to plant the seeds directly in the ground when the  soil temperature is 60-65 degrees F (16-18 degrees C). They will produce  higher yields and be less susceptible to disease. Also, the soil should be  moist but not wet, or the beans will rot before they have a chance to grow.  Wait for soils saturated by winter melt and spring storms to dry.

In cooler or dryer climates, beans can be sprouted before sowing outside.  Sprouting gives the beans a head start and allows you to determine which  plants will be the strongest and healthiest. About five days before the soil is  ready for planting (typically two weeks after last frost), place a damp paper  towel on a cookie sheet and spread beans so they are not touching one  another. Then cover them with another damp paper towel and set on a  kitchen counter. Spray them with water every day to keep the paper towels  moist. When sprouts and a single root appear, they are ready to sow  outdoors.

After planting, beans only need enough water to keep the soil moist. Once  flowering begins, slowly increase watering until fruits begin to appear.  Check the soil and plants often for signs of stress, pests or disease.

Bush Beans grow under a canopy of large, healthy leaves. When the bushes  begin to set fruit, check them at least every other day. Lift the leaves and be  thorough in your search for ripened fruit. The fruit is typically the same  color as the leaves, so they can hide easily.

Harvesting and Preserving Bush Beans:

Beans can be picked at any time during the growing process; however,  picking them when they are small will result in a sweeter taste a smoother  texture. If they start to bulge with beans, you have waited too long, and  they will be tough and stringy. Also, frequent picking will stimulate the  bush to produce new flowers and you will harvest a larger crop.

When picking the beans from the plant, hold the stem with one hand and  pull the bean with the other. Beans tend to hold tightly to their stem and if  pulled one-handed you may damage or uproot the plant.

Many times, beans are grown dry and store for use later. If this is your  goal, wait until the fruit and plant is completely mature and dry. They need  a lot of air circulation to dry, so plant them in slightly wider rows. If rainy  weather is forecast during the drying process, simply pull the whole plant  and hang it by the roots inside your shed, garage, or home. When dried,  shell them and spread the beans on a piece of paper for a few days to finish  the process. Store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use  them.

As mentioned before, fresh beans do not last long. To preserve fresh beans  that will not be eaten within a few days of picking, they can be frozen. First,  wash the beans and cut off both ends of the pod, then pat them dry and  pack in freezer bags with the air pressed out. They will stay good for 6  months this way.

For storage up to 12 months, prepare the pods and pack in boilable bags  with the air pressed out. You can add butter and seasonings, if desired.  Then, blanch the bags in boiling water for 6 minutes for young beans and 8  minutes for older beans. Cool and dry bags before placing them in your  freezer.

It is recommended not to blanch the beans before you place them in the  bags, as it will decrease the quality of the end product. The less water they  have contact with the better the texture and flavor will be; however, it can  be done by washing and trimming the beans then place them in boiling  water 1 lb at a time. Boil them 4 ½ minutes for young beans, and 6  minutes for older beans. Cool the beans in ice water, then drain and pack in  freezer bags with the air pressed out.

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