Bean Lovers, there is still time to plant beans for a fine fall crop! They grow fast in August heat. Blue Lakes are a standard – fast growers, heavy production, are really crunchy raw, have a classic bean taste! Purple podded pole beans are magic purple beans that kids love, that cook from purple to green! Romanos are a wide Italian bean just as tender as can be. Yellow wax beans brighten your table; skinny French Filets are gourmet! Plant one or two of several kinds! It’s a little late to plant long beans. They take awhile to come in, and awhile to grow long once they start. But they do have their own unique flavor, and the plants are very mildew resistant!
Cages hold up heavily laden bush beans; trellises or tall cages are a must for pole beans. Plant your bean babies far enough apart so the mature plants will have plenty of air circulation. While they are babies, spray/drench them, both under leaves and on top, with powdery mildew preventative mixes. ¼ Cup nonfat powdered milk mixed with 1 Tablespoon baking soda in a gallon of water, teas, 1 aspirin/gallon. Don’t forget to include a few drops of mild liquid soap as a surfactant – makes the mix ‘stick’ to the leaves.
Bush beans come in fast and all at once, great for preserving. Pole beans just keep coming! Pick every day, specially looking under those lower leaves for hiders, before the pod gets bumpy, tough and dry. Save for next year’s bean seeds at the very end of the season, letting the beans dry in their pods, on the vine, packed full with seed nutrition from their plant, just like they would be in nature! If you let some pods grow to seed before that, your plant thinks it did its job, and stops producing.
Pick while small, velvety tender, for great fresh snacks. Cut on the diagonal, steam or stir-fry. Tasty as cooked cold bean salads, mixed with sliced almonds, a finely minced touch of onion, tossed with your favorite dressing – try some tahini!
Thanks to Richard Jung for this luscious bean image!
Next Friday: ‘Perspectives on Plant Diseases, What’s fixable and what’s not‘