Perennial if Cut
SEED SAVING LEVEL:
Because the flowers are largely self-pollinated, bean varieties usually do not cross.
Harvest fresh beans before they become tough and stringy. If you can see the bulge of a developing bean through the green pod, the bean is over-mature and should be shelled (except pole beans). At this stage the pod is too tough to eat. Planting garden beans in two week intervals helps to eliminate having all the beans ready for harvest at the same time.
Fresh pole beans and bush beans can be stored, unwashed in plastic bags in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not wash them before storing. Wet beans will develop black spots and decay quickly. Wash beans just before preparation.
SUGGESTED PLANTING AND HARVEST TIMES FOR THE ABOVE NEIGHBORHOODS
You can assure yourself a continuous supply of beans by planting every 2 to 4 weeks until the month indicated below.
Fertilize when they are 3" tall.
Seeds of most varieties tend to crack and germinate poorly if the soil's moisture content is too high. For this reason, never soak bean seed before planting. Instead water just after planting or plant right before a heavy rain.
Beans have shallow roots and frequent shallow cultivation and hoeing are necessary to control small weeds and grasses. Because bean plants have fairly weak root systems, deep, close cultivation injures the plant roots, delays harvest and reduces yields.
Pick pods regularly when they are plump.
Harvest when the pods are firm, crisp and fully elongated, but before the seed within the pod has developed significantly. Pick beans after the dew is off the plants, and they are thoroughly dry. Picking beans from wet plants can spread bean bacterial blight, a disease that seriously damages the plants. Be careful not to break the stems or branches, which are brittle on most bean varieties. The bean plant continues to form new flowers and produces more beans if pods are continually removed before the seeds mature.
The bean mosaic diseases cause plants to turn a yellowish green and produce few or no pods. The leaves on infected plants are a mottled yellow and are usually irregularly shaped. The only satisfactory control for these diseases is to use mosaic-resistant bean varieties.
Bright yellow or brown spots on the leaves or water-soaked spots on the pods are signs of bacterial bean blight. Bacterial blight is best controlled by planting disease-free seed; avoiding contact with wet bean plants; and removing all bean debris from the garden.
Create a climbing structure for Pole and Runner Beans such as this one:
Beans are low in calories and a good source of fiber and calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A & C.
The nutritional profile of mature dried beans is very different from that of green beans. Green beans are a good source of carbohydrates. They are a moderate source of protein, dietary fiber, Vitamin C and beta carotene. The beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. Green beans also contain small amounts of calcium and other trace nutrients.