Beans include many types of snap beans, pole beans, and Southern peas, such as black-eyed types. Plant these in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Because they grow so fast, start beans from seed directly in the garden. To speed their sprouting, soak seeds in water overnight before planting.
Green beans that grow on low, bush type plants tend to concentrate their production into a short time period, so you need to be prepared for three or four good harvests and then pull up the plants. Some gardeners will make several plantings of bush beans spaced two weeks apart to keep the harvest going through summer. On the other hand, pole beans grow on tall vines and need a trellis on which to climb. They will continue producing from spring to frost if harvested frequently. Beans will need harvesting every day or two to be sure beans don’t sit on the vines and ripen. If this happens, they will slow production.
Sometimes beans enter a lull in hot weather. Just be patient. As soon as the nights cool down a little, healthy plants will pick up where they left off.
One of the first vegetables to be planted in spring, peas are cool weather plants that continue bearing until the weather gets too hot in summer. Plant peas in late winter or early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Most English peas, sugar snap peas, and snow peas will need a trellis to support the 4 to 6-foot tall vines. Even dwarf selections only 2 to 3 feet tall tend to fall over, so they also need some kind of support, such as a stick or small stake around which they can wrap.
Because they grow so fast, start peas from seed directly in the garden. Soak them in water overnight before planting to speed germination.
FERTILIZING BEANS AND PEAS
Beans and peas have the unusual talent of being able to gather nitrogen from the air and process it into a usable nutrient with the help of soil-borne bacteria called rhizobia.
But even with the help of rhizobia, modern bean and pea selections are so productive that they cannot “fix” all the nitrogen they need to grow.
Young plants in particular get off to a much faster start if you work some fertilizer into the soil before you plant your seeds. Choose a Vegetable Food that contains timed-release fertilizer to provide supplemental nutrition to your beans and peas from seeding to final harvest. A single application mixed into the soil prior to planting is sufficient in all but the most sandy, infertile soils.
LIGHT Partial shade to full sun
SOIL Well drained
WATER Keep moist; water just before soil becomes dry
HARDINESS See the table below
LIGHT Full sun
SOIL Rich, well drained
WATER Keep moist; water just before the soil becomes dry
HARDINESS See the table below
|4 to 6 inches for bush beans; 6 inches for pole beans||Cannot tolerate frost; warm weather vegetables||To extend the harvest of bush beans, make several small plantings 3 weeks apart.|
|3 inches apart||Seedlings tolerate frost; older plants are less cold hardy||Try different types, including shell peas, snow peas, and snap peas.|