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Beans are easy growing vegetables that self-pollinate and thrive in sunny conditions. Beans grow on vines and need soil that provides drainage. They also require a lot of water to grow. Beans provide an excellent source of nutrition, such as protein and healthy carbs. One serving of beans also provides one-half of your dietary fiber needs for the day. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, beans are ranked number one as a high-antioxidant source.
Choose an area to plant your beans that will get a lot of sunlight and has well drained soil. Soil should be fertile and crumbly. Fertilize the soil with a 5-10-10 fertilizer to ensure the soil is ready for planting. Too much nitrogen in the soil will prevent the bean plants from growing pods. The leaves will be lush and green, but there will be little harvest.
Plant your beans when there is no longer a threat of frost. The plants will not germinate and may even rot if planted in ground that is not above 50 degrees. May is usually a good month to begin planting in the North. Southern states may begin planting as early as April. For a summer-long harvest, plant your beans in several intervals until the middle of the summer.
Plant your beans one inch deep in heavy soil. Cowpea, yardlong and limas should be planted in one-half inch of soil. Distance between beans varies from two to ten inches, with rows being two to feet feet apart. Check the instructions on your seed to ensure proper distance between plants.
Stake your pole beans or string wire between plants to allow them to climb. Pole bean plants can reach heights of up to six or seven feet tall. Provide a rough surface for the beans to climb. You can use plant stakes that are shaped like tripods to help train the plants to grow upward. Having the plants growing upward makes it easier to harvest the beans and also helps to prevent rot by keeping the plants off the ground.
Provide your plants with plenty of water while they are growing. Beans will be ready to pick when they break apart when bent. Pick your beans from the plant by using one hand to hold the bean and the other hand to hold the plant. Vines can completely pull out of the ground if you do not hold the plant. After you have picked your beans, they will be good in the refrigerator for a few days, or you can freeze or can them for long-term storage.