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How to Grow Beans

There are many types of beans for the home gardener, both fresh and dried. Fresh beans can be picked throughout the season, giving a steady supply of vegetables for weeks at a time. Dried beans are harvested at the end of the season, and can be stored for months. No matter what kind of bean you grow, the planting methods are the same.

Prepare your soil by digging it to a depth of 1 foot, removing rocks and weeds, after all danger of frost has passed. Mix in fertilizer with the top 4 or 5 inches of the soil and smooth with a rake. If you are growing pole beans instead of bush beans, put stakes, trellises or tomato cages in the ground where your beans will grow.

Plant your bean seeds about 3 inches apart. If you are planting around a stake tepee or tomato cage, plant a group of six seeds inside each one. Plant seeds about 1 1/2 inches deep, and cover carefully with soil. Water thoroughly.

Thin your seedlings when they are about 3 inches tall to one every 6 inches or so, leaving the strongest plants to grow. Water regularly, making sure the soil stays moist for fastest growth.

Harvest your fresh beans when they are solid and smooth. Try to get them before they get lumpy, as this means that the seeds inside are growing larger, and the beans won't be as tender and tasty. Harvest dried beans after the bean casing is dried out and brittle.

Grow Northern White Beans

Loosen soil in your garden to a depth of 6 inches. Use a garden rake for small areas or a rototiller for large areas. Pour about 2 inches of aged compost on the garden soil. Lift and move the garden soil with a hoe to create rows or beds about 3 inches tall. Press the seed into the soil about 1 inch deep with your finger. Continue watering the seeds with about 1 inch of water per week until germination. The tops of the bean plants become dry and start to wilt or loose leaves. Pull each bean pod off the plants when the pods are very dry. Shell the dry beans from the pods. Crush the pests and their eggs or place them in a bucket of soapy water.

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