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How To Plant Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are a chef’s favorite--they are easy to cook and delicious in stews, soups, salads or as a stand-alone dish. In addition to their flavor, cannellini beans have the added benefit of being a good source of dietary protein and fiber. Cannellini, also known as white kidney beans, are as easy to grow as they are to cook, and the only requirement is a sunny patch of ground. Plant cannellini beans in spring after the last frost.

Choose a sunny spot in your garden to plant the cannellini beans. Hoe weeds and rake out any rocks or soil clumps. Beans are self-fertilizing and need no additional fertilizer other than a cup of compost or rotted manure worked into each 10-foot row. Although beans can be grown in nearly any soil, be sure the planting site is well-drained and that water doesn't puddle.

Hoe shallow rows for the cannellini beans, with each row 2 1/2 feet apart. Plant the cannellini beans in the rows, about 3 inches apart and 1 inch deep in the soil. Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch between the rows to help keep in moisture.

Water the cannellini beans once a week, increasing to twice a week during hot weather. Watering early in the morning is best, because the plants will have an opportunity to dry out, reducing the opportunity to develop mold or mildew.

Harvest the cannellini beans daily as the pods turn pale yellow. Don't wait, because overripe beans will become tough and leathery.

Pull the plants out by the roots when you're ready for the last picking of the season. This will make it easier to access the beans. When you are finished harvesting, toss the vines on the compost heap.

Harvest Cannellini Beans

Monitor the beans and begin harvesting when the plant reaches heights of around 6 inches and the leaves begin to brown and fall off, or 75 days after planting. Grasp the individual dry seed pods from the plant and twist them free before dropping the beans in a bucket. If cold or rainy weather is expected and the seeds haven't reached maturity, pull or cut the entire plant from the ground and hang it upside down until the pods are completely dry. Break open the shells and remove each individual seed. Bring the beans and chaff outdoors on a dry, windy day and pour them from one container to another. The wind blows away the unwanted, lighter material without damaging the beans. Cannellini beans kept in a cool, dry place are viable for up to two years.

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