1 My gardener, Wilmer, planted our bean varieties this season. Beans are dependable and easy to cultivate, producing some of the most popular vegetables in the garden.
2 Growing beans during warm, summer months produce rewarding crops - crisp, green pods, protein-rich beans or both, depending on the variety. We planted snap beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, which include both bush and pole beans, as well as dry soup beans.
3 Bean seeds germinate best when planted in soil that's between 60 and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. To plant, Wilmer used a garden fork to loosen the soil before planting seeds about an inch-deep and about three to four inches apart. Each bed has two rows, with a foot of space between them.
4 Pole beans should be about four to six-inches apart. 'Kentucky Wonder' is an heirloom pole bean variety that produces eight-inch long pods on six to eight foot long vines. These beans are usually ready for picking about 65-days after sowing, which is about 10-days earlier than many other pole bean varieties.
5 Filet bush beans are a French variety. They should be planted in loamy, sandy soil in a site with full sun. 'Maxibel Filet' is one of the easiest to grow in the home garden. This vigorous, high yielding, nearly stringless variety produces crisp beans that grow in clumps one to two feet high by about 10-12 inches wide.
6 Soybeans are called edamame in Japanese, and mao duo in Mandarin. The popular 'White Lion' bean grows vigorously and has a very tasty nutty flavor. The pod has white beans, and they take about 70-days to mature. Soybeans are high in protein, calcium and vitamins.
7 This late maturing soybean, the 'Korean Black', has a very sweet flavor. For fresh eating, or for edamame, the immature beans are harvested when they are bright green with purple splotches. The pods can also be left on the bush to mature for dried beans that have a black seed coat with a green interior. They are ready for picking after about 100 to 130-days.
8 These 'Kouri' beans are brown seeded soybeans - pretty uncommon in the United States. They are highly prized in Japan for their flavors - a bit sweeter and more nutty than the traditional green seeded soybeans.
9 The 'Mojo Green' beans are versatile use edamame - suitable for making either milk or tofu, or for eating steamed and lightly salted.
10 Broad bean 'Bunyards Exhibition' produces long pods containing an average of six to eight beans per pod. This variety has excellent flavor and is great for freezing.
11 'Pelandron' beans have a mottled green and purple skin. These beans are particularly tender and fast-cooking.
12 Black and white 'Calypso' beans add a dash of color to the harvest. Each bean has black and white markings with a contrasting dot. They are kidney bean hybrids. Cooked, the 'Calypso' bean has a smooth texture and mild flavor.
13 The 'Kenearly Yellow Eye' bean is excellent for baked bean recipes and hefty winter soups. Developed in Kentville, Nova Scotia, these plants produce white beans with brown eyes. These beans are ready for picking after about 90-days.
14 The 'Painted Pony' bean is a great dual purpose vegetable. It comes in long, thin pods that are stringless and good for snap beans. The dry beans are also excellent for soups and retain their markings when cooked.
15 These organic heirloom beans can be used as snap, shell or dry beans. They have a rich flavor and store very well. Maroon-colored beans are marked with darker red, cranberry flecks. It's usually mature for picking after about 90-days.
16 The 'Purple Teepee' bean is a super-productive bush variety that yields straight purple pods. They should be picked young, when they reach about four to five inches, for flavorful, tender snaps.
17 The 'Dragon's Tongue' bean is an old dual purpose French variety with rich brownish-red beans. The pods are yellow streaked with purple markings. They take about 60-100 days to maturity and grow to about 12 to 18 inches tall. As snap beans, the pods turn all yellow after cooking.
18 The 'Soleil Filet' bush bean has an exquisite flavor. It is slender, sunny yellow in color and at peak, can be up to six-inches long.
19 'Delinel' bush beans produce high yields of seven-inch long green beans - one of the top yielding French filets. These hardy plants are disease resistant and are excellent for canning and freezing.
20 I checked in on our growing crop of beans last week, and they are doing great. And, a tip for extending fresh eating season: plant in succession, meaning sow a few seeds every week for about three weeks, so you get a new crop maturing regularly. For more tips on growing beans, refer to the growing guide on my web site. http://www.marthastewart.com/267078/bean-growing-guide
21 Beans should be picked when they are young and tender. When harvesting, be sure to use two hands to keep from breaking brittle plants. Most bush beans will produce a second or third flush of beans. Pole beans will need external support once they start growing, but when ready to pick, do so at least twice a week to keep the plants productive.
22 Beans benefit from fertile soil with a slightly acid pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Once they are growing, they tend to make most of the nitrogen they need, which they use to nurture their crop of seeds. One of the easiest vegetables to grow, beans continue to be very popular for home gardeners. I hope your garden is growing as well as mine is!