Beans are easy to grow, rich in vitamins and really tasty (especially when eaten fresh from the vine).
Beans are great at fixing nitrogen in the soil from the atmosphere (with the assistance of bacteria in the soil). Once you’ve harvested your cool climate crops (such as broccoli), plant your beans in the same soil. I normally plant my beans directly from seed anywhere between September and January when the soil is warmer.
Beans will crop to about two metres in height (with the exception of dwarf and ‘bush beans’) so they’ll need to be supported on a tee-pee / tripod or trellis. Beans are a climbing plant, so they’re great if space is an issue.
Beans like a full sun position but will need to be sheltered on those really hot Perth summer days or when there’s hot winds.
Beans are legumes and like deep, rich, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. They don’t like really sandy soils. Mulch is great but keep it away from the stem of the plant to help minimise disease.
To try and increase the yield rate, I apply a liquid seaweed mix when the beans are flowering. I don’t really fertilise my beans as they don’t seem to need it. I don’t apply anything with high nitrogen levels as this can harm those bacteria in the soil that are vital to helping the beans fix their own nitrogen.
Beans don’t need a large amount of water (over-watering can cause issues). So too can humidity caused by water on the foliage and poor air circulation around the plant.
It usually takes around thirteen weeks before you can harvest your crop. The flowering rate should be increased (resulting in more beans) if you stagger the picking.
Beans taste best when picked young and tender but I like to leave some on the vine to dry out. I use these seeds to plant the next crop in summer.