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More About Beans

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The bean in terms of nutritional value belongs to the strategic crops and is one of the top ten most useful vegetables. The amino acid and protein composition of beans is close to the proteins of meat and fish and can replace them in extreme conditions. The proteins of beans are assimilated by the body by 75%, being the building and energetic material for it. One of the few crops that are not used in the raw form, but when hot cooking and canning retains up to 70% of the vitamins and 80% of the minerals that make up the beans. Having such a high nutritional potential, beans are not only used as a food crop but also in official and folk medicine, contributing to curing a large number of diseases.

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Faba bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). © Javier Pelayo

The origin and range of the bean

First mentions of this wonderful crop date back to years before the Common Era. More precise information is attributed to 5000 BC. The place of origin is called South and Central America. In Russia the haricot appeared approximately in the 16th century, first as an ornamental flower crop, and from the 18th century it took its place in the kitchen as a vegetable crop, bringing joy to housewives and cooks in the endless variety of nutritious dishes with wonderful taste.

Briefly on the biology of the bean

The bean (Phaseolus) in the plant system belongs to the legume family (Fabaceae). It contains about 90 species, among which Phaseolus vulgaris (Phaseolus vulgaris) is a type species. Under natural conditions grows in warm zones of Europe and Asia. In the open ground it is cultivated in the southern and adjacent areas of European and warm areas of the Asian part of Russia.

The common kidney bean is an annual herbaceous plant with tap root, height from 0,5 to 3,0 m, bushy or climbing form. Leaves are intensely green, in various shades, trifoliate and long-cellular. The axils of the leaves contain flowers.

The bean flowers are irregularly moth-like, 2-6 in a sparse brush. The color of sepals is white, cream, pink, lilac, purple, violet, which gives the plant a smart appearance and is often used both as a food and decorative crop in country houses and household plots. The bean-like seeds are separated from each other inside by incomplete septa.

The bean pod is straight or curved, 5-20 cm long and 1.0-2.0 cm wide, and contains 3 to 8 bean seeds of various colors and sizes inside. In appearance the bean resembles a boat. In Greek it means "boat, boat". Beans and young bean blades are used as food.

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Green string beans. © jonahtheg

Growing beans

Environmental requirements

The bean belongs to short-day plants with a light period of no more than 12 hours with good light intensity. For a good bean crop you can get information on the length of daylight hours from your nearest weather station or from your local calendar.

In short-day conditions the crop is faster to fructify and produce a high yield. In regions with a long daylight period and suitable climate for beans sow early beans in the second half of summer (July) or artificially shorten lighting by covering beds with opaque cover material after 12 hours, and open them on the second day with sunrise.

It should be noted that beans have a strict requirement for day length only at the beginning of vegetation, later grow and bear fruit normally and in conditions of long light. Some modern bean varieties bred for temperate and northern latitudes by Russian breeders are neutral to the length of daylight and grow and form crops with equal success in short and long light.

Southern planting of beans in the open field77>

The southern crop does not tolerate cold weather, so the sowing is carried out when the soil in the upper 10 cm layer is heated to +12 ... +14 º C and the threat of spring frosts disappears. Roughly, bush beans are sown in the period of mass flowering of chestnut, and climbing - 7-10 days later. In southern conditions beans can be planted as a second crop after harvesting early vegetables.

Usually the beans are planted, depending on the variety, in several stages with an 8-12 day break. This prolongs the harvesting period.

Since light intensity is important for the beans, the planting place is chosen away from tall trees to avoid shade, and without draughts. A gentle breeze won't hurt.

The bean is a self-pollinated crop, so different varieties with different maturity periods can be sown in the same bed. © Susanne Wiik

Predecessors for beans

Like other legumes, beans themselves are good predecessors, especially in depleted soils, saturating them with nitrogen. Beans improve the physical properties of the soil by their deeply penetrating branched root system. Beans are returned to the same place in 4-5 years and are not planted after legumes. The best crops that beans will have next year (predecessors) are carrots, beets, onions, cucumbers, early cabbage, early and medium tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes.

Preparing the soil for beans

For normal development of culture requires neutral soil (pH = 6-7), water permeable, fertile, light in physical composition. Beans do not tolerate prolonged wetting and high nitrogen content in the soil. In the right amounts, beans extract nitrogen from the air. If the soil is clayey, heavy, loosening agents are applied - humus, mature compost, sand, other loosening mulch. Normally 8-12 kg of humus or 4-8 kg of mature compost per sq.m.

For borderline acidity of the soil to deoxidize it since autumn introduces dolomite meal 40-50 g / sq.m. Of mineral fertilizers under the autumn recapping apply ammophoska 30-40 g per square meter. You can use ammophos or kemira in the same doses. Any complex fertilizer, which is marked on the packaging (for autumn or autumn application) is suitable. Beans responds well to alkaline fertilizers, so from the fall you can make 100 g / sq. m. of ash under the recultivation or in spring when preparing the soil for sowing beans.

Sowing beans

The beans retain germination to 700 years (according to literary sources). Homemade or purchased beans will always germinate. If you select full-weight, the sprouts are friendly, and the seedlings are strong and highly viable.

The most common scheme of planting bush beans is a row. The beans are placed at a depth of 5-6 cm every 20-25 cm. Leave 30-40 cm between the rows, depending on the variety. Curly varieties, due to the formation of large above-ground mass, place less often: 3 sometimes 4 holes per meter with a distance between the rows of at least 50 cm. Sprouts appear on the 6th-10th day. In the hole have a few beans and after sprouts leave 2-3 sprouts. Seedlings can be replanted. After planting, seedbeds are compacted and watered. To accelerate the appearance of seedlings planting can be covered with lutrasil or film.

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Green beans pods. © 16:9clue

Care for beans

The beans do not like high humidity, but they need an increased amount of air. Therefore, the soil under the beans must be constantly loose and clean from weeds. The first loosening is carried out when the beans reached 6-7 cm height, the second - at the same time with hilling perform in 12-14 days. The third loosening is carried out before closing the rows.

If the bushes or curly shoots are very overgrown, you can cut out some of the leaves, separate the planting. In some crowded plantings, individual bushes are removed from the bed. This is a peculiarity of beans. It needs enough nitrogen, oxygen, argon, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and other gases for the normal functioning of the roots and leaves to provide nutrition to the forming fruit of this crop.

If bushes are growing fast and branching little, their tops should be pruned. This method will promote branching and therefore increase the yield, and accelerate its maturation. The pruning usually takes 3-5 cm, depending on how fast the bush is growing and how big it is.

Time to water the beans

After sprouting and up to the phase of 4 - 5 leaves, the beans are watered so that the soil was moist. From 4-5 leaves and until the beginning of budding, watering is practically stopped. Approximately 2-3 decades of June, the bean enters the phase of budding. During this period it needs an increased amount of water. Watering is carried out once a week. But if the soil surface is wet, watering is delayed for 1-2 days. During the phase of mass flowering, the watering rate and frequency are increased almost 1.5-2.0 times. As the spathe grows during the transition to maturity, watering is reduced again and gradually stopped. Watering is done with warm, rainfed water. Fluctuations in soil temperature by watering with cold water (from a well, artesian water) negatively affect the formation of yields.

Summer bean feedings

The beans are fed 2-3 times during the growing season. Phosphorus or phosphorus-potassium fertilizer is usually brought on 30 and 15-20 grams / sq. m. respectively

The second - performs in the mass budding period - the beginning of flowering. At this stage, the beans need an increased amount of potassium, the better chloride 15-20 g / sq m, for a faster delivery of nutrients to the plant organs. You can replace potassium fertilizers with wood ashes (a glass per square meter).

The third feeding during fruit ripening is carried out if necessary again with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers at a dose of respectively 25-35 and 15-20 g / sq.m. area. Nitrogen feeding of beans is not allowed. The increased growth of biomass to the detriment of yield formation will begin.

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Bed of beans. © Susanne Wiik

Garter beans

Garter beans are only necessary for curly asparagus varieties. They are used for food at technical ripeness in the form of whole spade beans and at biological ripeness in the form of beans-beans at full maturity. Tender, with a sweetish flavor, they are used in many dishes. They are grown on trellises by stringing rows of wire, thick twine, or a special coarse-meshed netting. Some vegetable growers, in order not to bother with poles, simply hammer in 1.5-2.0 m stakes near the bush or conduct nest planting around a central stake, directing to it by twine curly stems of 3 - 5 bushes.

Protection of beans from diseases

The main diseases of beans are fungal, bacterial rot and viral diseases.


There are no effective drugs to control viral diseases. Diseased plants are destroyed. Virus disease is distinguished by dwarfism, mosaic coloring in the form of blotches in the basic leaf color (mosaic), leaf shriveling, sometimes blistering. Robust and Corbetta varieties are recommended for cultivation in homestead plots and country houses.

White and gray bean rot

White rot affects bean stems and beans. The main signs are the appearance of white fungus, which is accompanied by whitening and softening of diseased tissues. In contrast to white rot, the manifestation of gray rot begins with a grayish plaque that gradually envelops the stems and leaves, causing decay. The ultimate result of the disease is plant death.


Anthracnose is caused by imperfect fungi of various species. The external manifestation begins on the leaves, on which rounded, and on the stems, elongated light brown spots appear. The fruits rot and the seeds in them become carriers of infection.

Root rot

Root rot affects seedlings, in which the tip of the main root withers away, and in adult plants growth stops, leaves turn yellow and fall off. Flowers and ovaries also fall off.


As with other legumes, beans are affected by powdery mildew. On the affected leaves, the fungus mycelium appears as a white powdery coating or resembles tissue sprinkled with flour. Over time, the affected organs, including the stems, turn yellow and wither.

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Faba bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). © Carl Lewis

Fungal disease control measures for beans

The success of fungal disease control depends on the quality of the preventive work involved:

  • with removal of post-harvest residues and haulm on garden beds,
  • sowing healthy, necessarily decontaminated seeds,
  • timely conducting all agronomic practices in caring for the crop,
  • using varieties resistant to rot, including Turchanka, Rant, Triumph sugar 764, Viola and others.

Chemicals are not recommended for planting beans, when growing small amounts in open or closed ground.

If an unforeseen outbreak of the disease has affected a large number of plants at once, copper-containing preparations can be used. Before flowering, spray the bean plants 1-2 times with a 10-day break with 1% Bordeaux liquid. After flowering only late cultivars can be sprayed again if necessary because the waiting period after the treatment with Bordeaux liquid is 25-30 days.

Biofungicides are other preparations that resist fungal diseases well. These biological preparations were developed on the basis of live useful microorganisms. They are harmless to humans, animals, beneficial insects. They must be sprayed on plants systematically in 10-12 days. 1-2 -3 sprays may not be effective, as well as increasing the concentration of the spraying solution. The waiting period for these preparations is 1 to 3 to 5 days. All necessary outputs are spelled out in the recommendations, on the label or other accompanying document.

From biofungicides, biopreparations are recommended:

  • Fitosporin - treat seeds, soil and plants. Treatments begin when plants reach 10-15 cm in height. Repeat in 12-20 days if there was no rainfall.
  • Mikosan is effective in the initial stages of the disease. In later periods it is better to switch to other biopreparations.
  • Gamair, Alirin-B, which successfully protect bean plants from rots, anthracnose, powdery mildew.
  • Baktofit successfully destroys powdery mildew.
  • Trichodermin destroys up to 60 soil fungal pathogens. It is used in the fight against root rot.
  • Aqueous solution of colloidal sulfur is used against powdery mildew and anthracnose.

The article lists the most common diseases and preparations used to protect plants. Almost every year scientists propose new, more effective and less aggressive chemical and biological preparations, the lists of which are published in special journals and on the Internet.

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Phazel (Phaseolus vulgaris). © Scamperdale

Protection of beans against pests

The most common pest of green plants is an aphid, which is also a carrier of fungal diseases, thrips, spider mite, pea moth, and ripe beans are actively devoured by bruhus (pea grain weevil) and pea weevils. Slugs and a number of pests from the polyphagous group also damage beans.

Slugs can be collected and physically destroyed by placing pieces of cardboard, rags, burlap and other waste covering materials between rows. There they hide for the night and from the scorching rays of the sun. You can powder the soil around the plants with lime or ash. This method deters slugs.

Aphid control on beans is carried out with the same preparations as on other crops. Infusions of onion husks, celandine, walnut leaves, tomato leaves, green or laundry soap (not bleaching), tobacco infusion, celandine are used.

Boverin bio-preparation powder is used against thrips; the working solution is prepared and plants are sprayed according to recommendations. Treatments are repeated after 7-10 days at least 3 times. The treatments are most effective when the humidity is high, when the revival and germination of fungal spores is accelerated. If the weather is dry, the plants are watered beforehand.

Trips and mites are efficiently destroyed by kerosene solution (2-5 ml per 10 liters of water). Stir the working solution thoroughly and spray the plants.

For other pests (aphids, spider mite, pea moth, whitefly) use biopreparations Gaupsin, Bicol, Boverin, Verticillin etc. They are effective against thrips, mites, whiteflies. The best is Gaupsin. It is effective against fungal diseases and pests at the same time during the growing season. It can be used practically till the biological ripeness of the crop.

Cereals (bean sprout, pea sprout) damage beans directly. Kernels die at subzero temperatures. To preserve the food product, place the beans in cloth bags soaked in salt water and dried. In the same place you can put a head of garlic. Store until frosts in the refrigerator, and in winter in an unheated room with a negative temperature. Of other ways to preserve the grain can be suggested:

Place the grain in the freezer. At -12 ºC, adult beetles and pest eggs die within an hour.

Stay the grain in the oven at +90 ºC for several minutes. The pests are killed. Further store the grain in glass jars with lapped lids (not plastic) in a cold room.

Harvesting beans

The bean blades for food use are harvested 2 weeks after flowering. Young blades are cut with scissors in the morning every 2-3 days. Store in a refrigerator. Shelf life is not more than 2 weeks. Prepare sauces, soups, meat side dishes and other dishes.

Grain beans are harvested at full biological ripeness. Dry bushes are cut off and the root is left in the soil. As it decomposes, it will enrich the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients.

Cut bean bushes are tied into loose bushes and hung in a draught for drying. After 10-12 days, the grain is hollowed out and preserved by the methods described above.

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Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). © Forest and Kim Starr

Sort of beans for growing in the country house

When growing beans in the open field it is necessary to select varieties so. that they are suitable for the climatic conditions of the area.

The terms of maturity of beans, like other vegetable crops, are divided into early, medium and late. Early varieties of beans form a biological yield within 65-75 days of sprouting, medium - 75-90-100 and late - 100 days or more. In private households, it is best to grow early and medium beans with a growing season of no more than 75 days.

Taste qualities of beans are divided into several groups:

  • grain (husk), for permanent use and canning,
  • spar (sugar), for summer use in fresh form and canning blades,
  • half-sugar.

The peeling varieties have a wax layer on the pods; the sugar varieties (asparagus varieties) do not have one. Many sugar bean varieties also lack the stiff fibers on the wing blades, which makes it especially tender. In semi-sugar varieties, the wax layer is formed late or obviously underdeveloped.

Bearing in mind that the bean is a self-fertile crop, you can plant different varieties of bush and creeping ones nearby.

Cereal varieties of beans

In Siberian regions, the Far East and in the middle belt of Russia, the recommended husking varieties are Skoroshaya, Northern Star, Lastochka.

Sugar varieties are more demanded Green string 517, Triumph sugar 764.

Semi-sugar varieties are Moscow white, Gribovskaya-92.

In the middle belt the grain beans of medium maturity are not grown as it has no time to mature. Only early-ripening and early-ripening varieties are suitable for this region. Only medium-ripening varieties with a short growing season can be used for cultivation.

The recommended peeling varieties are Triumph sugar, Sugar -116, Saksa, Dialog, Svetlyachok, Antoshka, Yubileinaya-287 and others. Young blades and mature grains of biological ripeness are used for food.

The most famous of the climbing varieties and used in decorative and vegetable plantings are Lambada, Winner, Gerda, Golden Nectar, Mavritanka, Turchanka, Fatima and others.

You can grow a good crop of varieties

  • Gribovskaya-92 bush variety, forms a crop of biological ripeness in 90 days.
  • Mistress' Dream, medium maturing with broad yellow bean pods and white grain.
  • Ballada medium maturity. The bean pods are green, and the grain is beige with purple speckles.
  • Rubin medium maturity variety. Interesting cherry-colored grains.

All the early and medium-sized peeling or grain varieties are popular, released under the climatic conditions of the region Varvara, Silver, Shedraya, Svetkaya, Ufimskaya, Fantaziya, Rant, Lastochka and others.

Sugar (vegetable) bean varieties

Sugar (asparagus) bean varieties are also called vegetable. They differ from grain beans in the absence of a parchment layer inside the bean spatula. These varieties are used in food together with a green delicate spatula. It has the property of eliminating excess moisture from the body and is often included in diet menus. Early varieties of this group can be grown in all regions that meet the culture requirements.

Early varieties: Melody, early maturing, curly. Each stem forms up to 9 flat blades. Butter King is an early-ripening delicacy, curly. The blades are yellow. For mushroom lovers, the curly variety Ad Rem can be recommended. Its fruits have a pleasant mushroom flavor, which is preserved and enhanced in hot dishes (soups, sauces).

From other early-ripening vegetable growers enjoy varieties Triumph sugar, Dialogue, Sugar-116, Vestochka.

Average: Zhuravushka, growing in a compact 50 cm bush. Blades of green color. Forms a high yield.

Purple Queen forms long to 15 cm blades of dark purple color. The variety is highly resistant to viral diseases. Always high yielding.

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Faba bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). © Rebsie Fairholm

Semi-sugar bean varieties

From the semi-sugar ones, the early-ripening variety Secunda is a success among vegetable growers. Rant is a high-yielding variety that is resistant to anthracnose and other rots. The early maturing Indiana variety, which forms two harvests per season in the south. Frequent plantings of varieties Nastena, Antoshka and others.

Bearing in mind that about 300 varieties of beans of different types and groups are bred, the listed varieties are a small part. Any vegetable grower can choose a variety he likes from the catalog, grow and independently select seeds for subsequent planting.