Peas and Beans
Beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. You sow the seeds directly into the garden or container. The seeds will germinate quickly in the right temperature, grow vigorously, and produce a significant harvest for the area they use in the garden. There are several different types of beans: bush beans (sometimes called snap beans), runner beans, pole beans, shell beans for drying, lima beans, soybeans, and fava beans (sometimes called a broad bean). Most varieties need warm soil to germinate, so they are usually planted in the late spring. One tip is if you can walk barefoot on the soil without it feeling cold, it is time to plant your beans. The exception to this rule is fava beans, which are a cool-weather bean and best planted in early spring.
When constructing a teepee stake to support your climbing beans, use a rubber band to hold the stakes in place temporarily. This will allow you to keep both hands free to easily tie the stakes together.
Peas are a cool-season crop and can be planted early in the spring. There are three common types of peas: shelling peas are grown for the seeds, snow peas have a flat edible pod, and snap pea pods and seeds are eaten together. Snow and snap varieties will need to be staked as they can grow up to 5 feet high; plan for a trellis if choosing to grow these types.
QUICK TIPS FOR GROWING BEANS AND PEAS
Botanical Name: Papilionaceae
Family Name: Pea and Bean family
Edible Parts: Seeds and pods
Location: Open, sunny area
Best Soil: Sandy, loamy, neutral pH
When to Plant: Bean seeds need a temperature of 70° to 90°F, or 21° to 32°C, so are usually not planted until late spring or early summer. Peas like cooler soil and can be planted as early as mid-March if the soil is dry enough.
Companion Plants: For a positive effect, plant with beets, cabbage, carrot, corn, squash, and tomato. Plants that will have a negative effect are chive, fennel, garlic, and leek.
Weeding: Keep well weeded, especially when plants are small.
Watering: Do not water bean seeds until they are sprouted, then water regularly after that. Peas like a moist soil for best germination.
Care: Set up stakes for pole or runner beans and snow or snap peas at the time of planting.
Fertilizing: Fertilize with fish fertilizer or compost tea after the first heavy bloom and again when the pods are starting to form. Fertilize every ten days if grown in pots.
Pests and Diseases: Aphids, leafhopper, Mexican beetle, mite, damping-off, and downy mildew are some common pests and diseases.
Harvesting: For bush bean varieties, harvest when the pod is still small about 4 to 6 inches long. Runner or pole beans are harvested when the pod is 6 to 10 inches long and still flat. Dried varieties are harvested when the pod is fully mature. Shelling and snap peas should be picked once the pod is full, but snow peas can be harvested once the pod is about 3 inches long and before the peas form. When picking, gently tug the pod with one hand while holding the plant with the other hand so as not to pull the whole plant out.
Storage: Fresh beans and peas will last for only a week or so in the refrigerator. They both can be frozen and will keep in the freezer for several months. Dried beans will store for several years if harvested and dried properly.