Vegetables - Beans
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
L. C. Seal of Indiana discusses bean growing as follows : " Did your young bean vines ever promise well, then suddenly yellow up and, perhaps, die, and you could not account for it? Maybe you hoed them one time when their foliage was wet. You should not have done so. Never touch snap beans until the foliage is absolutely dry. It will cause the leaves to drop prematurely.
" Beans are very sensitive to cold and wet weather. It is time, labor, and garden space wasted to plant beans before the spring has come to stay. A few pods gathered from weak, sickly plants are not to be preferred to a few days' delay in the arrival in profusion of this coveted relish.
Though beans themselves are gross feeders, under favorable culture and weather conditions, they are nevertheless delicate. Because ground is too poor to grow anything else, it is not infrequently planted to beans. This is unfair to the beans; they, too, like humus. Give them suitable soil, or make the soil suitable through fertilization —a deep, mellow seed bed and plenty f room. More vine, more crop, if properly spaced.
"While blooming and bearing, bean rootlets, which are many and filmy, permeate the soil into middles. Better not cultivate too near the row, nor deeply at this stage of growth. At this point, if possible, stop cultivation entirely. Their own shade mulch may do more than you can do unless you are trying to resuscitate an old row, which has furnished you beans for a week or ten days. Usually it is more economical to remove these vines and plant a second crop, or put it in sugar corn.
" Vines of bush snaps are short lived. Pole varieties continue longer in bearing provided the pods are clipped off as fast as they assume edible dimensions; they will die in the process of maturing seed. No trellis can offer as natural conditions for vining purposes as the stout, old-fashioned barky pole well anchored in the hill. A Kentucky Wonder would crawl 2 feet to climb one. Butter beans are the seedmen's limas. Just now I am much interested in Giant Stringless. They require the whole sea-son in which to mature, and furnish several pickings. Bunch limas are earlier than the pole, but not quite so excellent. The Dwarf Horticultural is a shell-out bean. It ranks with the best, is medium early and prolific. Seedmen raise the best seeds. That is their occupation."
According to Cora J. Sheppard of Cumberland county, New Jersey, " The ground for lima beans may be prepared at the same time as for the general garden. The hills for beans should be placed 4 feet apart each way. Well-rotted manure should be placed in the hills, half a shovelful to a hill, or a shovelful to every three hills, may be enough.
" If this is not at hand, commercial fertilizer may take the place of it. The poles should be stuck before planting the beans A rather heavy stick with an iron point on one end is used to make the holes for the poles. No garden is complete with-out lima beans, and every gardener should own his own bean sticker, and not depend upon neighbors or friends.
" In this section the beans should not be planted before May io, and the weather must be just about right. If too damp, the beans decay in the ground. Place four beans in a hill, eyes down, and if they come up well two should be pulled out, if the ground is heavy, or there will be too much of a mass of vines. If the soil is light, the four beans can be left to grow.
"To get extra early beans we plant about 3o hills in the cold frame early in the season. First, we melt tops and bottoms off old tin cans, which are then filled with dirt, and closely packed in the cold frame. The seedlings get a good start and are put in the garden about the time other people are planting their beans. When transplanting it is well to water thoroughly before disturbing, in order to make the dirt stick to the roots. The roots should not be disturbed more than necessary, but the whole mass of dirt in the tin can removed to the garden. In this way we get the delicious lima bean for our table ten days or two weeks earlier than by ordinary planting."
John W. Broadway of Cumberland county, New Jersey, manages somewhat differently. " First, the land should be in a high state of cultivation. Use fall plowed land and apply 15 to 25 tons of .good manure an acre after ground is plowed. At planting time apply 400 pounds high-grade fertilizer an acre in hills well spread. Hills 4% feet each way; thin to two plants, give frequent cultivation, once each way every week until vines reach top of poles, then use binding twine from pole i. Pole train vines on string; keep up cultivating during season. The cost of growing is not limited, as results are governed by special care: I claim cost an acre $125 to $200 and first year a trifle more, as poles will last ,three years. My profit last year was $275 an acre net, as prices were good through-out the season."
" In the garden no one crop has regularly paid me better than the lima bean," writes D. S. Kelsey of Hartford county, Connecticut. " For eight years I supplied the large hotels at Saratoga Springs, New York. All that time I was, so far as I know, the only grower of lima beans in the Adirondack region. Not that I advise people to go north to grow them, but there is a popular notion that lima beans belong to the hot, sandy soils of the South. They will mature anywhere that corn will mature.
"The bean needs plenty of organic nitrogen; that is, stable manure, or chemicals, dried fish, cottonseed meal, blood or tankage; never nitrates or guano. Rows should always go north and south, that the sun may have full access everywhere. The rows should be 3% feet apart for the very smallest bush varieties, and 5 feet for the poles, but the hills may be close together, making a kind f hedge row. The south and southeast exposure and sun slope are best, but a skillful gardener will produce an abundant crop on the northeast side of a cold hill.
" As to prices, one can almost make his own. I have received as high as $2.25 a bushel wholesale, and very seldom as low as $i I like sod land, plowed after haying the summer before, with a cover crop plowed in early the following spring plus many harrowings. I use chemical fertilizers only broadcast, excepting a little superphosphate in the hill or drill. Always drill the bush varieties.
"In the case of selecting seed from the dwarf varieties one must carefully avoid any plants that show a tendency to revert back to "running." This is particularly true with the Burpee. Its natural inclination to twine has not been entirely bred out. As a commercial proposition I see no reason why pole limas should be planted any more."