Vegetable Gardening in Mississippi
All garden beans are sensitive to cold soil and cold air temperatures. Seeds planted in cold, wet soils rot, but colored bean seeds are more tolerant to cold soils than white bean seeds.
Soil type is important to bean seed germination. In germination, the two large seed halves (cotyledons) must come through the soil surface. Clay or compacted soils hold the cotyledons, and germination is poor. Cover seeds with a non-crusting material, or add sand, peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite to the soil. If a crust forms, carefully break it or sprinkle it lightly with water several times to soften it and aid germination. All beans are nitrogen fixing plants, so be careful to avoid heavy nitrogen fertilization and nitrogen-rich soils.
Major problems with beans are blossoms and pods shedding, diseases, and insects. Both too much and too little moisture cause blooms and small pods to shed. This also occurs when summer temperatures are extremely high. Control most diseases by buying western-grown seeds, selecting disease-resistant varieties, using treated seed, rotating land, and not working or harvesting beans when leaves are wet. Major insect pests are bean leaf beetle (round holes in leaves) and Mexican bean beetle (lace-like leaves).
Bush snap beans can be green or yellow (wax) and round or flat. They are sensitive to hot, dry weather; therefore, do not plant them to mature in midsummer. Late-planted bush beans do not set a big crop, and the pods that develop are of poor quality. Bush beans should be planted in a broad band of several closely spaced rows.
Harvest beans at the tender snap stage, but any snap bean variety can be allowed to grow to the green shell stage and be used much like lima beans and southern peas. Most bush snap bean varieties require 50 to 60 days from planting to harvest.
Green-shell beans are grown like bush snap beans. These are special varieties:
Pole snap beans extend the harvest of snap beans through the summer. They are more tolerant of hot temperatures than bush beans. Support vines with cane poles, strings, or a trellis, allowing for 6 to 8 feet of growth. Bean vines are heavy, so construct a strong trellis. Barbed wire as the top wire prevents poles and strings from slipping. Support posts to prevent trellis collapse in wet weather. When exposed to very hot summer temperatures and dry soils, beans drop their blooms and small pods. Harvest all beans to keep vines producing. Pole beans yield more than bush beans because they produce over a longer period of time. Nitrogen-rich soils result in excessive vine growth and no beans. Most pole snap bean varieties require 65 to 70 days from planting to first harvest.
Asparagus (yardlong) beans are pole beans with pods that reach 3 feet in length. At this stage they are past their prime and should be used like southern peas. Harvest when pods are 10 to 12 inches long for use as a snap bean.
Red Seed - long, dark green
Bush lima beans (butter beans) are more sensitive to cold than snap beans, so delay planting until the soil temperature is at least 65 degrees. Both small- and large-seed types are used as green-shell beans. The small-seed limas produce better than the large-seed types. Most varieties require about 65 days from planting to harvest. Use treated, fresh seeds. Do not use last year’s dry garden beans for this year’s seeds because of disease carryover problems. The major disease is stem anthracnose. Control this disease by using western-grown seeds and planting rotation in the garden. Do not plant lima beans in the same garden location where they were grown last year.
Pole lima beans are grown like pole snap beans.