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Growing Bush Beans

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Leighfluver
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Post  Cropper2 4/27/2010, 6:05 pm

Is anyone growing Bush Beans?

I can find lots of threads on vining beans, but nothing on bush beans. I thought I'd give them a try, but I'd like to know what others have learned first.

Anyone?
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Post  ander217 4/27/2010, 8:20 pm

What do you want to know about them? This is my first year trying SFG and I plan to plant one grid of wax beans, one of bush romanos, and one grid of Blue Lake bush.

I've grown row-style gardens most of my life, and I usually planted Blue Lake or Contender bush beans, and Kentucky Wonder and Romano pole beans. Bush beans tend to produce a large crop all at once and then are finished in a few weeks, while pole or vining beans produce all summer.

Others on this board have said that bush beans in SFG boxes tend to spill over into neighboring grids, so when they grow tall, one should pull all the plants together and wrap string around them twice and tie it off to keep them in their proper place.

You can go to the squarefootgardening.com page, click on FAQ's, and click on vegetables. Mel gives information there on growing many veggies.
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Post  Cropper2 4/28/2010, 7:39 am

I've been following the forums on beans, but I always seem to end up reading about the vining variety, versus the bush variety. I was wondering how many to plan in a box and if they have any special needs. Perhaps planting one in the middle of a 3x3 grid might work? Do they get very tall? I've never tried them before. Anything you can share about them would help.

Thanks.
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Post  ander217 4/28/2010, 9:24 am

Bush beans are fairly small plants. They grow about a foot tall, more or less, depending on variety. I think the packet says to thin them to every four inches, so that means planting them nine plants per square foot. They have small stems about the size of a pencil that grow leafy branches. When they are spaced close together they grow more upward than outward but they still have a few branches that grow outward. That is why some of them must be tied together if they get too bushy. Only planting one per SF would be a waste of space and would not yield many beans. One plant will only have a few pods ready to pick at one time.

Some people coat the seeds with a seed inoculant before planting in soil that has never grown beans. I'm not sure if that's helpful in SFG. Does anyone else know?

They have no special needs that I know of. Don't work with the plants when the leaves are wet as there are some diseases that attack them which can spread when handling wet plants, and watch out for bean beetles which like to munch on the pods. When they stop producing, pull the plants and plant something else.

I've always found bush beans to be extremely easy to grow. If you want to grow enough to eat all you want as well as put some in the freezer you will probably need more than one square foot of them.
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Post  Lavender Debs 4/28/2010, 10:04 am

Great post ander!

I have one square of early season bush beans. The moon was right, but it is probably still too early. I am hoping that Provider, an early season bush bean, will handle the chill well enough to do as the name implies. I did 9 to the square, and only put in a test batch of one square.

At the next waxing moon I will put in 4 squares of Provider, (50 days, cool season), 4 of "Dragon Langerie" a flat podded wax bean with purple striping and 2 of "Empress" a main season bush bean. At the next moon the plan is to put in 4 more squares of Empress.

I've never grown bush beans. Always turned up my nose at them thinking they were not as good as pole. The last gardens I have mainly grown french fillet beans, yum. My aunts all grew bush beans and theirs were fine, I was just a snob I think.
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Post  Mikesgardn 4/28/2010, 10:14 am

I'm also in Maryland, and bush beans are easy to grow here. They like the heat. Plant 9 per square foot. I usually plant the seeds in May, and they produce beans well into the fall. The plants do tend to splay into adjacent squares.
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Post  keithw 4/28/2010, 11:03 am

Thanks for the tip of tying the plants together. My garden beans are overflowing their 2 SFG squares and threatening to eat a pepper plant and some lettuce (well I just beat the beans to the lettuce). I'll get to work on tying them together this evening.
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Post  Lavender Debs 4/28/2010, 11:26 am

Ug, in looking something up for someone else, I just read that beans should not be planted near the onion family. My one square is surrounded by onions and shallots. Guess I am about to find out why I shouldn't do that.
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Post  Cropper2 4/28/2010, 4:33 pm

I spent last weekend studying the Compatibility charts from the Farmer's Almanac and thought I'd lose my mind! I had to completely replan most of my SFG boxes. You'd have thought my intention was to purposely plant what the Almanac calls "Combative" veggies next to one another. I had done that almost 100% of the time. Now that I've rearranged everything on paper, I'm about to start my planting.

Thanks for all of the feedback on planting the bush beans! I'm excited to give it a try.
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Post  chocolatepop 4/28/2010, 10:42 pm

I planted 4 squares of bush beans, they are kind like determinate tomatoes, they set many of their beans in a short amount of time, versus pole beans have a longer production period.

I like both types for different reasons. I love my yellow wax bush beans!
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Post  cherriesjubilee 4/29/2010, 2:17 pm

I am growing Roma II bush beans this year. I have 14 squares of them.

I really prefer pole beans, especially Kentucky Wonders, but I just didn't want to deal with all of the trellising that would be necessary. Maybe next year.
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Post  titans01 4/29/2010, 2:48 pm

I grew bush beans last year and that's all we grew when I was a kid. Is there any difference in taste from a bush to a pole bean and is one better than the other for canning or freezing?
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Post  aspiegardner 4/29/2010, 3:57 pm

I'm going to try to find some of this either this year or next. In our town it was hard enough to find lima beans, let alone anything other than a green bean or yellow wax.

Bush sound like fun.
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Post  Retired Member 1 4/29/2010, 5:24 pm

titans01 wrote:I grew bush beans last year and that's all we grew when I was a kid. Is there any difference in taste from a bush to a pole bean and is one better than the other for canning or freezing?

Basically, no, no and no. I really think it's a matter of preference of whether you like most of the crop coming in at one time or strung out over the summer. I plant both since I prefer having a heavy crop for canning and an ongoing crop for fresh eating.
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Post  Retired Member 1 4/29/2010, 5:25 pm

aspiegardner wrote:I'm going to try to find some of this either this year or next. In our town it was hard enough to find lima beans, let alone anything other than a green bean or yellow wax.

Bush sound like fun.

All I could find locally in a vining fresh bean was Kentucky Wonder. Then I found a gentleman on another forum who was offering free heirloom bean seeds. I ordered 3 vining and two bush from him. Hopefully I'll have enough to save some seeds for next year as well.
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Post  chocolatepop 4/29/2010, 10:08 pm

I like bush beans for canning and freezing because they come in all at once, making things easier rather than waiting.
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Post  ander217 4/30/2010, 9:30 am

Belfry bat, bush beans are a type of green bean. If you want something other than a green bean, look for what we call "shelly" beans, or beans for drying. There are countless varieties of those, such as pinto, black, Great Northern, red, navy, Jacob's Cattle, etc., all of which can be shelled and eaten fresh before they dry. My personal favorite is Horticulture or Improved Horticulture, which is like the old Wren's Egg bean and tastes something like a pinto bean only better. If you've never eaten fresh shelled beans, you are in for a treat if you try them. There is no comparison between them and their dried counterparts.
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Post  Lavender Debs 4/30/2010, 9:37 am

ander is there a simple way to thresh them (fresh or dry?)
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Post  ander217 4/30/2010, 9:49 am

Debs, in the green stage I just pick the pods when they are full, and shell them like shelling green peas. If I let them dry on the plant, I do it by hand, also, although I've heard of people spreading them on a big tarp and whacking them with sticks or brooms, and then winnowing the chaff away in the wind. I never had a large enough amount to make that seem worth all the trouble. If they're dried well, the pods usually pop right open. In fact, if one lets them stay too long on the bush after they've dried, they'll pop open and shatter on the ground.

What are French fillet beans? I've never heard of them.

I planted a new (to me) variety of wax bean yesterday, called Beurre De Rocquencourt that I found in the Baker Heirlooms online catalog. I had no idea until I opened the package that the seeds were black. I thought all wax beans had white seeds. Has anyone grown these before? Is the flavor different?

I also planted two squares of Blue Lake bush beans, one square of Roma II, and last week I planted 16 Kentucky Blue pole beans, and 4 Scarlet Runner beans. I've planted the Kentucky Blues for two years and never got much yield either time. I'm giving them one more shot since I switched to SFG. (Kentucky Blue is a cross between the old flavorful Kentucky Wonder and the commercial Blue Lake.)

Although they aren't really beans I also planted two squares of Purple-Hull peas, which I put in my personal "beany" category. Maybe next year I'll make room to add some shelly beans.
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Post  Lavender Debs 4/30/2010, 10:12 am

French / fillet beans, often sold as Haricots Verts (which is just french for green beans) is a somewhat long, thin green bean. The flavor is pleasantly intense.

My great aunt used to grow dry beans. She had a small trash can (dedicated only to bean storage and threshing) that she would whap a handful of vines in to shell her beans.
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Post  chocolatepop 4/30/2010, 10:32 am

ander217 wrote:Belfry bat, bush beans are a type of green bean. If you want something other than a green bean, look for what we call "shelly" beans, or beans for drying. There are countless varieties of those, such as pinto, black, Great Northern, red, navy, Jacob's Cattle, etc., all of which can be shelled and eaten fresh before they dry. My personal favorite is Horticulture or Improved Horticulture, which is like the old Wren's Egg bean and tastes something like a pinto bean only better. If you've never eaten fresh shelled beans, you are in for a treat if you try them. There is no comparison between them and their dried counterparts.

ok question for the seasoned shell bean grower. I am going to grow kidney beans but have NO idea how many plants to even consider putting in! Any input?
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Post  pattipan 4/30/2010, 12:31 pm

ok question for the seasoned shell bean grower. I am going to grow kidney beans but have NO idea how many plants to even consider putting in! Any input?


On gardenweb.com forums, I remember reading that one bush bean plant will produce about 1/4 cup of dried beans.

I think this is the thread: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/legumes/msg022157121336.html

Good luck and please let us know how they produce!

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Post  ander217 5/2/2010, 2:48 pm

snip......There is a toxin present in many dry beans and cooking is required to remove it. This toxin lectin phytohaemagglutinin is especially concentrated in red kidney beans and cannellini, .....snip

Ander have you got sick from that? I often cook beans in a crock pot and have never had any unusual effect.
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Post  Lavender Debs 5/2/2010, 2:58 pm

ander217 wrote:snip......There is a toxin present in many dry beans and cooking is required to remove it. This toxin lectin phytohaemagglutinin is especially concentrated in red kidney beans and cannellini, .....snip

Ander have you got sick from that? I often cook beans in a crock pot and have never had any unusual effect.


Uh-oh.....I must have misused my powers of moderator. I meant to hit quote, not edit..... SO so sorry Ander.

She had said 10 minutes of boiling would remove the toxin that was present in Kidney and white kidney beans (Cannelloni? sp?) and that we should be careful.

Deborah .....again, I'm sorry Ander!!!
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Post  Leighfluver 5/2/2010, 3:14 pm

Cropper2 wrote:Is anyone growing Bush Beans?

I can find lots of threads on vining beans, but nothing on bush beans. I thought I'd give them a try, but I'd like to know what others have learned first.

Anyone?

Bush beans are the EASIEST beans to grow, imo. There is no extra trellis system necessary. You just plant and go!

There are yelloe wax, breen, fillet (a French code word for "PICK IT TINY OR ELSE!") Romano(wide, flat FLAVORFUL beans that hold up EXTREMELY well during long cooking times) lima and all kinds of shelling beans for drying. That is a project I will attempt next year but haven't so far.
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