Don’t Get No Respect: Beans

IMG_2115This is a happy time of year for the gardener. Spring labors are coming to fruition. The tomatoes are ripening, the eggplants and squash plants are producing, and the green beans are plentiful.

Tomatoes and eggplants, with their vivid colors, are often the focal points in the garden. Yet, beans have been around a while (approximately 8,000 years or so), can grow in so many places and under many different conditions and, while the other crops deplete the soil, beans actually enrich it during the growing process, by adding nitrogen.  Beans deserve some notice.   But, Just like the late, great comedian Rodney Dangerfield, the bean “don’t get no respect.”

The bean plant is really beautiful. Aesthetically appealing, beans grown on towers, arbors or trellises can bring a beautiful elegance to garden. Blogger “wowthatsabusygarden” planted beans within the landscape and they added an artistic, quirky element to the space.

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Pole Beans can easily grow in less than a 2′ x 2′ space. Stick a bean tower in the ground, build up 6-8″ of soil and mulch under and around it, run some drip tubing around the bottom, then plant the bean starts around the tower perimeter. If you don’t have a bean tower, consider using a ladder, a topiary frame, or create your own structure from garden screen.  The beans will grow with very little continued effort on your part.