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Beans

All beans are one of two types: bush beans or pole beans. Bush beans grow on sturdy, shrubby plants, while pole beans grow on long vines that need external support, such as a fence or trellis. Both types have their merits. Bush beans don't need to be trained, but pole beans are higher yielding and easier to harvest. Both can be found in an abundant selection of colors and lengths, and with round or flat pods.

Habit
Bush beans: compact, shrubby, upright plants; pole beans: long, twining vines.

Days to Harvest
50 to 60 average, up to 85 for very long types.

When to Plant
Beans are sensitive to cold and do not transplant well. Direct-sow seed outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. You can sow seed every two to  four weeks for continuous harvesting.

Light
Full sun.

Soil
Good topsoil enriched with organic matter is necessary.

Water
Keep moist for best production.

Fertilizing
Fertilize throughout the season with an organic vegetable fertilizer.

Pest problems
Mexican bean beetles skeletonize foliage; look on the underside of the leaves for the fuzzy yellow caterpillar-like larvae and the adults, which look like yellow ladybugs. These should be hand-picked and destroyed. Many bean varieties are bred to be resistant to common fungal and bacterial diseases.

When to Harvest
Harvest when pods are firm but well before the seeds within have developed fully. Harvest frequently to encourage production.

Recipes
Blanched Mixed Beans with Cucumber Ranch Dressing
Seared Scallops Nicoise
Spicy Pickled Green and Wax Beans
Mixed Bean-and-Pepper Salad with Ricotta Salata