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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Growing Beans in Las Vegas

Q. Can I grow green beans in LV?  If so, can you suggest a varietal and the 
best time to plant.  Thank You!

A. Yes you can. Green beans are grown as French (filet) beans, snap beans, beans for shelling and dry beans. Green beans are a bit fussy as to the time of year to plant them here because they don’t like cold soils and they don’t like hot weather. 

Royalty purple pod bean
So during the deepest parts of winter they do not grow well and during hot weather either. You have truly cold weather crops like lettuce, peas, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and radish. And you have hot weather crops like tomato, eggplant and melons. Beans are in between.

Dragon tongue bean
Plant them in February until they give out with the heat or even better in September until the succumb to the cold. The best tasting green snap beans are some of the old varieties like Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder, Contender and Topcrop to name a few. Pole beans are more productive than bush beans but you have to provide a trellis for them.
Plants dwarfed and collapsing because planted in cold soils and collar rot
Planting. Plant beans in full sun. Beans will not germinate in soil colder than 60°F. Some varieties develop crow rot in cold soils and die. Follow directions on the seed packet.

Put bean seeds in warm water for 3 to 4  hours or until they plump up before planting. This speeds up how fast they sprout from the soil. Plant bush beans ½ inch deep and 12 inches apart. Plants in blocks can be 12 inches apart while rows are best at 18 inches apart.
Crown rot of besn, Dragon tongue

Support pole beans. Pole beans require the support of poles, tepees, cages, or trellises. Set up supports when you sow seed. Air circulation is crucial to warding off disease.

Beans require even, consistent watering. Don’t water with a sprinkler. Once every couple of weeks wash off any dust on the leaves to help reduce spider mite problems.
Sorting French beans at Kabaru co-op in Kenya

Pick beans at the right time
: pick French beans when they are pencil thick; pick snap beans when you feel seeds forming in pods–the bean should snap when bent in the middle; pick green shell beans when the pods are full size but have not begun to dry; pick dried beans when the pods are stiff and break with pressure.

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