Beans

French beans are always a great favourite with every family and are easy to grow. Both dwarf and climbers can be grown, although the climbing varieties do require the extra work of building a trellis or similar climbing structure. Beans require a pH of about 7, and will not tolerate acid soils. Add lime or dolomite before planting. A generous amount of compost should be added, although this is not necessary if you're growing beans after a heavy feeding crop.

Place two seeds to each hole about 10 cm deep, and approximately 10 cm apart Mulch lightly with straw or dried grass clippings. As the plants grow, add mulch right up to the first leaves, as this will help to combat bean fly, and also support the plants as they grow. Foliar fertilise the plants with any good liquid fertiliser every 14 days, and when they begin flowering.

Pick the pods regularly while the seeds are still small, to keep the plants producing. Two rows three metres long will be quite adequate for the average family. Seed should be planted every 14 days to ensure a continual supply. In hotter areas, choose the 'snake bean' variety.

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Organic Gardeners Composting

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