Bean plants often remind us of our science classes at school. Beans are commonly used in schools to teach young kids about the science of seed germination and parts of a typical plant. In fact, beans is a generic name for a wide range of different plants that belong to the family Fabaceae, which is otherwise known as Leguminosae.
So, there are many different types of bean plants that produce numerous beans varieties. While some beans called snap beans are harvested before they ripen and these unripe tender ones are consumed along with the seed pod, other beans are harvested as they get ripe and the seed pods are discarded, after collecting the seeds. These beans are used in the fresh or dried form. Even the plants are of different types. Some grow as bushes, whereas some others are climbers.
Facts About Bean Plants
It is believed that various types of beans have been cultivated and used by humans since time immemorial. As mentioned above, there are many different types of beans like snap beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, broad beans, lima beans, kidney beans and fava beans. Beans are rich in nutrients and is also a good source of fiber. These plants are commonly found in home gardens as they are not fussy and are easy to grow.
- These plants are among some of the fastest growing plants in the world. These plants grow and mature at a faster pace, as compared to many other vegetable plants. Their growth rate may slightly vary with the type of beans.
- In fact, it takes roughly a month and a half for these plants to germinate from seeds, grow and get harvested. This makes them among the favorite plants for home gardens too.
- The life cycle of a bean plant starts with the germination of seeds. The process starts with sowing of the seeds and watering of the soil. The moisture leads to expansion of the seed covering which will crack open. The root uses the energy from the food stored in the seed and emerges out through the crack, in search of more nutrients and water. Simultaneously, the stems grow upwards, as they need sunlight. The stem will gradually develop leaves and grow to a full plant.
- A fully grown plant starts producing flowers which will get fertilized. After fertilization, the flowers will dry and drop off. The ovaries of these flowers grow to produce seed pods.
- In some bean plants like snap beans, unripe, young and tender seed pods are harvested. Other types of beans are harvested as they get ripe and mature. While many varieties are grown in home gardens, the most popular ones are pole beans (grow as vines) and bush beans (bushy plants).
Due to the growing popularity of bean plants in home gardens, quite a few people are interested in learning how to grow them. Even though the requirements may vary with individual types, these plants have certain basic needs.
How to Grow a Bean Plant
Choose the variety of bean plant you want to grow and get their seeds. Now decide the location, which should provide the plants with full sun, well-drained soil and a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Till the soil thoroughly and make it fertile by adding compost. Make sure to add enough organic matter that is rich in phosphorous and potassium. Plant the seeds after the last frost. The soil must have a minimum temperature of 55 degree Fahrenheit. Make holes with a depth of an inch, for sowing the seeds.
The holes must have a space of three inches in between and individual rows must be three feet apart. If the plants are going to produce vines, place stakes at this stage. Water the soil moderately till the seeds start to sprout. As they start producing leaves, feed them with a small amount of fertilizer. You may also use mulch at this stage. Now, wait for your plants to flower and produce beans. Continue with moderate watering. Make sure that the plants are growing healthy and there is no pest problem or disease. If there are any, tackle them at the earliest for a good yield.
You can grow these plants in your garden and get a fresh supply of beans for your family. Even your kids will enjoy this task and will learn about the science of seed germination and plant growth. If you are a beginner, consult a horticulturist or local nursery authorities to know more about growing the particular bean plant variety you have chosen.