Beans, Broad. Three types are grown — the Mazagon, Longpod, and the Windsor. The first is the hardiest, but inferior in other respects; the second is sufficiently hardy for autumn sowing in many districts; while the third is best for bottling or freezing.
For spring sowing, manure or compost may be applied at 1 cwt. to 15 sq. yd. It is an excellent plan to follow the crop after brassicas or potatoes, for which the ground has already been manured. Prior to autumn sowing, dust the ground with basic slag, 3 oz., and sulphate of potash, 1 oz. per square yard. These fertilizers may also be used prior to spring sowing,
plus sulphate of ammonia, at the rate of 1 oz. per square yard, if no manure is available.
Sow 6 in. apart in drills 1 in. deep and 2 ft. apart. Autumn sowings should be made in late October or early November, spring sowings during March and April. An early crop can be obtained by sowing seeds 2 in. apart each way in boxes in early February and germinating in a warm greenhouse, or a month later in a frame set on a hotbed. Seedlings are planted outdoors about the middle of April, spaced as seeds outdoors.
Pinch out the growing points as soon as the plants have set two or three clusters of pods each. Gather beans frequently as they attain suitable size. Good varieties are Aquadulce Claudia for autumn sowing and Unrivalled Green Windsor and Exhibition Longpod for spring sowing. The Sutton is a fine dwarf variety.
Black fly and chocolate spot are common foes.
Beans, Haricot. These are really french beans, but are grown for their ripened seeds, which are stored and used during the winter. Preparation of ground and cultivation are the same as for french beans, and it is only in the harvesting that there is any difference of treatment. Pods should be allowed to hang until they turn brown, when the whole plants are pulled up, tied in small bundles, and hung head downwards in a shed or room to dry off. Then the seeds can be shelled out and stored in dry bins for the winter. Reliable varieties are Brown Dutch (brown seeded) and Comtesse de Chambord (white seeded).
Mosaic and anthracnose are the commonest diseases.
Beans, French. There are two main types, the dwarf and the climbing. The former are of more use to the amateur, as they require no staking. Soil should be prepared as for broad beans, and the same fertilizers used. Sow in late April or in early May outdoors. Earlier crops can be obtained by sowing seeds 2 in. apart each way in boxes in mid-
April and germinating in a greenhouse or frame. The seedlings should be planted outdoors early in June. Seeds sown outdoors should be spaced 8 in. apart in drills 1 in. deep and 18 in. apart. These are also correct spacings for seedlings. Gather beans frequently while still quite tender. Water freely during dry weather. Surplus beans may be frozen, stored in salt, or allowed to dry, the seeds being used as haricots.
Reliable varieties are Canadian Wonder, Masterpiece, and The Prince.
Foes as for haricot beans.
Beans, Runner. Soil should be prepared as for broad beans. Manure or compost, though not essential, is useful. An economical method is to prepare a trench 18 in. wide and deep for each row and mix manure thoroughly with the soil in this. Fertilizers as for broad beans.
Sow outdoors about the middle of May. The plants are even more tender than french beans. Alternatively, plants may be raised in boxes as described for french beans and be planted out about the first week in June. Seeds or plants should be spaced outdoors 8 in. apart in a double line 10 in. apart. If more than one such double line is required, a space of at least 8 ft. must be left between each. Stakes at least 8 ft. in length must be placed in position, one to each plant, before the beans commence to climb.
An alternative method of cultivation is to sow or plant 2 ft. apart in rows 3 ft. apart and pinch out the tips of young shoots repeatedly from June until August. This makes the plants become bushy, and no stakes are required.
Good varieties are Twenty One, Streamline and Prizewinner. Hammond’s Dwarf is bushy, short and needs no staking.
Flower dropping is the commonest trouble. It is usually caused by cold nights, but may be aggravated by dry soil.