Beans are versatile and nutritious legumes that can be easily grown in South African gardens, and are a tasty addition to your meal-prep repertoire. Whether you have a small backyard veggie garden, a container garden, or a larger agricultural space, growing beans can be a quite a bit of fun and a very easy exercise (it's harder navigating traffic in Johannesburg, to be sure). We will explore the key steps and considerations for successfully growing beans in a South African garden, including choosing the right bean varieties, preparing the soil, planting, caring for the plants, and harvesting. We'll also include some ways in which you can use BioAge products when growing your beans.
Beans thrive in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Prior to planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris. Incorporate organic compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to enhance its fertility and improve moisture retention. Sandy soils are for farmers, they say. Veggie gardens and container farms must aim for a dark, rich loam. Do you know what your soil's PH level is? Most gardeners do not, so maybe buy a cheap soil test kit (they are usually a few hundred rands) and make sure you aim for a healthy 6.0-7.0 acidity. Anything lower than 6.0 can be rectified by adding a cup of lime to every m2 of veggie garden.
Beans are warm-season crops and should be planted after the last frost date in your area. Choose a sunny location in your garden that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. Create rows or mounds for planting, leaving adequate space between the plants. Sow the seeds at a depth of about 1 to 2 inches, following the spacing recommendations provided on the seed packet. Water the soil gently after planting to ensure proper seed-to-soil contact. 2 inches may seem deep for a small plant like the bean, but this ensures that it develops a healthy root system and strong stem base.
Regular weeding is essential to minimize competition for nutrients and water. Remove any weeds that emerge near the bean plants, taking care not to disturb the root system of the beans. Applying a layer of organic mulch can help suppress weed growth and conserve soil moisture.
Pests & Disease
Beans can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases, including aphids, bean beetles, and fungal infections. Regularly inspect the plants for signs of pest activity or disease symptoms, such as discolored leaves or chewed foliage. Implement organic pest control methods such as handpicking insects or using insecticidal soaps. Practice crop rotation and maintain good garden hygiene to reduce the risk of disease. Our Nitro-Gro is a biostimulant, which means that it augments the bean plant's immunity toward certain diseases. We also use snail-traps in order to eliminate snails that eat humongous volumes of foliage.
Harvesting Your Beans
Bean plants typically reach maturity and start producing pods within 60 to 80 days after planting, depending on the variety. Harvest the beans regularly when the pods are mature but still tender. Make sure that you 'button-off' the bean pod right where it joins the stem. Avoid pulling beans off, as this may damage the plant.
As mentioned in this guide to growing beans, we used a single 500ml bottle for a large bush bean bed that hosted 12 mature plants. Take a look at our product on the right. get your hands on a 500ml bottle of Nitro-Gro and you too can become a bush or pole bean gardener. You'll be harvesting so many beans you'll have to start donating them to the church kitchen... guaranteed.