Beans, string beans, jackdaws, these are the same vegetables, or plants that produce large edible pods; in the case of beans, but also of peas, the pod is coriaceous, so the seeds contained in it are eaten; in the case of green beans and jackdaws instead, the pod is tender and fleshy, it can therefore be eaten, after cooking of course, practically the beans are harvested when the seed is almost ripe, the green beans and the snow peas instead are picked when the seed is still immature , and then the pod still fleshy. The bean plants, whose botanical name is Phaseolus, belong to the great family of the fabaceae, or leguminous; in Europe Phaseolus have been cultivated for thousands of years, even if the first beans grown on our continent are of African origin, while most of the beans grown today are hybrids of species of American origin. With the arrival of the first plants following the conquistadores, African beans were supplanted in cultivation, as the American cousins are much more productive.
In the nursery we have at our disposal hundreds of hybrid varieties of beans, as mentioned before some are destined to the production of seeds, the real beans, which can be dried or frozen; others instead are destined to the production of the pod, which is eaten whole, without extracting the seeds.
The cultivation of green beans and snow peas occurs in the same way, since it is the same plant, only of different varieties. As with other fabae plants, beans also live in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, so their cultivation tends to enrich the soil; in fact, there are varieties of beans that are cultivated only as green manure: when the fruit ripens, the soil is reworked, mixing the plants with the soil itself, to enrich it. Before planting Phaseolus it is important to work the soil thoroughly, enriching it with mature manure; sowing usually occurs at the first spring warmth, between March and April.
The plot of land is worked by preparing shallow postarellas, at a distance of about 40 cm from each other, with a distance of about 50 cm between the rows; in each stall there are 3-5 seeds, cover with the ground and water abundantly; germination takes place in a fairly moist soil. So it is essential to water the plot even when it is only sown, and then continue when the plants have sprouted. We water only when the soil is well dry. We periodically hoe the soil around the young plants, to move it and remove weeds. Flowering takes place over a couple of months, and continues for a few weeks; therefore we will have a continuous production of fruits for about a month, which will mature to climb. To obtain a better harvest it is good to periodically remove the already large and turgid pods, so that the plant uses and its energies to develop the pods still small. If harvesting occurs late, the pods tend to dry out; in the case of green beans, too, excessively mature pods tend to become leathery, and in this case they should be used as beans, that is, extracting only the seeds.
Beans - Phaseolus: Climbing and dwarf beans
Bean plants are climbing plants, they tend to grow for at least a couple of meters; if we grow climbing beans it is essential to place among the rows of the garden net for climbing plants, so that the plants can cling to them during their development.
For those who do not like large plants there are numerous dwarf varieties: instead of a climbing development, they have a shrubby development, producing a low and roundish vegetation. Thus a more compact development is obtained, and less work in the preparation phase of the parcel, given that they do not need nets or guardians; however, instead of developing at the top, the pods will all be at ground level, therefore requiring a greater effort in the harvesting phase compared to climbing beans.
As far as string beans and snow peas are concerned, we tend to sow new plants in March, April, May and June; sowing every 15-20 days; in this way the harvest takes place from June until the end of August.