"Blue Lake" bush beans (Phaseolus vulgaris “Blue Lake”) provide a dependable and quick-growing snap bean option for the home gardener. The dark green pods are ready to harvest within 55 days of germination, and the short plants don't require a support system. The beans grow low enough so children can easily reach the plants to join in on the fun of planting and harvest. Sow "Blue Lake" beans from seed directly in the garden after frost danger has passed. With proper planting and early care, these small seeds quickly grow into mature, producing plants.
1 Test the soil pH and nutrient level in a well-draining garden bed three to six months before planting. Use a home testing kit or take a soil sample to a testing laboratory for results that are more exact. Beans require a pH between 5.8 and 7.0.
2 Adjust the soil pH by following the recommendations of the soil test for adding limestone to raise pH or sulfur to lower the pH. Mix the necessary amendment into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil.
3 Break up the top 6 inches of soil with a hoe or by turning it with a spade immediately before planting. Apply fertilizer at the rate recommended by the soil test. If a test wasn't performed, sprinkle 1 cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer down every 50-foot planting row. Mix the fertilizer in with the top 6 inches of soil.
4 Push the "Blue Lake" seeds 1 inch into the prepared soil. Space the seeds 3 inches apart along the row and set the rows 18 to 24 inches apart.
5 Water the bean seeds immediately after planting. Provide about 1 inch of water, which is enough to moisten the soil to a 6-inch depth. Water only when the top 1 inch of soil begins to dry out, providing about 1 inch of water weekly through irrigation or rain. The seeds usually germinate within one week.
Items you will need
- Soil testing kit
- Sulfur or limestone (optional)
- 5-10-10 fertilizer
- Spade or hoe
- Beans are capable of fixing their own nitrogen in the soil, reducing fertilizer needs, if you treat them with a bean inoculate. Fill a paper bag with the inoculate powder, moisten the seeds, and shake them in the powder to coat them right before you plant.
- Wear gloves when digging and working with the soil to avoid exposure to soil-borne bacteria and parasites.
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