Beans thrive in most soil. Work in plenty of low-nitrogen compost before planting to loosen the soil. For a healthy, trouble-free crop, plant beans after soil has warmed. Optimum soil temperature for germination is 80°F At soil temperatures below 60°H most bean cultivars germinate poorly and are more susceptible to pests and root rot. Choose light, well-drained soil for early plantings, if possible, and cover beans with row cover or clear plastic until they emerge. If you use clear plastic, be sure to remove it as soon as the seeds germinate to avoid "cooking" the seedlings.

Beans do best when soil pH is between 5.5 and 6.8. They don't require high soil fertility. In fact, high nitrogen levels will delay maturity. Spray young plants with seaweed extract to prevent micronutrient deficiencies and improve overall plant health.

Soak seed in compost tea for 25 minutes before planting to help prevent disease and speed germination. Treat seed with an inocu-lant labeled for the type of bean you are planting before sowing to promote nitrogen fixation. Be sure to buy fresh inoculant each year, or check the date on the package for viability.

Don't touch plants when foliage is wet to avoid spreading diseases. Compost plants after harvest. Prevent problems by not planting beans in the same location more often than every 3 years.

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Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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