South Florida Gardening

Green beans are one of our staple crops throughout the fall-winter-spring growing season here in South Florida. We usually (if we’re lucky) have our first harvest at Thanksgiving time, and our last in late April to mid-May, depending on how soon the heat of summer begins to roll in.

There are many advantages/benefits to growing green beans in South Florida:

  • They are just so well suited to our climate, thriving well in the moderate temperatures our growing season offers. It’s also easy to grow them organically as they suffer from few pests or diseases. Our biggest problem comes from rusting leaves when there’s too much moisture/rain and our remedy is to remove those leaves and adjust moisture when possible.
  • They are a fast growing crop, from planting them to bean-producing – typically ready to start harvesting in five weeks or so.
  • The bean plants will render two crops. After picking the first round, watch for them to reflower and produce more.
  • Beans help the soil by adding nitrogen to it. This will benefit certain nitrogen-loving plants, such as cabbages and tomatoes, which as part of our crop rotation will be planted next in the same soil.

The preference among our gardeners is pretty much bush beans over pole beans (though we do plant both). There is a variety of purple bush beans that we’ve been enjoying in addition to our typical green ones. But here’s a warning: the purple ones turn a vibrant green color when cooked. I only found this out on Thanksgiving one year. I was so excited as this was our first harvest ever of purple beans, just in time for the holiday! – and I thought I was going to have a beautiful mixed colored dish of fresh green and purple beans. Until, that is, I lifted the lid off the pot of steaming beans. They were a beautiful green color, much to my amazement and disappointment!

Basket of fresh purple bush beans

Purple bush beans

We use the direct seeding method and straight rows for growing green beans. (They are not suited for starting in flats and transplanting.) We sometimes use an organic inoculant that boosts the nitrogen-fixing capacity of the plants.

Row ob beans seeds planted in a furrow

Planting bean seeds

It’s such a pleasure to plant beans as the seeds are quite big (easy and fast to plant), they germinate so reliably here, and it’s very exciting to see them sprouting in just a few days – and then really take off, heading for a fairly quick harvest time – about five or six weeks from planting to eating!

Green beans growing

Green bean seedlings

Green beans are delicious steamed to a slightly crispy perfection and dressed with a little butter, salt and pepper – and maybe some dill. There are many delicious recipes using green beans; you can find one we’ve posted here: http://www.soflagardening.com/green-beans-tarragon/

Growing green beans in South Florida is so effortless and rewarding; if you’ve never tried it, we hope you will!

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