Black beans belong to the legume family, which includes plants such as green beans, peas and lentils. They are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin B6, iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. People who want to strengthen their bones, lower their blood pressure, or manage diabetes should consume black beans on a regular basis. Besides this, the beans also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and cancer. If you want to lose weight, a regular black bean intake is a good meal addition, as they increase satiety while reducing appetite, helping you reduce your calorie consumption painlessly.
If you say that someone isn’t worth a hill of beans, it means that someone is of little value. Actually, though, a hill of beans could be such a treasure for the variety of benefits they bring about. Beans are among the easiest veggies to grow, and growing black beans will be a piece of cake if you follow the practical tips below. You will know exactly how to grow black beans.
How to Grow Black Beans?
1. Seed Preparation
There are typically two types of black beans: bush and pole. Bush beans need a wider space between the plants, and do not need staking, while pole ones need support from a trellis or stakes so that the plants have space to stretch out and the tendrils have something to latch onto. Depending on the amount of space you have, you may choose to grow either bush or pole varieties. Before planting your black bean seeds, it’s necessary to soak them overnight to speed up germination.
2. Soil, Temperature, and Weather Conditions
Loose, fertile soil with a pH of between 6 and 7 is ideal for black bean planting. Test the soil to determine the exact pH or acidity level. You can add lime if the pH level is lower than 6. Manure or compost should be distributed into the soil well before planting. The temperature should be around 70°F so your growing plan should be executed after the spring frosts have passed. Black beans grow better in warm, dry weather than when it’s cool and damp. They need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, and 80 to 140 days to mature, so summer through autumn is the best time for growing black beans.
Once they’ve been soaked overnight the seeds can now be sown with the eyes facing down. Plant them 4-6 inches apart and 1-2 inches deep into the soil. Bush bean seeds should be grown in rows while pole varieties need a trellis or fence to support their growth, so make sure you have set up 3 feet high stakes before sowing the seed. Water well after sowing and they will germinate after 8 to 14 days. You can plant black beans together with corn, cucumber or strawberries. However, be sure not to grow them near onion or fennel or in soil where other legumes have been planted in the past 3 years. Black beans may not survive after transplanting, so plant the seeds where you intend to grow them.
Black beans do well in dry rather than damp soil, therefore water regularly but not every day to keep the roots moist rather than soggy. Don’t wet the leaves while watering because they are very vulnerable to fungi and other diseases. Try to water at soil level. A sunny day is good for watering as the leaves will not remain damp if a little water does get onto them. Mulch the soil if necessary to maintain the soil’s moisture content. Try to maintain good air circulation by removing weeds and dead leaves to prevent fungal infection.
You don’t need a lot of fertilizer when growing black beans because the plants generate nitrogen for themselves. Nevertheless, pale leaves may indicate that nitrogen generation is inadequate, and you should then add some fish emulsion fertilizer to the plants. Pole beans need to stretch out on the stakes and they tend to produce crops for a longer time than bush beans. Thus, adding compost or manure halfway through the growing season will benefit their climbing and late bean formation. Don’t be tempted to apply high-nitrogen fertilizers or the plants will develop lush foliage and produce fewer beans.
6. Weed and Pest Control
If the seeds have been sown the correct distance apart, it will be easier to deal with weeds. The distance between rows should be about 4 to 6 inches, which will make it easy to remove weeds by shallow cultivation without harming the roots. Mulching also helps to reduce weed invasion as it keeps the soil moist and deprives the weed seeds of light for sprouting.
Common pests that often attack black beans include aphids, leafhoppers, and beetles. They suck the fluid from the stems and leaves, causing stunted plants and resulting in an unproductive yield. If you just have a small garden for growing black beans, dealing with those pests manually may not be too difficult. You can either handpick the pests or wash them off with water. If you have a large garden, organic chemicals are available to help you fight against pest attacks. Above all, keeping your garden clean and tidy does wonders for controlling both weeds and pests. Healthy plants will resist unfavorable natural enemies well.
After 80 to 140 days, black beans can be harvested once the pods have dried. Bush beans will be ready to be picked all at once while pole beans may keep producing a crop till the end of the growing season in which case you will need to harvest them in batches along the way. Even though black beans could be picked when the pods are still green, it is best to harvest them when the pods are dry. In case you don’t know exactly when to harvest, bite into a bean and check the teeth marks. No teeth marks means that the beans are dry and mature enough for harvesting. A dry sunny day will be great for harvesting your black beans, however if you face a spell of rain at harvesting time, the whole plants can be uprooted from the soil and hung upside down indoors for picking of the dry pods.
The pods, once picked off the plants, should be dried out further for ease of cracking. Remove the bean seeds from the pods once they are dry by cracking them open lengthways, then dry them out in a single layer for several days. Any moisture remaining in the beans could cause them to decay or go moldy, so don’t skip this step. Store the beans in sealed plastic bags or jars. Black beans can be stored for up to 12 months while still maintaining their flavor and nutritional value. A small pack of dried milk powder added into the bag or jar will act as a desiccant and help to prevent mold development.
Hopefully by now you have understood how to grow black beans clearly. our guidelines above should be helpful as a reference for your planting plan. A fruitful black bean crop is sure to be ahead of you follow our simple guide. Give it a try and enjoy making delicious black bean dishes with your own homegrown crop.