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November 5, 2012

Improve garden soil with legumes

John Jeavons calls beans "the givers" of the garden. And yes, they are; in more ways than one.

Just picked my second crop of green beans today, what a beautiful bounty.

This season I planted my all-time favorite Kentucky wonder (pole bean), as well as two types of bush beans - Italian and Nash. All of the beans are doing very well and are producing heavily. Beans and other legumes are the givers that improve the soil by binding nitrogen in the air to the soil. After the harvest is done we dig the stalks and leaves into the garden adding to the humus content of the soil. 

The good thing about Florida is that we can grow legumes year round. Maybe that is a gift from mother nature to compensate for our poor soils. But literally, there is not a time when we cannot plant or harvest some sort of legume. 

Right now it is too late, at least in Central Florida, to plant beans, but we can plant peas and Fava beans. That is in fact what I am planning to do this week - plant me some peas and Fava beans. I have about ten Fava seeds that I had for about four years or so, but never gotten around to planting. Hopefully they come up. And peas - we can plant them now, and all the way till March. 

All in all, looks like my Thanksgiving dinner is covered - I am going to try a new recipe this year for the green beans, and the main ingredient in that recipe will be the beans from my garden.


  1. Nice looking beans. Do you like the pole beans more or the bush beans?

    This past weekend we canned 14 quarts of squash and 4 quarts of beans.

  2. Good for you Tim! I don't can the beans (yet), but freeze them. If I run out of freezer space I will start canning.

    I like both types - pole and bush. Of course there is more work involved in supporting pole beans, but bush types need to be "fenced" off a little too as they tend to fall over. Pole beans produce more in my experience, maybe because their harvest season is longer.



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