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Green beans

Green beans

Grow green beans

They are among the most popular vegetables, even by children, as their delicate flavor is pleasant even for those who do not like the strong flavors characteristic of other vegetables, such as artichokes or broccoli; the high fiber content makes them excellent legumes, and the fact that they also contain many proteins, like all legumes, makes them an excellent product to bring to the table every day for our family.

Green beans (also called cornetti) are beans in all respects, but they have been selected as their fruits can also be eaten unripe; therefore when we eat green beans we are practically eating all the unripe pods, including small beans not yet developed; this fact makes green beans lighter and richer in fiber than beans.

Beans have been cultivated by man for millennia, but perhaps not everyone knows that "modern" beans, that is the varieties that we find available in sowing bags, and those that we find at the market, are almost not related to the beans that they ate our ancestors; these legumes are naturally spread all over the globe, but in Europe and Asia until a few centuries ago only beans belonging to the vine genus were cultivated. Of these ancient beans, only a few kinds still remain in cultivation, an example are the azuki beans, much loved in Asia, or the common eye beans, much loved in Italy.

All the other beans that we commonly eat, from green beans to eat everything to borlotti beans, from purple to Spanish white beans, have originated by hybridizing species and genera of North American origin; so these are varieties that spread around the world after 1492.

The choice to abandon the varieties originating from the vine genus, for the varieties derived from the phaseolus genus, was dictated by the fact that the American beans have a much higher productivity.


Green beans cultivation

There are many beans that can be eaten unripe, and therefore there are many varieties of green beans; the typical croissants are green, about 7-10 cm long and quite thin; however, there are yellow, purple beans, up to 50 cm long, wide and flattened.

In addition to green beans there are the so-called beans eat everything, or snow peas, platters (each Italian region has a different name for this legume); these are vegetables very similar to green beans in flavor, but larger and with a flattened section, generally with a slightly more leathery pod, which requires more prolonged cooking. The cornetti produce a beautiful bush, and there are varieties with dwarf development or with climbing development; this feature must be considered at the time of planting, as before sowing it is advisable to prepare a support network for climbing plants.


Growing needs of green beans

They are sown directly at home, preparing postarelle at a distance of about 25-40 cm, in rows at least 35-45 cm apart; the soil must be well worked and rich, with a soft mixture. Like all legumes, green beans also live in symbiosis with bacteria that fix the nitrogen present in the air and make it available for the roots of plants; for this reason it is not necessary to provide fertilizers with a high nitrogen content.

The cultivation of beans, green beans and peas, instead of plundering the soil of the mineral salts it contains, tends to enrich it with nitrogen; for this reason it is important to include these legumes in a correct rotation of vegetables in the garden, especially by sowing them following vegetables that have a high demand for mineral salts, such as zucchini.

The sowing takes place from April, in the open field, until September, to climb every month, on different flower beds, to have a continuous harvest throughout the summer; in some regions with very hot summers, sowing is skipped in June and July, but resumed in late August, in order to have at least one last autumn harvest. Green beans are remontant, so a single bed can bear fruit for a few weeks, which are eaten fresh. It is not a difficult to grow vegetable, they generally need regular watering at the time of planting and until the seedlings are at least 20-25 cm high; then water when the soil is dry.


Green beans: Parasites and diseases

The croissants are produced from fairly vigorous and resistant shrubs, which do not require special care; Summer drought and heat can lead to premature foliage loss, and pods may even dry out or remain small in size. Proper irrigation generally solves the problem, even if in regions with very hot summers, croissants are avoided in the height of summer, or varieties that are particularly resistant to drought are chosen.

The leaves are covered with a thin down, which makes them sticky to the touch; during the cool and humid months it often happens that these leaves are colonized by aphids, which must be eliminated before the plant goes to flower, with special insecticides.

A very hot and dry climate instead promotes the development of mites, which are kept away from the leaves of green beans simply by watering the flower beds regularly, especially in the absence of rain.

Sometimes it happens that these plants are affected by fungi or other parasites, especially when a correct rotation is not followed in the garden, or in the case of very exploited or exhausted soil; this type of fungal diseases are prevented with proper crop care, good rotation of the vegetables inside the garden, and disinfection and tillage of the soil before planting the new plants, in late winter and autumn.


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