2017-03-16 / Home & Garden

Peas and beans are good for the body ... and the soil

Choices abound for an easy bounty of goodness.

I am guilty of eating while I harvest when it comes to Sugar Snap peas. They are like green candy. I try to get three plantings of these green goodnesses. I plant them in September for a November harvest, in October for a January harvest and again in January for a March harvest. They can last into May some years then they succumb to the heat.

Peas such as Snow, Sugar snap and Green peas prefer the cooler months. They can be planted monthly starting in September to extend harvest over the cooler months. They do require trellising but are worth the effort.

Green beans are not all green. There are yellows, purples and striped Dragons Tongue and Rattle Snake colors. Raw, boiled, brazed, fried, canned or pickled beans are versatile for eating. Beans are a good producer for the panhandle and can either be trellised pole beans or grown for space saving as a bush bean. Traditional green beans can be prolific. They are a warm season plant and are not high maintenance. There are varieties that grow foot long beans. Beans can be harvested as dry beans and are easy to store. They can be frozen or canned.


Beans can be grown on trellises or as bushes. Beans can be grown on trellises or as bushes. Peas like it cool. Beans like it hot. I plant beans once the temperature is in the 80’s. This is convenient as when the cool weather lettuces, greens and peas come out the beans go in. I like variety so I plant a rainbow of different colors, textures, shapes and sizes.

I usually plant bush beans and replant them several times through the summer. Pole beans give an overall greater yield but the older plants create an invite to critters, molds and bugs. Replanting the bush beans helps with garden hygiene.

I use legumes as a soil builder in between crops of different varieties. Peas and beans help fix nitrogen in the soil and are good transitional crops between cucurbits, (cucumbers and squash, etc.) and night shades, (tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, etc.).

The pea and bean leaves, stalks and stems go in the compost pile as a soil builder as well. Protein for the body and nitrogen for the soil makes legumes an important part of the back yard garden. The beans sprout fast and grow rapidly. They are not very susceptible to bugs and diseases and grow well in the cold or heat. They can literally grow year round here. Don’t forget the Purple Hulls, Black Eyed Peas and Lima Beans.

Gardening pays off in exercise, therapy, planning, weather skills, beauty and you get to eat the fruits of your labors.

The panhandle frustrates many gardeners but for those who are willing the rewards are many. I am dedicated to helping others and will answer questions or offer advice. Feel free to call 934-1919 if you want to talk gardening. I am also available for presentations. Gotta go for now. I have some seeds to plant.

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