Gardening Tip of the Week: Over-watering vs. Under-watering

by Leslie Cox; Monday; July 27, 2020

Over-watering your pots and garden is worse than under-watering them. It is much easier to revive a dry plant than it is to dry out drowned roots. Unless, of course, you have ignored your watering chore for too long.

Bean ‘Dragon Tongue’

Phaseolus vulgaris     Family: Fabaceae
(fa-SEE-o-lus  vul-GAR-is)
Common name: Dragon’s Tongue; Dragon Langerie
Zone: 3 – 10; tender annual
Height: 24-30 in (60-75 cm)  Spread: 18 in (45 cm)
Aspect: full sun; part sun
Soil: fertile; friable; moist
Water: regular

Days to Maturity: From seed 55 – 65 days
Seed life: 3 years

 

Description: Romano, or wax bush type bean with 6 – 8 inch (15 – 20 cm) long cream-coloured pods streaked with purple. There are 4 – 6 light brown with dark mottling seeds in each stringless pod. High yielding with excellent flavour. Pick young to eat as snap beans or allow to mature for shelling beans.

 

Special Notes: An open-pollinated Dutch heritage bean dating back to the 18th century. Having been cultivated throughout much of North, Central and South America, these beans have adapted to a wide range of heat and humidity levels.

 

How to Grow: Direct sow seeds in garden when soil temperature is a minimum of 15.5 °C (60 °F) and all danger of frost has passed. Optimum soil temperature is 29 °C (85 °F). Sow seeds to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm) and 2 – 3 inches (5 – 7.5 cm) apart. Allow 36 – 48 inches (0.9 – 1.2 m) between rows. Seeds will germinate in 8 – 16 days, depending on soil temperature. Thin plants to at least 6 inches (15 cm) when plants have reached about 2 inches (5 cm).

Sow seeds for successive crops every 3 weeks until the end of July.

Harvest between 55 – 65 days. Leave beans on plants to mature if you are growing for dried beans. The more often you harvest, the bigger your yield will be.

 

Special Growing Notes: Beans prefer a soil pH of 6.0 – 6.5. Work some Dolomite lime into acidic soils about two weeks before seeding. Adding peat to alkaline soils will lower the pH.

Working some Complete Organic Fertilizer into the row before seeding is a good soil amendment. It contains the necessary nutrients and some lime to adjust the soil pH. Find the recipe here. Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer can impede pod set and delay maturity.

 

How to Use: The smaller the beans, the more tender so pick often for eating raw or steamed. If growing for drying, leave pods until they are turning a creamy-yellow colour and pods are rigid. Allow pods to dry completely before shelling. Dry beans for another two weeks in a dry, airy room.

 

Pests & Diseases: Wet conditions can be detrimental to bean plants. Be sure to have good air circulation between bean plants to deter powdery mildew. Never harvest bean pods when leaves are wet.

 Variegated cutworm (Peridroma saucia) and beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) are two pests which enjoy devouring the newly emerging first leaves and leave just the stem as evidence there was once a plant coming up. Pillbugs (Armadillidium vulgare), thrips and spider mites can also be slightly problematic.

 

In our Zone 7a garden: I first trialed this bean variety for my Growing Sprouts School Garden program in 2012. The name of the bean and unusual colouring were such a hit with the students, they enjoyed eating their home-grown beans come harvest time. Lots of comments on how good they were. (Honestly, there were few kids who said they did not want to eat any.)

The worst problem we have growing any bean variety are the cutworms. Typically, I have to re-seed at least a dozen because the first plants have had their first leaves nipped off.

 

Posted on July 23, 2020

 

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