Learning Download: How to Grow Sprouts
Sprouting is a technique that uses water to germinate seeds, which are then eaten. Sprouts are a good option to grow for beginners, as they take only a week or two before they are ready to eat.
Before Planting: Sprouts may be grown in a clean, wide-mouth glass canning jar, sprouting tray or a commercial sprouter.
Planting: If sprouting in a glass jar, place the correct amount of seed in the glass jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth or other porous material, and secure with a rubber band. Fill the jar ½ full with lukewarm water and soak overnight. In the morning, drain off water. The cloth will keep the seeds in the jar. Rinse seeds with lukewarm water again and let drain. Put the container on its side in a dark location that stays about 60–70°F. At least twice each day, rinse with lukewarm water and drain. Continue rinse cycle until harvest.
Watering: Sprouts don’t require soil to grow, just water to germinate and a little bit of time before they are ready to consume.
Fertilizer: Fertilization is not necessary.
Days to Maturity: Since sprouts are ready for consumption in as little as a week to two weeks.
Harvesting: When sprouts have reached the desired length or have their first tiny green leaves, expose them to light for a few hours to color them up. Sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Tips: Precautions should be taken when consuming sprouts as they are grown in warm, moist conditions which also is the prime growing environment for bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. Sprouts are easily perishable, so refrigerate them and consume as quickly as possible. It is safest to cook the sprouts, as the heat will kill any bacteria growing there, and it is suggested that children, the elderly and anyone who is ill should not consume sprouts.
Learning Download: How to Grow Beans
Beans are referred to as a number of names including snap beans, string beans and green beans. Known as being one of the more productive garden crops, they are a warm weather favorite that can be eaten straight from the garden.
Before Planting: Beans prefer full sun, at least 6-8 hours a day. The soil temperature should be above 60°F before planting for best germination rates, and they do best with soil temperatures in the 70-80°F range. Beans don’t need the best soil conditions to thrive as they are often used to improve soil conditions because they will fix nitrogen in the soil. The preferred soil pH is about 5.8 to 6.5. Green beans can be successfully grown in containers.
Planting: For bush beans, plant the seeds about 1-1.5 inches deep, maybe 2 inches deep in the summer for a fall planting. The rows should be 2.5 to 3 feet apart. After the beans are up, thin the plants to 3 to 4 inches apart. For pole beans, plant 1 inch deep and 3 feet apart. Place a stake between each planted seed. As the bean vines mature, they will grow up the stakes. To ensure bean germination in each location plant 2-3 seeds.
Watering: Water beans with about 1 inch of water a week. Do not let the soil get dry while the beans are blooming or the blooms will drop and yields will be decreased. If possible, avoid wetting leaves. This will help minimize plant diseases.
Fertilizer: After the plants begin to flower and set beans, apply 1/2 cup of general purpose fertilizer for every 10 feet of row. Scatter the fertilizer between the rows. This will help the plants produce more beans. Water the plants after fertilizing. You can also side dress the rows with general purpose fertilizer at planting time.
Days to Maturity: Ranges from 60-75 days depending on variety. If planted early many areas can produce a fall crop.
Harvesting: Beans should be picked while the pods still snap, and the beans have not filled the pod out completely. Beans get tough and stringy if allowed to grow too big. If beans are picked when they are ready, the plants will continue producing for several weeks. When harvesting, use two hands to hold the bean and pull it from the stem, yanking it off the stem with one hand can often damage the plant.
Storing: Store fresh beans in plastic bags or in other containers in the refrigerator. They usually can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so. Some varieties can also be canned or frozen.
Pests & Diseases: Molds, bacterial, and wilt diseases are common. These problems are most frequent in wet weather, heat, and humidity. If spots appear on leaves or bean pods, treat the plant with an approved fungicide. Before using a pesticide, read the label. Always follow cautions, warnings and directions. Most varieties of beans are susceptible to a variety of insects and rodents, most notably beetles. Rabbits can eat the tender new leaves. A rabbit fence may be necessary to keep them from ruining your crop.
Disease Resistance Abbreviations: C – Common Bean Mosaic; CT – Curly Top; N – New York 15 Virus; P – Pod Mottle; R – Rust
Tips: Beans can be harvested at any size as long as the pods are firm and crisp. Be sure to pick beans frequently to ensure the crop keeps producing. Try using organic mulches, such as straw, grass clippings, or composted leaves to help to retain moisture and control weeds.
Learning Download: How to Grow Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are high in protein and often used to make hummus or supplement protein in a vegetarian diet. They are commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes. This plant is a member of the legume family.
Before Planting: Prior to planting, add an organic compost and mix it into the soil because this will help improve the soil and increase its water draining capability.
Planting: Plant garbanzo beans once daytime temperatures are between 70-80 degrees. Plant the beans 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart.
Watering: Water regularly to keep the soil moist.
Fertilizer: Once the garbanzo bean plants are approximately one month old, begin them on a regular feeding schedule with an all-purpose fertilizer to increase yields.
Days to Maturity: It takes approximately 100 days for garbanzo bean seeds to reach the mature state.
Harvesting: If you plan on eating them fresh, pick the pods when they are still small and green and then eat them how you would eat snap beans. However, you can dry them as well.
Tips: Garbanzo beans prefer full sun, but they will tolerate partial shade. However, it grown in partial shade, you will likely notice a reduction in the bean yield.