Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fortex Bean

70 days. An early and productive gourmet delight. The exceptionally long, medium-green pods grow to over 10 inches long. This stringless French pole bean can be harvested at 6-7 inches for extra slender filet beans. Scrumptious when fresh, the rich, sweet flavor is a welcome treat. Fine restaurant or specialty market farmers should grow this one. The 6 foot tall vigorous plants require trellising. Dark brown seeds. Resistant to Anthracnose and Bean Common Mosaic Viruses. OP.

"These refined French/filet beans, or haricots verts, are harvested at less than 1/4 inch in diameter. At this stage these beans are very tender, stringless, and flavorful. For the highest quality beans, harvest frequently during peak production.

CULTURE: For growing information, refer to the Bush Bean culture box. Optimum soil temperature for germination is 65-85°F. Days to emergence: 8-16.
BUSH BEAN CULTURE: Bush beans are one of the most trouble-free garden crops and mature just ahead of pole beans. Beans like warm soil and will not germinate if the soil temperature is below 60°F. Optimum soil temperature range is 65-85°F. You can expect emergence in 8-16 days depending on the variety. In a well worked bed, plant the seeds 2-3 inches apart and 1 inch deep in rows 18-36 inches apart. Thinning is rarely necessary. Beans are relatively light feeders. One cup of our complete fertilizer per 10 row feet will provide adequate nutrition. Excess nitrogen results in excess foliage with poor pod set and delayed maturity. Optimum pH is in the range of 5.5-6.5, mildly acidic. Beans are shallow rooted and can require up to 1/4 inch of water a day during hot weather. Mulch around the roots to help conserve moisture.
DISEASE: Beans are subject to numerous diseases. Avoid wetting the foliage, remove plants at the end of the year, and practice a 4-year crop rotation to prevent potential problems.
INSECTS: Mexican bean beetles and bean weevils can significantly damage young seedlings. To treat, dust them with Rotenone. Optimum soil conditions foster vigorous plants, which can help plant growth outpace insect damage.
HARVEST: Green beans are ready for harvest about 2 weeks after bloom. Pick when the pods are nearly full size and the seeds are still small. Pods at this stage have firm, crispy flesh and are low in fiber content. Keep plants well picked to extend harvest and increase yield. Plant short rows for fresh eating; plant longer rows to have additional beans for canning and freezing. A 20 foot row will feed the average family of 4, unless heavy canning is anticipated.
SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 80%. Usual seed life: 2-3 years. One ounce plants 12-15 row feet, 1/2 pound for 100 row feet; 1/2 pound is 8 ounces. Seed counts are listed in the variety description.

WHEN TO PLANT: Sow seeds (of Phaseolus vulgaris) when all danger of frost is past. An exception, the Royal Burgundy purple bean, can be planted as early as three weeks before the last expected frost, because it is less prone to rot in cold soil. The planting of Royal Burgundy we make in later April usually pays off in beans by the end of June.
Make succession plantings of bush beans, which bear heavily but for a short period of time. Neither the bush nor the pole beans transplant well. I always put in a late planting at then of July to bear in early fall when cools nights have sent the bean beetles on their way.
HOW TO PLANT: Briefly presoak bush bean seeds for an hour or two and plant 2-3" apart in single rows, 4-5" apart in double rows, with 15-24" between rows. Inoculate after soaking.
GROWING CONDITIONS: Beans are sensitive to an excess of potash in the soil, a fact I learned the hard way one year when I planted pole beans in a spot where a big, heavy, wet bag of wood ash had burst and spilled the previous year.
VARIETIES: Pole beans begin to bear somewhat later but continue longer then bush beans. They should be planted in a circle around each pole. about 8 to 10 seeds per pole. Thin them to four or five plants. These taller growing vines should be planted on the north side of the garden to avoid shading other plants.
Scarlet runner beans, which may be eaten when young before they develop strings, accept cooler soil then snap beans and may be planted one to two weeks earlier. Nick and presoak the seeds before planting.

PURCHASED: 1oz from Territorial Seed Co. Jan '09. $4.20

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