Baby Bush Beans
The weather forecast is looking promising, with nighttime temperatures staying above 5C, so it's time to start hardening off my baby bush beans before planting outside, when the outdoor daytime temperatures reach at least 15C/60F.
The reason we need to acclimatise vegetable seedlings grown indoors before setting out is that the waxy cuticle that protects the upper and lower leaf surfaces from desiccation from sun and wind has not been fully formed in their indoor, pampered upbringing.
Hardening off is the transition period between cozy indoor growing conditions to the great outdoors. Starting with a few hours during a warm day, I leave them in a sheltered site, away from strong winds and blazing sun, and then bring them indoors after a couple of hours.
After a few days of this, extend their time outside for a few more days - they will then be ready for planting out, as long as the weather warms up.
I like growing bush beans rather than pole beans as I grow them in raised beds, where space is at a premium. Also, bush beans tend to do better than pole beans in the hot, dry summers we have here in Pemberton, and are more hardy in colder temperatures.
Although bush beans don't reach the heights of pole beans, I still like to plant them among bamboo teepees to keep them off the ground, and secretly, because I love the vertical look of bamboo teepees!
Bush beans have a large harvest over a short time frame, so once I plant my bush bean seedlings, it won't be long before I am starting another set to be planted out once the first group is at the end of their life cycle.
Harvesting every couple of days is ideal to keep the plant putting it's energy in creating more pods. Like most plants, the more you pick, the better they taste and the plant will be urged to create more beans! If you wait too long, the beans grow too large and become stringy and tough.
At the end of the season, don't forget to keep some seed pods on the plant for drying, and using for your garden next year!