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BROAD BEAN







Faba vulgaris The Broad Bean is a thrifty plant, as hardy as any in the garden, and very accommodating as to soil. It is quite at home on heavy land, but in common with nearly all other vegetables it thrives on a deep sandy loam. Considering the productive nature of the plant and its comparatively brief occupation of the ground, the common Bean must be regarded as one of our most profitable garden crops. Both the Longpod and Windsor classes should be grown. For general work the Longpods are invaluable; they are early, thoroughly hardy, produce heavy crops, and in appearance and flavour satisfy the world at large, as may be proved by appeal to the markets. The Windsor Beans are especially prized for their superior quality, being tender, full of flavour, and, if well managed, most tempting in colour when put upon the table. For early crops the Longpods claim attention, and sowings may be made towards the end of October or during November on a dry soil in a warm situation, sheltered from the north. Choose a dry day for the operation. On no account should the attempt be made while the soil conditions are unfavourable, even if the sowing is thereby deferred for some time. The distance must depend upon the sorts, but two feet will answer generally as the distance between the double rows; the two lines forming the double rows may be nine inches apart, and the seed two inches deep. On strong ground a distance of three feet can be allowed between the double rows, but it is not well to give overmuch space, because the plants protect each other somewhat, and earliness of production is the matter of chief moment. Thoroughly consolidate the soil to encourage sturdy hard growth which will successfully withstand the excessive moisture and cold of winter. It is an excellent practice to prepare a piece of good ground sloping to the south, and on this to make a plantation in February of plants carefully lifted from the seed rows, wherever they can be spared as proper thinnings. These should be put in double rows, three feet apart. If transplanted with care they will receive but a slight check, and will give a successional supply. Main Crops.--Another sowing may be made towards the end of January, but for the main crop wait until February or March. For succession crops sowings may be made until mid-April, after which time there is risk of failure, especially on hot soils. A strong soil is suitable, and generally speaking a heavy crop of Beans may be taken from a well-managed clay. But any deep cool soil will answer, and where there is a regular demand for Beans the cultivator may be advised to grow both Longpods and Windsors--the first for earliness and bulk, the second for quality. The double rows of maincrop Beans should be fully three feet apart, and the plants quite nine inches apart in the rows. The preparation of the seed-bed must be of a generous nature. Where grass land or land of questionable quality is broken up and trenched, it will be tolerably safe to crop it with Beans as a first start; and to prepare it for the crop a good body of fat stable manure should be laid in between the first and second spits, as this will carry the crop through, while insuring to the subsoil that has been brought up a time of seasoning with the least risk of any consequent loss. There is not much more to be said about growing Beans; the ground must be kept clean, and the hoe will have its work here as elsewhere. The pinching out of the tops as soon as there is a fair show of blossom is a good plan, whether fly is visible or not, and it is also advisable to root out all plants as fast as they finish their work, for if left they throw up suckers and exhaust the soil. The gathering of the crop is often so carelessly performed that the supply is suddenly arrested. Sowings under Glass.--In an emergency, Beans may be started in pots in the greenhouse, or on turf sods in frames for planting out, in precisely the same way as Peas for early crops. This practice is convenient in cases where heavy water-logged ground precludes outdoor sowing in autumn and early spring. In all such cases care must be taken that the forcing is of the most moderate character, or the crop will be poor and late, instead of being plentiful and early. When pushed on under glass for planting out, the young stock must have as much light and air as possible consistent with safety, and a slow healthy growth will better answer the purpose than a rapid growth producing long legs and pale leaves, because the physique of infancy determines in a great degree that of maturity, not less in plants than in animals.





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