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Beans

Beans

History

Beans originated in Central America.

What are they

Beans belong to the pea (Fabaceae) family. They require warm temperatures for growth and yields. The immature pods are eaten as a fresh vegetable.  Two types of fresh beans are grown, with production divided between the climbing or runner bean and the dwarf bean, which has a number of names, such as French, bush, snap or stringless beans.

How are they grown

Optimum air temperatures for good yields and quality are 16°C to 30°C. A frost-free period of 120 days is required. Where temperatures exceed 35°C, pollination of flowers may be poor and beans may be short, flat and curled with many second grade and reject beans.

Where are they grown

All Australian states.

Variety

French and Runner.

How to know when they are ripe

Harvesting occurs about two weeks after flowering. First picking occurs 7 to 11 weeks are planting, depending upon season.

Pick beans when they are over 15cm in length, with half-sized seeds. Younger beans wilt rapidly. Best quality beans are straight with smooth pods.

Dwarf beans are picked two to five times over 7 to 15 days, when the beans are 10 to 13cm long, depending on variety.

Baby beans can be picked for gourmet markets. These are less than 10cm long.

Seasonality

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

Beans should be planted in a sheltered area. Winds damage leaves and destroy flowers, and pods are deformed when they rub against supports, leaves and stems.

Temperatures below 10°C during flowering and pod setting may result in curling and russetting of pods.

Local market

Fresh and processed.

Storage

Store beans at 4.5 to 6.0°C at 90 to 95% relative humidity for one to three weeks. Bacterial soft rot and Sclerotinia may appear in the middle of packages if beans are packed when wet.

Nutrition

They contain good levels of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Packaging

Cool beans to 4.5 to 6.0°C immediately after harvesting. Grade beans during picking. Pack into 22L or 36L plastic crates or 10kg cartons.

For good presentation and extra life, dwarf beans and baby beans may be packed into 300g punnets and covered with clear plastic, with 12 punnets stacked on a tray.

Do not market over-mature, small, misshapen or blemished beans. Reject beans may amount to a quarter of the crop.

 

Information from:

 Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/beans/growing-fresh-runner-and-dwarf-beans-western-australia (January 2016)