Growing Beans in a Hydroponic System
Beans are one of the most productive and low-maintenance vegetable plants that you can grow in a hydroponic system. There are many different delicious varieties of beans to choose from, but some of the most popular types are the pole bean, the string bean (also known as the green bean), the lima bean (also known as the butter bean), and the pinto bean. Although there are many types of beans, all of them are ideal for home gardeners since they require very little maintenance and produce large quantities of pods.
Bean varieties are typically categorized by growth habit. The two types of bean growth categories are bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans can stand erect on their own and usually do not require extra support. On the other hand, pole beans may require some additional support due to their twining vines. However, both of these types grow extremely well in the Bio-Tower.
How to Grow Beans – Seeds or Starts
Beans seeds are some of the fastest and easiest seeds to germinate. Most varieties germinate within 1-2 weeks, although some bean plants emerge in as little as 5 days. Once your seed has transformed into a healthy start with several leaves, it is ready to be inserted into your hydroponic system. Bush beans are typically planted 2-4 inches apart, while pole beans are usually spaced 4-6 inches apart.
Make sure to remember the growth habit for your particular bean variety so that you can best determine what kind of support system may be needed for your plants. Some pole beans may require a trellis or similar support to allow the plant to climb and expand. However, thanks to the elevated height of the Bio-Tower system, your pole beans will always have plenty of room to grow on any type of support system you choose.
Beans are a self-pollinating plant so there is no need to worry about having to manually pollinate your beans.
How to Grow Beans – Light, Temperature, and Nutrient Requirements
Beans respond well to full sunlight. The more sunlight you give your plants the more beans you will harvest!
Ideally the temperature for bean plants should remain between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 65 to 70 degrees during the nighttime. Pod development may be affected if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees or goes below 60 degrees.
Beans do not require excessive amounts of nutrients. Typically, the best pH for beans is between the range of 6.0 and 6.5. Beans may also benefit from trace mineral supplements that can be added as the plants ripen.
How to Grow Beans – Harvesting
Harvest time depends on the type of beans you are growing. However, if you plant every 2 to 3 weeks, you can ensure that you will have a continual harvest throughout the summer and into early fall. Most bean varieties produce a harvest within 60 days. However, with a little research you can easily determine the precise harvest times for your particular bean variety.
How to Grow Beans – Pests and Diseases
Mexican Bean beetles and aphids are the most common pests that attack beans, although there are many other pests that find bean plants delicious. Ladybugs are an excellent natural method for clearing your plants of aphids. Mexican Bean Beetles can be hand-picked off the plant. There are also many natural insecticides that organic gardeners can use.
The most common fungal disease that plagues beans is white mold. White mold typically arises when the leaves of a bean plant are too moist and too cool. Fortunately for hydroponic gardeners, white mold is a soil-borne fungus so it is rarely found in Bio-Tower systems. However, maintaining the plant at its proper temperature and allowing the leaves to dry is a good way to avoid white mold. Contact your local gardening store to discover more ways to treat and avoid pests or diseases that are common to your area.