UACES Facebook Beans
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June 1, 2016

QuestionI have a large planting of Kentucky Wonder pole beans that have huge vines and absolutely no flowers or beans.  They get plenty of sunlight.  What can I do to encourage flowers--should I use more fertilizer or water more?  I enriched the soil well with compost at planting, and have fertilized twice.  All of my other plants are doing great.


AnswerYou have probably created too rich an environment for your beans.  They are so busy growing they simply haven’t slowed down enough to set fruit.  No more fertilization needs to be done, or you will make the problem worse--especially with nitrogen.  Try topping the vines back, and cutting back on your watering.  What you want to do is stress them so they will stop growing and start producing.  Beans are low nitrogen users and if over fertilized will not produce well. 



September 2010

QuestionCan you identify the attached picture? The bean it produces is over 12 inches in length. Is it edible?


AnswerIt is a Jack bean, Canavalia ensiformis. It does produce large beans which are edible, but if you were to compare it to other beans, the quality is not very good. It is an old plant that often self-seeds around old home sites. It is related to kudzu and was often used as an ornamental because of it’s pretty purple flowers and fast growth. It is not invasive like kudzu, but is a tough plant.

April 2006

QuestionI was given a beautiful bean called "Anasazi", a dark brown and white speckled bean, which when cooked looks like a light pinto bean, but very flavorful. My question is...can I raise them? I am going to plant some and see if they germinate. Any info you can give me, will be deeply appreciated.


AnswerThe anasazi bean is a dry bean that historically was grown by the Anasazi's of the 4 corner's region of the southwest. It is reported to be an ancient cultivar dating back more than 2500 years. In the present, the name Anasazi is held as a registered trademark by Adobe Milling Co., Dove Creek, CO, and beans with this seed coat pattern cannot be sold under the name Anasazi unless authorized by Adobe Milling. But there are many other cultivars with similar maroon and white spotted seed coat patterns and properties. These are: Jacob's Cattle, Trout bean, Cave bean to name a few. These are usually harvested as dry beans and this is the difficulty in growing them in Arkansas. You can grow them here, but not with the success that they have in Colorado where most are grown commercially. I would plant them as you would plant green beans or snap beans but space the plants out to about 2 plants per row foot. Beans do not respond to heavy nitrogen fertilization, but need adequate amounts of P and K. Soil pH needs to be 6 or above. They can have all the same pests and disease as green beans, so monitor for problems. It may take as long as 90 or more days to go to dry seed. You may wish to harvest the pods and shell out the seed and lay them out in your house to dry further. Seed will store until the next year if kept below 50 % relative humidity, and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.