Good soil is the foundation of any garden. Fertile, well-drained soil is necessary to support plant life.
Unfortunately, the soil around my home is absolute rubbish. It’s a lifeless clay-filled mess, which will probably take me a few years to get up to speed.
Thankfully, there is a solution to the problem.
I love beans. They’re nutrient-rich, buttery little packets of awesome. They’re a great source of proteins and trace minerals and contain hardly any fats or cholesterol.
They’re also excellent for marginally conditioning the soil. Their roots contain nodules of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that pull nitrogen from the air into the ground, fertilising it in a form that is easily usable by other plants.
Beans are seriously the best plant in any condition that I know of. They’re easy to sprout and grow, needing only a little bit of water and warmth to get going, which is why they’re a favourite of Primary School science projects. I pretty much ignore mine once they’re in the ground past the sprouting stage. As Ursula Vernon of Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap says, “If God wishes the beans to be watered, He would send the rain.”
I mean, just look at them. All I did was stick them in the ground with a tiny bit of compost and they thrive!
Admittedly, I did have to stake the beans to ensure the best harvest – we grow pole beans at the New Castle of Corke. However, particularly lazy gardeners can always plant a bush variety of beans, like green beans, which don’t need staking at all!
We’ve had a pretty good harvest of Borlotti, Rattlesnake and Butter beans here, but more on that another day!