BENEFITS OF BEANS
Legumes are mostly known for their association with nitrogen. When you see a fallow cane field with a strange low broadleaf crop, it is probably a bean variety.
There’s some strange little friendly bacteria (not all of them are enemies) call rhizobium. It is a soil-borne bacteria that attaches itself as a nodule to a plant root and works at ‘fixing’ nitrogen.
If you followed the stories recently with the phenomena of why everything after a thunder and lightning storm always looks fresh and green, this is the same experience. The electricity generated by the lightning in the atmosphere ‘fixes’ atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use readily. It’s like a big hit that is absorbed by the plant immediately.
Legumes and rhizobium do the same in the ground. Just about any tree or plant with a pod is usually a legume. The weed tree leucaena is a vigorous legume. It was introduced as fodder for cattle in times of drought. It is so good for this purpose the trees are smashed by cattle for its cattle cuisine value. To us it’s a pest. But if you were to demolish the tree and compost it into the soil it would have the same benefit of providing nitrogen to the soil.
Broad beans, purple runner beans (that turn green when cooked), navy beans (the one used in baked beans), borlotti, butter beans, chick peas are all pulses we know and use more often than we think. Red kidney beans that are the central ingredient in a good chili con carne are easy to grow from seed. Most beans don’t like being transplanted. Like all beans, red kidney like welldrained, rich soil.
The good thing about beans of any kind is you can grow them in a pot in a corner with a trellis for some support, and you have a great source of protein and fibre. They like a liquid fertiliser on a very regular basis to keep up with the nutrition required by a beanstalk that can grow up to 1m a day and finish up like Jack and his beanstalk.
Beanz may meanz many things, but they are easy to grow, have some of the best health benefits and have a range of tasty applications.