Soil preparation


I'm growing my beans on a patch of land, the only patch I have that is suitable for bean growth. It really is the only suitable bit for the amount of beans I want to grow.

I will be growing beans on them next year as well.

This year, when my beans are over, presumably I do NOT leave the roots in the ground. i know they fix nitrogen in the soil, but if I'm growing beans again, nitrogen in the soil is not what I want, right? Could I feed the roots to the worms in my wormery (that I don't have yet but hopefully will have by the end of summer) so all that lovely nitrogen goes into the vermicompost?

What should I add to the soil to make it ok for growing beans again?

Yep, that sounds like a good plan to me. Beans don't like having cold, wet feet, so next year you could work in some sharp sand to improve drainage (if it needs it), and some well rotted manure. Something organic like Fish, Blood and Bone (mmm, just the thing for a veggie - get A to do it!) worked through the soil might help too. It DOES contain nitrogen, but it also has a good amount of phosphates and potash in it. From what I understand, nitrogen is lost pretty quickly from most soils anyway so nature should balance things out.

Or.....once your beans are over for this year, if you leave the roots in, you could plant out some overwintering brassicas - they ADORE nitrogen and will take any excess out of the soil for you, ready for next year. I'm thinking something like purple sprouting brocolli - although you might need to bring them on in a seed-bed and transplant them into the spot once the beans are finished, otherwise you might miss your window of opportunity.

Mind you, says me...who got awfully enthusastic about starting off her French Beans last month, and now has a load of monsters in toilet roll inners and nowhere to put them, as we are still having frosts. I'm just hardening them off at the moment, but I don't know how long they'll last in the limited resources available. Ho hum, mistake number 1 (of many), methinks!