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Old 08-10-2013, 08:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Beans as ground cover?

Ok I have a bizarre question if you will humor me. I know that many types of beans are grown on poles or trellis since they vine. Has anyone ever heard of using them as a ground cover and letting them crawl all over the place? I know they fix nitrogen, can be attractive and perhaps I can get some beans while I am at it. Has anyone tried this? I'm just tired of weeding. Call me a lazy gardener, but in this Florida heat, weeding is no fun and all the rains sends the weeds into overdrive.

Of course if anyone thinks that this will attract all kinds of varmits, then forget I even mentioned it.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

Generally, yes. My greenhouse, which is kind of like FL (extreme humidity, temps in the 80-100 degrees) has loads of beans in it and many when they can't find something to climb will simply form their own pole/mass of tangled beans upward, then fall over due to weight and crawl along the ground as a mass. Eventually they will cover the ground entirely, and provide excellent weed control as well as natural method to cool the soil and keep it moist longer. But of course, remember to use pole beans not bush beans.

Even though my beans are all grown in pots and kiddie pools, they become such a "ground cover" without trellising (or when they don't want to go up trellising supports, haha) that they quickly cover all the paths with a thick mass of green.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Illia View Post
Generally, yes. My greenhouse, which is kind of like FL (extreme humidity, temps in the 80-100 degrees) has loads of beans in it and many when they can't find something to climb will simply form their own pole/mass of tangled beans upward, then fall over due to weight and crawl along the ground as a mass. Eventually they will cover the ground entirely, and provide excellent weed control as well as natural method to cool the soil and keep it moist longer. But of course, remember to use pole beans not bush beans.

Even though my beans are all grown in pots and kiddie pools, they become such a "ground cover" without trellising (or when they don't want to go up trellising supports, haha) that they quickly cover all the paths with a thick mass of green.
Ooooooo Cool. Do they still produce beans at a good rate? To you knowledge do they attract any rodents? This might make my life some much easier. When they do grow on the ground, do they root?
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

They do not rot, they do not root, and they still produce well. I haven't compared between growing upright, though, but I'm pleased with how it goes. As long as you check on them and make sure there's a fair amount of light coming through and not too much entanglement. Beans are actually pretty shade tolerant even during fruiting though. As for rodents, we don't have rodent problems at all with anything out here so I don't know if the beans make a difference. I doubt it though. I've seen rats try and get into the livestock feed, but very rarely.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

I think i'm gonna go for it!
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

If I were you I'd still let them climb obstacles here and there though. But remember, when happy they really will over-take things. And faster than you think. But, the reward is some of those heirloom types taste SOOO good. Good Mother Stallard is a soup/chili type bean that is my all-time favorite. Not the highest production compared to some others, but worth it. It literally has a meaty taste to it, and really makes chili, refried beans, or related dishes taste so much better. Plus it's very pretty, a speckled deep red and white.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Illia View Post
If I were you I'd still let them climb obstacles here and there though. But remember, when happy they really will over-take things. And faster than you think. But, the reward is some of those heirloom types taste SOOO good. Good Mother Stallard is a soup/chili type bean that is my all-time favorite. Not the highest production compared to some others, but worth it. It literally has a meaty taste to it, and really makes chili, refried beans, or related dishes taste so much better. Plus it's very pretty, a speckled deep red and white.
Good Mother Stallard*... thanks fir the info I got a south facing wall I can place some netting on an plant them ti try.. My only problem with pole beans is none if them ever makes it into the kitchen.. I seem to consume all that I pickas I pick them. Something about raw green beans that turns a otherwise normal guy into a ravinious eating machine.. Latley I been eating them with a little stevia "Bam" I'm talking sweet candy green beans... Woo Hoo..
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

Nice! I thought I was the only one who likes 'em raw. Personally my favorite raw variety to try, plus they're gorgeous, are Dragon Tongue. They don't have as much "green" taste than others for some reason, plus, they're a beautiful purple speckled light green in color.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

A wile back maybe a month ago PR-Giants posted this link
The Overstory #29--Tropical Green Manures/Cover Crops
It has lots of real information relating to Beans as Ground cover.. They The good folks who have worked on this style of farming call it "Green manure". I have been toying with the idea because I simply do not want to mow around 17 banana trees. Yea call me lazy I dont mind at all.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

Commelina longifolia ?
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
Muck bananas
 
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Default Re: Beans as ground cover?

Commelina can host Cucumber Mosaic Virus.
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