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There can be nothing more satisfying them heading out into your backyard and collecting a handful of fresh vegetables ready to add to the pot for dinner. Picked, cooked, and eaten within hours rather than days or even weeks as grocery store vegetables might be.
It can however be incredibly frustrating to spend many months lovingly growing a fruit or vegetable, only for something to go wrong prior to the food being ready to harvest.
In this article, I discuss why Green Beans sometimes grow curly rather than straight.
Why are my green beans Curling?
The main cause of Green Beans growing curly is underwatering. Whilst growing, Green Beans require a regular supply of water for the beans to develop properly. If the soil is too dry, or the watering is irregular, the Green Beans will typically grow curled rather than straight.
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In my experience, I find my Green Beans start to curl if I let them go for more than a couple of weeks without watering them, especially if I have them growing undercover where the rain does not water them naturally.
How Often Should You Water Green Beans?
Green Beans need to be watered regularly, especially once the plants have begun to flower and beans are developing.
They need to be watered sufficiently so that the soil stays moist, although not waterlogged. The actual frequency of watering will vary depending on many factors, especially your local climate.
In my own vegetable patch, I will typically water every day during the summer months, perhaps reducing that to every other day during the cooler spring and autumn months.
I will usually give a 10′ (3m) run of Green beans around 1.5-gallons (6 liters) of water every day during the summer.
How Do You Water Green Beans
There are essentially two different ways we can water our Green Beans, and on my own homestead, I employ both methods.
The two main methods we can use to water our beans are drip irrigation and a watering can.
Drip irrigation involves having a porous hose that is connected either directly to a faucet or to a faucet via a timer that can be set to run the irrigation hose every day. A drip irrigation system allows for large areas of the homestead to be watered with little effort from the grower.
Using water cans is far more labor-intensive and not necessarily practical on a large homestead, but I find watering each row of Green Beans manually with a watering can allows me to take a moment to check the crop and make sure no pests or diseases have taken hold of my beans.
Care should be taken to water the soil rather than the foliage, especially when you are growing your Green Beans in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
When Green Beans that are growing under cover have their foliage wet on a regular basis, the extra humidity caused by the water can cause mold or fungus to take over the plant, potentially killing the crop before you have a chance to harvest it.
Checking Soil Moisture Levels
I am often asked ‘How do I check the soil is wet enough for my beans?’.
There is a wide range of gadgets on the market that we can use to measure how moist our soil is. However, I have never really found these necessary, and they can be costly pieces of equipment that you probably do not need.
In my experience, if you gently push your index finger about an inch (2.5cm) into the soil, you will either feel it is moist or dry. If it feels moist, you probably do not need to water your Green Beans. If however, it feels dry, give them a quick water.
Can You Eat Curly Green Beans?
Yes, curly Green Beans are just as good to eat as straight ones. You certainly should not waste them by disregarding them or throwing them on your compost pile.
Whilst I will admit, it takes a little longer to cut the tops and tails off of curly Green Beans, you will not notice any difference in flavor or quality between a straight Green Bean and a curly one.
Does Mulching Help Prevent Green Beans Curling?
Mulching is the practice of laying a thick layer of organic matter around the base of your plants. Mulching reduces weeds growing around your plants and reduces the amount of moisture lost from your soil by evaporation.
Whilst mulching around your Green Beans does not directly prevent the beans from curling, it does help by ensuring as much moisture stays in the soil as possible, rather than allowing it to evaporate into the atmosphere.
The main reason your Green Beans are curling is due to a lack of moisture when the beans are developing.
To form straight, plump Green Beans, the plant requires a steady supply of water, which usually means keeping the soil moist, although not too wet.
If the soil is too wet, there is a chance the plant may rot at the base or the roots can be subject to mold or fungus, killing the plant.
If you found this article useful, why not check out one I wrote recently titled ‘Why are my chili pepper seedlings dying?’