Not all beans need additional nutrients after planting. We show which beans need them and what needs to be considered when fertilizing.
Whether haricot beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris ) or field beans ( Vicia faba ) (also called broad beans) – beans should not be missing in any garden. They provide valuable vegetable protein and are good for the garden soil. They like it sunny and warm in the garden and prefer humus-rich and deep soil. If you pay attention, you should be assured of a rich bean harvest. But in addition to the right location and ideal soil, a good supply of nutrients also plays a decisive role in the yield, because not all beans have the same nutritional requirements. And some species even need almost no fertilization at all.
So do you have to fertilize beans at all? And when do you fertilize them? Which fertilizers are suitable and what is the best way to proceed? We have answered these questions for you in this article.
Do you have to fertilize beans?
Beans belong to the legume family ( Fabaceae ) and are legumes. Legumes have the wonderful property of entering into a symbiosis with nodule bacteria. These are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it accessible to the plant. This means that low-nitrogen soils are improved and thus soil fertility is maintained. So do you have to fertilize beans at all?
Before beans can supply themselves with nitrogen, the plants should be helped through the first period of starvation after planting. As soon as it is a hand’s breadth, the bean creates the nitrogen supply on its own. Furthermore, beans not only need nitrogen but also other important nutrients to grow, such as phosphorus and potassium. Therefore, fertilization can make sense.
In addition, not all beans are created equal when it comes to their needs. The low-growing French beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris var. Nanus ) eat poorly and are therefore very frugal. You no longer need fertilizer after planting. The climbing and upward growing runner beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris var. Vulgaris ), on the other hand, are among the middle eaters and are a bit more demanding. They also want to be fertilized a little during the growing season and will then bring you a rich harvest.
When to fertilize beans
Beans can be grown outdoors as well as in a greenhouse or in a pot. When planting the beans, you should make sure that the soil is enriched with sufficient nutrients. In a location with poor soil, you can enrich the soil with ripe compost or a fertilizer with long-term organic effects before planting. With our organic tomato fertilizer, you create optimal conditions for your beans to grow right from the start. This not only has a positive and gentle effect on beans of all kinds, but also on the soil and the animals in your garden. The granules of our fertilizers dissolve when water is added and are then broken down by hard-working microorganisms in the soil. These make the nutrients available to the plants and release them slowly and gently to the plant.
Bush beans and field beans no longer need fertilization afterward. The nitrogen-fixing bacteria are now active and supply the plants with nutrients. It looks different with runner beans. They look forward to additional fertilizers during the growing season. Here you can fertilize again with the first flowering. If necessary, it is then re-fertilized until the harvest.
When are beans fertilized?
- All beans: basic fertilization in spring when planting in the garden
- French beans and field beans: No further fertilization
- Runner beans: again after flowering and, if necessary, until harvest
Fertilize the beans in the bed
From mid-May, after the ice saints, you can plant the frost-sensitive beans in the garden bed. Beans feel at home in the greenhouse from mid-April. Even if French beans and field beans need few nutrients, basic fertilization before planting is part of it. This is absolutely necessary for the runner beans. In order to be able to fix nitrogen really well, the nodule bacteria need sufficient phosphorus. This is provided by basic fertilization when planting in the garden.
So prepare the soil well for the beans before planting. Put some fertilizer in granulate form – for example, our organic tomato fertilizer – into the planting hole, and do not forget to water it sufficiently. You can also add a little compost to particularly poor or poorly structured soils. These natural fertilizers not only supply your beans with valuable nutrients but also help to improve the soil structure and thus also to the soil’s water retention capacity and heat storage.
From now on, field and French beans no longer need any further fertilization. Fertilize runner beans again after flowering. Depending on requirements, the runner beans can then be supplied with a small amount of fertilizer after about six to eight weeks.
How are beans fertilized in the bed?
- When planting out, provide the beans with fertilizer with long-term organic effects
- Work compost into the soil is poor, structurally poor soils
- Pour well so that the granules can dissolve
- Re-fertilize runner beans with a little fertilizer after flowering
- If necessary, another application of fertilizer after 6 – 8 weeks
Fertilize the beans in the pot
If the substrate that you use in the pot or balcony box is not already pre-fertilized, it makes sense to enrich the substrate with nutrients before planting or sowing. To do this, simply work a long-term fertilizer in granulate forms – such as our organic tomato fertilizer – into the substrate. After planting or sowing, water the substrate well so that the plants can develop well and the granules can dissolve.
Even in pots, French beans and field beans are satisfied with the basic fertilization and grow very well even without further administration. As in the bed, runner beans want to be fertilized in the pot throughout the growing season. After flowering, the first application of fertilizer takes place. Depending on which type of fertilizer you choose, the fertilization intervals vary. With a fertilizer with an organic long-term effect such as our organic tomato fertilizer, it is sufficient if you re-fertilize in small amounts every five to seven weeks. With a mineral liquid fertilizer, the intervals are shorter and should be re-fertilized every three to five weeks.
How are beans fertilized in the pot?
- Work in some slow-release fertilizer when planting
- Keep the substrate moist so that the granules can loosen
- Stop fertilizing French beans and broad beans
- Fertilize runner beans every 5 – 7 weeks with fertilizer with an organic long-term effect
- Alternatively, re-fertilize every 3 – 5 weeks with a mineral liquid fertilizer
The right fertilizer for beans
Which fertilizer is used for your beans is of course up to you. After all, there are many different ways in which you can optimally supply your beans with nutrients. In order to help you make a decision, we have summarized some aspects for you below that you should consider when choosing a fertilizer.
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Fertilize beans mainly organically
If runner beans are not fertilized enough, this has a negative effect on the harvest. Over-fertilization or an unbalanced and incorrect supply of nutrients harms both the plant and the environment. In addition, the nodule bacteria on the roots of all bean types require sufficient nutrients to be able to fix enough nitrogen. For this purpose, phosphorus should be available for as long as possible – even after fertilization. A fertilizer with an organic long-term effect offers a great advantage with regard to these aspects. Thanks to the granulate form, it can be dosed well and thus reduces the risk of over-fertilization. Due to the long-term effect, the phosphorus and the other nutrients are gradually released and are available to both the plant and the bacteria for a longer period of time.
Further advantages of fertilizers with organic long-term effects:
- Activation of soil life and sustainable improvement of the soil structure
- Particularly gentle on the environment by not using chemicals
Our organic tomato fertilizer with organic long-term effects meets these criteria to the fullest satisfaction and thus offers the ideal nutrient supply for your beans. In addition to nitrogen, it also contains sufficient potassium and phosphorus. These are responsible for good root formation and the resistance of the beans. In addition, the fertilizer is particularly resource-saving and sustainable thanks to the use of residues from the food, luxury, and animal feed industries. By not using synthetic ingredients, the fertilizer is also climate-friendly.
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Fertilization with organic long-term effects – Instructions and dosage quantities for beans:
- Before planting: Work 15 – 35 g / m² (1 to 3 tablespoons) of our organic tomato fertilizer into the topsoil layers or mix about 1 g / liter (1/4 teaspoon) into the substrate for a pot culture
- After setting, water the soil well so that the granules can loosen
- With runner beans, you should fertilize another 10 – 30 g / m² (1 to 2 heaped tablespoons) or about 1 g / liter for a pot culture after the flowers have formed
- Repeat these fertilizers in the garden bed after 6 – 8 months, in the pot after 5 – 7 weeks
Fertilize beans with minerals
Blue grain, liquid fertilizers, and the like offer the advantage that the nutrients from the fertilizer are immediately available to the plants and do not have to be converted by bacteria, but mineral fertilizers are not suitable for beans. Most of the time they contain far too much nitrogen that the beans don’t need. The superfluous nutrients cannot be absorbed and then pollute the soil and water. Ultimately, this also harms the plant. Organic fertilizers with long-term effects, on the other hand, provide beans with all the important nutrients over a longer period of time and are significantly more gentle on animals, people, and the environment.
Fertilize beans with home remedies
Home remedies for fertilizing beans are unfortunately mostly unsuitable. Manure or nettle manure are not good for beans because they contain too much nitrogen that the plants don’t need. Well-rotted compost is more suitable. This not only contains important nutrients for your beans but also ensures a better soil structure and active soil life.
Before you can fertilize your beans, they must of course first be planted. You can find out how to do this and what to look out for in our special article on planting beans.