Climbing Beans: More pods, more yields, ready markets
Posted Wednesday, March 20 2013 at 00:00
These beans are bigger in size, have more pods per plants and resistant to disease in addition to have a ready market.
Did you know that by growing climbing beans you could double your harvest especially if you are a commercial farmer? Yes, climbing beans have been proven to be the best type to grow for both domestic and commercial purposes.
These are the same as the usual beans most of us know, only that they grow by climbing onto anything that supports them.
According to Dr Michael Ugen, a Principal Research Officer at National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) at Namulonge, when given adequate attention, climbing beans yield twice as much as bush beans. Also, they bear many pods per plant than the other types.
“Climbing beans can yield 2,500 to 3,500 kilogrammes per hectare which is much more than the bush beans. This is because, climbing beans when well supported to climb as high as they can, bear more pods per plant which is not the case with bush beans,” he explained.
They also mature faster under a favourable climate, have attractive flowers, are tasty, drop leaves when mature which improves on soil fertility and have a larger bean size.
Because they grow in areas with cooler temperatures, they are mainly grown in highlands; in areas like Kabale, Kisoro, around Mt Elgon and some parts around Mbarara.
Varieties include Nabe 12C, commonly known as sugar beans, the red mottled Nabe 26C and Nabe 28C, Nabe 27C, which are pink in colour, and Nabe 29C which are red.
The most common are sugar beans, which are grown in the high altitude areas of western and eastern Uganda but all are available. They are also tolerant/resistant to root rot disease, which is common in highland and mid-altitude areas.
For a farmer to reap big from climbing beans, he or she should ensure the land on which they are to be grown is well prepared with no weeds, has good amount of water and is fertile.
“Decomposed organic manure can be added to boost the soil fertility. Not only that. The farmer should ensure that he/she has enough support for the beans because they yield more when they have something to climb on. In the absence of sticks, a farmer should have poles with strings across the garden where they can climb on,” Dr Ugen advises.
This should be done within 21 days after planting and after weeding to prevent them from climbing onto the weeds. If they do that, they give less yields. The recommended height of the sticks is a minimum of two metres from the ground.
During planting, they need to be given a spacing of 60cm by 20 cm or 40 by 30 cm. For a hectare, 40 to 60 kilogrammes of seed are just enough for a farmer to plant. In case the land is less than a hectare, even on a quarter a hectare, a farmer can reap from it especially if one is growing for domestic consumption.
“In cooler areas, they take more time to mature, though they give higher yields compared to when they are grown in lower altitude areas. In high altitude areas, they take between 85 and 110 days to mature yet in lower altitude areas, they take between 80 and 90 days to mature,” the researcher explained.
After harvest, proper care should be taken during storage to avoid losses because they cannot stay long. He says that they should either be spread under the sun very often, sorted to eliminate the unwanted ones or be treated, which he discourages.
Among the challenges are termites, which attack the support sticks, birds that eat the flowers and other insects that attack the plants or the leaves.