Cultivation and care
For the cultivation of legumes it is essential to follow some basic rules: first, the chosen soil must be of fresh and rather deep dough, and it is preferable to have a luminous position, not excessively exposed to winds. For climbing species it is necessary to install supports, such as special nets, bamboo canes or wooden guardians, so as to favor their growth. In the case in which the cultivations take place in a seedbed, it must be placed in a point protected from precipitation: it is necessary to avoid both drought and exposure to frost, particularly during the growth and flowering of the pods. In addition, frequent weeding is recommended to eliminate weeds and refresh the soil, thus also avoiding the spread of parasites.
Irrigation of legumes
If the plants are very young, it is certainly necessary to irrigate and water them daily, but in any case, being careful not to overdo it: especially if the cultivation takes place in places characterized by frequent rainfall, in fact, water stagnation harmful for growth and seedling development. The operation must be regular and constant but at the same time moderate; in any case, the ground must never be completely dry. In the warmer months it is advisable to avoid wetting the leaves, since the sun's rays, through direct action, would tend to yellow them. Drip irrigation is widely used for the bean, which guarantees a remarkable uniformity in water distribution. Watering, however, must increase with plant growth.
Since legumes naturally fix atmospheric nitrogen, it is advisable to avoid nitrogenous fertilizations, which among other things would cause excessive growth of the plants and their consequent weakness. If the cultivation takes place after that of another legume or in any case of a well-fertilized vegetable, a massive intervention will not be necessary, but it may benefit the distribution of wood ash, rich in potassium and phosphorus; fertilization, in any case, must start several weeks before the flowering period, so as to adequately prepare the soil for production. Natural solutions such as manure and nettle maceration are highly suggested, rich in stimulating elements and extraordinarily effective for the elimination of parasites such as aphids and red spider mites.
Legumes: Exposure, diseases and remedies
As previously mentioned, the exposure must take place in the sun, in a luminous position and sheltered from strong wind and excessive cold; It is also important that the plants are not too close to each other, since this would hinder the necessary air circulation. For dwarf varieties a distance of 5-10 centimeters is recommended between the seedlings, for those climbing, instead, of 15-20 centimeters. A danger is represented by parasites such as aphids and fungal diseases such as blight, which causes spots, mold and necrotic areas, and rust, which causes yellowing and falling leaves. The first is fought mainly with nettle macerated or with a compound of copper sulphate and lime, the second with an adequate decoction of horsetail or with a hydro-alcoholic solution of propolis.