Bean, or Vicia, L. a genus of plants, of which there are four species commonly reared in the gardens of this country: l. The small Lisbon, or Magazan ; 2. The Spanish ; 3.The Sandwich ; and 4.The Windsor beans. The Magazan beans are esteemed either for the table or cattle ; they are as palatable as the Windsor, and should be cul-ted in a loamy soil, in rows nearly a yard distant from each Other, and about four inches in depth : first crop ought to be set about the latterend of November; the cond in December ; and the others in January, February and March, but not so thick as the former.
If the rows should appear too thin, some may be transplanted from those which are thicker, but all ought to stand four inches distant from each other, ana afterwards to bo moulded and Dutch-daring the summer.
In the beginning of May, the first sown beans will blossom from the bottom to the top, even if they rise to the height of three feet ; they grow strong, and send three or four stalks from one root, but should never be lopped, as this would prevent the pods from arriving at their full growth.
When ripe, they should be pulled, and set upright to dry, and may afterwards be split; in which state they are excellent food for horses and swine. The bean-straw is also beneficial, as the produce of ten acres, when cut to chaff with a three-knife machine, will supply sufficient nourishment for ten cows and two calves, for twenty weeks. A man is able to cut as much in twelve hours, as twelve head of cattle can eat in a week. Cows, when kept on this food alone, will eat about 25lb. a clay.
Spanish Beans should be planted in October and November, sheltered by walls or hedges, where, if they survive the seventy of the season, they will come to perfection early in summer. They may also be raised very close in beds, if covered with mats in winter, and transplanted in spring.
The Listen Bean is preferred to the Spanish ; but as it is apt to degenerate, by ripening early, though not in any perfection, fresh seed ought to be imported every two years. The Spanish and Windsor beans, which are those generally used at table, should not be planted till after Christmas, but especi-ally the Windsor, which are more liable to injury from cold than any other kind. These beans require an open ground, and should be set at the distance of three feet and a half between the rows, and five or six inches from each other.
The Sandwich Beans are hardier than the Windsor, and may be planted so early as to be fit for use between these and the early crops. This species, however, has lately been much neglected. Windsor beans should first be set about the middle of January, and a new plantation made every three weeks, till the middle of May, to ensure a succession of crops. Another kind much planted at present, on account of its great produce, is the Toher; it comes to perfection about the same time as the Sandwich. The black and white blossomed beans are also much esteemed ; but unless their seeds be preserved with care, they are apt to degenerate.
The Horse Been is the only kind propagated by the plough. It delights in a stiff and moist clay ; three bushels are sufficient to sow an acre, which ought to be performed in February; and the gene-ral produce of an acre is about twenty bushels. But it is worthy of remark, that by the new improvements in husbandry, less than one bushel of seed is sufficient to plant an acre of land, and the produce has sometimes been found to exceed that of the old method, by ten bushels per acre. The beans should lie some time upon the ground after they are cut. To keep the soil clean from weeds, when intended fur a crop of beans the next year, dung should be laid on the land a soon as the wheat stubble, or haulm, is carried off"; this method having been found more effectual in preventing the growth of weeds, than by ploughing in the haulm, and laying the dung upon fallow lands.
As soon as the beans have acquired six leaves, sheep should be turned in, to feed among them ; they will eat all the young weeds, even the melilot, but will not hurt the beans, provided they are not suffered to lie down.
A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1764, recommends the planting of horse beans by the following method :—Take a plank of oak, of such a size as a man can easily manage by a handle fixed upright in the middle of it, and of such thickness as not to give way in working in the under part of this plank let there be fixed wooden pegs of such length, and at such distance from each other, as may form proper holes or beds in the ground for the beans.
When the land has been properly prepared, the workman must thrust the pegs of this instrument into the ground, and proceed side-ways, managing it so, that there may be the same distance between the last row of holes made by the first impression, and the first row made by the next, as there is between the rows of any one impression. The youngest children may be taught to follow the instrument, and drop a bean into every hole that it makes.
As the topmost blossoms seldom come to perfection, they shoud be taken away when those toward the bottom of the stalks first appear, which may be done by garden shears with long handles : the furrows being left wide enough for a careful person to walk in them without damaging the crop; and the cuttings, by covering the ground, will it, keep it moist, and gradually be converted intomanure, which, as strong lands are apt to and such only being fit for beans be of great utility.
Beans intended for seed, should be plucked up by the roots, before they are quite ripe, instead of cutting the stalks : thus they will receive nourishment enough after being removed, to ripen fully, and no seed will be lost} which otherwise happens to a great quantity, in their cutting and removal.
Beans have long been used by our most celebrated agriculturists, as a preparatory crop for wheat-Lands. The beneficial effects of this method are so well known, that it is unnecessary to expatiate upon the subject. We must, however, observe, that in the year 1795, the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, adjudged a premium of twenty guineas to Lewis Ma-Ma-JENDIEsq. aningenious improver of rural economy (whose successful exertions in planting ash, we have noticed in p. 123), for his judicious culture of beans and wheat. He sowed fifteen acres in February, 1794, with the Vuia faba equina, or small horse bean. The quantity of seed was six pecks to the acre; and the total expence 29l. 14s. 3d. or ll 19s. 71/4d. per acre. The produce was fifty-nine quarters and one bushel, which were sold for 1201. l1s. and 6d. A detailed account of this interesting experiment, may be seen in the" fourteenth volume of the Society's Transactions.
In the year 1796, Mr. Joseph Webster, of Bankside, near Don-caster, received a similar premium from the Society, for having drilled sixteen acres of land with beans, and sown it with wheat in the same year. He employed Cooke's Drill Machine, and the beans were of the same species as those sown by Mr. Majendie.
Another premium was also given to Mr. Robert Dudgeon, of Tynningham, who, in the spring of 1797, drilled three fields, con-taining nearly twenty-three acres and a half, with bans, and sowed them with wheat in the same year. This process is described, at considerable length, with several interesting remarks, in the seventeenth volume of the above-mentioned work.
The Duke of Grafton, about eleven years since, made an experiment, to ascertain whether the soil of the common fields of Northamptonshire, and the adjacent counties, would alternately bear a crop of wheat and beans, for a series of years; after giving it a, light dressing of dung, namely, from twelve to fifteen loads per acre, every third year, without rendering the land poorer than it was when first cultivated for this purpose. After having manured field in the manner specified, the Duke, in the first year, sowed one half of it with wheat, and the other half with beans. The success of this plan was so great, that in a letter to ArthurYoung, Esq. dated August 1799, he observes, , he has continued this alternate course of crops ever since, without having in a single instance admitted a fallow.
Having stated these useful and interesting facts, we shall submit the practical application to the judgment of the reader. But the last-mentioned experiment by no means proves, that a summer fallow may not, on some particular lands, be of great advantage to ensure a succession of crops.
With respect to the properties of beans, in general, they are nutritive, but tend to produce flatulency. Hence they ought to be boiled in their fresh state, when they are less flatulent, and more easily digested. The horse bean has been used as a substitute for coffee, which it much resembles in taste, though it does not contain more than half the quantity of oil.
French Beans, when eaten before they attain to maturity, are equally palatable and wholesome ; and, if ground and mixed with wheaten flour, they would, like other beans or pease, make a good and nourishing" bread ;—yet the daily use of it is apt to produce costiveness, and otherwise to disorder the alimentary canal.
Bean Flour, as Dr. Darwin observes, is probably more nutritive than that of oats; which appears by its effect: in fattening hogs: and, from the relative prices of these articles, he is of opinion, that pease and beans in general supply a cheaper provender for horses and other animals. But, as the flour of beans and pease is more oily than that of oats, it must be more difficult of digestion. Hence, when a horse has been fed with pulse, he will be less active for an hour or two afterwards, than if he had eaten oats. It will, therefore, be advisable to mix pollard, or straw finely cut, with pease and beans, before they axe given to cattle.
Bean-Fly. - Great injuries are frequently done to beans, especially after a long drought, by a fly called the Dolphin; (perhaps the same in-sect termed the Black-bean puce-ron.) It is first observed on the top of the plant, and thence eats its way downwards, leaving the stem naked. These insects are so small and light, as to be often carried by the wind from one plant to another, and thus injure the whole crop. They seldom appear till after the beans are in blossom ; and, if carefully examined, it will be often found that they are confined to a small space. On their first appearance, it has been observed, that one row of beans has been greatly tainted by them, whie another at the distance of six or eight feet continued uninjured. At first, the top leaves blossoms are attacked by these insects, in consequence of which and full of blackish specks. Whenever thns is perceived, the tops should be lopped and removed. If care be taken to leave none that are tainted, the malady will be effectually remedied.
A crop has often been preserved by looping off the. head of the plant, before the insect had descended j for it has seldom been known to rise after falling with the bean-top to the ground. If the plot is small, and lies near the farm-yard, the most effectual remedy is to turn the poultry into it: for they devour, in a very short time, an incalculable number of insects.