Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Beans in Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764
A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.
Beans...to eat, delight in a fine rich stiff soil, without dung, though that must be supplied where the lands are poor. To have fine beans, especially of the Windsor sort, which are much the best, they ought to be planted six inches asunder, in rows three feet distant from one another, in the, wane of the moon, (as it is vulgarly said) and under a hedge, which serves for a shelter. When the flowers begin to open towards the bottom of the stalk, the tops should be pinched off, though it is as good a season as any to do it in, when the blossoms are well blown and set. If you want an early crop, plant them in October, and hill them up as they grow, and shelter them; if a second crop, cut them down within two or three inches of the ground before they bear fruit. Don't pull the bean, cut it with a knife. The first production is the properest of all seeds for sowing. When the seed is ripe, you must pull up the stalks and sun them, observing to turn them every day or two. Beans, like all other seed, degenerate in the same ground, wherefore it is advisable to change your seed, and the beds they grew in.
Kidney Bean, Phaseotus, a long swift ship, which the husk resembles, may be planted in March; if sooner, they must be well sheltered, for they are easily killed, in a light fertile soil, in trenches about two and a half feet asunder, each grain two inches distant from the next, and one inch deep. They will not bear transplanting. They should be planted in a dry season. The Dutch sort, which is the common kind, should be stuck, otherwise they will lie on the ground and rot. This sort, if stuck, grow to a great height, and afford a constant succession. A second sowing will supply you sufficiently the season. If, when you plant, it should be a dry season, water the furrows or trenches before you drop the seed in. French Beans and snaps are the same. The Dutch sort are not so apt to be stringy, which the dwarf sort are.
Bushel or Sugar Beans, being of a tender nature, should not be planted till April, which is the best season, in hills made light and rich, about three to the hill, so as to admit a stake in the middle of them. They will grow round the stake to a great height, will bear very profusely, and continue till destroyed by frost. They are esteemed very delicate, and are of various colours, as white, marbled, green, etc.