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The Rural School Messenger

March-April, 1917

Navy or field beans is one of the easiest crops to grow in Missouri and to the southward. Beans will make a good yield on poorer soil than almost any other farm crop, they may be planted then on soil which would not produce a good corn crop. Even on thin Missouri soils they will not require fertilizers. They can be planted late, after the spring rush of other crops is over.

They will demand only one-third the cultivation required for corn. In Missouri a yield of from ten to twenty-five bushels may be expected in a favorable season and with average care. These advantages, together with their high food value and the case with which they can be stored, make navy beans an excellent war crop.

Field beans should be planted any time between June 15 and the second week in July in Missouri. This gives time for previous plowing the soil to turn under weeds, frequent discing or harrowing to kill sprouting weed seed and permits settling the soil and preparing a fine seed bed before the beans are planted. If the soil is handled in this manner, practically all the weeds can be killed and most of the cultivation completed before the beans are planted.

The beans should be planted, 20 pounds to the acre, 1 inch

deep and about 3 inches apart in rows 20 to 36 inches apart to admit horse cultivation. If corn cultivators are to be used, it is best to make the bean rows the same distance apart as the corn to avoid changing the cultivators.

As soon as the beans are up they should be thoroughly cultivated to break the crust. If the soil is fine, this may be done with a spike-tooth harrow without killing the plants. Only one or two subsequent cultivatings will be needed unless the land is weedy.

Beans should be harvested when the seeds are fully ripe, in small areas the plants may be pulled by hand. As the stems get fully ripe, the roots rot sufficiently that the -plants frequently may be gathered with a horse-rake.

Small lots of beans may be threshed on a barn floor with a flail or stick. If grown on a large scale, special bean threshers are best; the ordinary wheat thresher is often used, though it is likely to break some of the seed. Skilful threshing machine men often clamp a larger pulley on the cylinder to reduce the speed one-half and remove one-half the teeth from the concave.

If beans are to be stored after threshing, weevil can be kept out during the entire winter by fumigating once with carbon disulfide. If stored in larger quantity, 1 pound of carbon disulfide should be used for a space 10 feet wide, 10 feet long and 10 feet high. The bin must be tight to hold the fumes of the carbon disulfide for twenty-four hours. Carbon disulfide can be poured on the top of the beans. The fumes are inflammable, so the work should be done away from any fire.