Friday, October 31, 2008

Plant Some Beans

Okay, finally a follow-up to my last post! What can you do to lessen your fertilizer use? Well, fertilizers mostly provide nitrogen in a form plants can use, and the element nitrogen is an essential compound in living things. Even though the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen gas, plants cannot utilize in that form.

Enter into the picture nitrogen-fixing bacteria! These bacteria are able to transform nitrogen gas into various compounds such as ammonium ions and nitrate, which plants are then able to intake. Well, where can you find these special little critters? It turns out, they like living in the roots of the legume family. Therefore, if you plant lots of beans in your garden along with your veggies, or alternate beans with the other plants, your soil will probably have more nitrogen and you won't need as much fertilizer.

However, beans are great in their own right. So many varieties exist- black, navy, soy, chickpeas, kidney, etc. They are so nutritious - with high protein and fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can definitely find lots of recipes - not just good old baked beans.

Here's a great website, The Gardener's Network, that has a special page about beans.

I was also perusing the Internet for some bean recipes and ideas to show you guys, and here's what I found- The Bean Bible! I never knew there was such a thing. Well, I guess you can find anything online these days.

Here's a great looking black bean burger recipe. Healthy and easy!

The image at the top is from the Latino Nutrition Coalition. What's your favorite bean or bean recipe? Have you ever grown beans?

No comments: