Planting on mounds or ridges can help to control the spread of bean root rot
Every person has eaten beans in his life. This is because beans are considered an equaliser menu in every community.
The best practice is to plant two seeds per hole, with a spacing of 25cm between rows and 10cm between plants. To achieve this, you need to use a straight string. Planting in lines will also make weeding easier.
Weeds should not be allowed to compete with the crop. Weeding can be done two to three times per season, depending on the initial land preparation and aggressiveness of the weeds, especially during heavy rainy periods.
Weeding is discouraged during lowering to avoid lower drop, which could lead to reduced yield. Always earth up as you weed to help the crop become stronger and help secondary root systems to develop.
You must keep a regular eye on the crop so that you spot any pest attack early enough. Pests, such as the bean fly and aphids, first appear small, then expand if the threat is not handled.
Soil management through rotation
This is an important management tactic. Because mixed cropping is common among smallholders in Africa, it is relatively easy for farmers to control the growth of fungi by ensuring that beans or other host crops are not planted in the same field in successive seasons.
Green or farmyard manure helps to improve yields.
In the first place, this increases the strength of the plant and thus its ability to offer resistance to fungi. Also, by increasing soil health, fertilizers reduce the build-up of fungi in the soil.
However, while farmyard manure is the most effective and easy to come by, it is not clear what effect it has on the populations of fungi in the soil.
Bean variety mixing
This is done by many farmers to fight bean root rot by growing mixtures that include many varieties.
While some of the beans in these mixtures may be susceptible to fungi that cause root rot disease, others will be tolerant. As a result, farmers know that they will not lose an entire crop to bean root rot. At the same time, mixtures provide variety in families' diets.
Planting on mounds or ridges can also help to control the spread of bean root rot. This is a traditional farmer practice in Africa, although many farmers do not associate its use with the control of the disease.
To minimise attacks from bean rot, plant early, at the onset of rains.
For example, since the next rains are expected in August, prepare the farm now so that as soon as the rains come, you plant.
Flower thrips and aphids can be controlled through spraying for commercial farmers. For domestic farmers, use a mixture of urine and red pepper to chase them away.
Beans are ready for harvesting between 70-90 days, if you are eating them fresh or at 120 days if you are selling them dry.
For dry beans, pull out the stems carefully to avoid breaking the pods.
You can then carry them to a prepared shade for drying. Put them under the sun during daytime and in the shade at night until they are dry.
You can then shell them out of the pods and put them in sacks.
Compiled by Joshua Kato (editor Harvest Money) and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)