About Contender Bean: First offered to gardeners in 1949, Contender comes from a high yielding, disease resistant strain. Originally, the common bean comes from South America; some historians fix the date as far back as 8,000 BC to the Pre-Incan civilization in Peru. When Columbus arrived in the New World, he found green beans growing with the maize of the Indians. Columbus and other European explorers introduced this new vegetable to their countries, where it eventually spread to the rest of Europe and all over the world.
Contender Bean Germination: Direct sow seeds in rich, well drained soil in full sun at least a week after the last expected frost, since beans are quite sensitive to cold. If you have never planted beans in your garden before, treat the seeds with a powder inoculant to allow the process of nitrogen fixation to begin. Plant them 1" deep and 3-6" apart, in rows about 2' apart; press down the earth above them for good soil contact. These seeds rot easily in wet soil, so do not over water them. Germination should take place 7-10 days after planting. For companion planting benefits, plant bush beans near carrots, cucumbers, or corn; avoid planting them near onions.
Growing Contender Bean Seeds: After germination, maintain soil moisture; beans have shallow roots, and need water at least once a week if the weather is dry. Mulching the plants helps conserve moisture and discourages weeds.
Harvesting Contender Bean: Expect your first beans about ten weeks after germination. Daily harvesting improves production; for best flavor and tenderness, pick the beans when they are no larger than a pencil in thickness, or from 4-8" long. Serve or preserve the same day you harvested them for the freshest taste.
Saving Contender Bean Seeds: Near the end of the growing season, allow the beans to dry completely on the vine; the pods will be light brown, and the seeds will rattle inside. Remove the seeds from the pods. After the seeds are completely dry, store them in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
Detailed Contender Bean Info: Phaseolus vulgaris. Also called Buff Valentine. Annual. 40 days to maturity. 65 seeds per oz. 12-24" plant height. 3-6" spacing. These green snap beans grow from 5-7" long.