Bush Bean 'Sunray'
Scientific Name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Common Names: Bush Bean 'Sunray', Bush Bean 'Idelight', Snap Bean, Dwarf Bean, French Bean
Sunray is a heirloom bush bean variety that was first bred during in the 1980s in Idaho, USA.
Sunray bush bean produces delicious, tender, string-less, round, green pods that can be eaten raw or briefly steamed to retain their maximum crunch and nutrition. Sunray is a long producing heirloom bush bean variety that is ideal for home gardeners who want to be able to harvest pods over an extended period.
Bush bean plants will grow and produce best in a location that receives full sun. Growers in warmer climate may instead prefer to grow bush beans in a location that receives light shade to reduce heat stress on plants during the hottest parts of the day. Bush beans grow best in a free-draining, loamy soil rich in organic matter. If your soil is sandy, heavy with clay or lacking in organic matter placing down a layer of well-rotted manure or compost prior to planting bush beans will be beneficial. Bush beans have nodules on their roots that host nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria. These beneficial bacteria fix nitrogen from the air and provide it to the plant in return for carbohydrates. Although they don't require supplementary nitrogen legumes such as bush beans can sometimes suffer from other nutrient deficiencies, therefore it's advisable to top dress around them with a complete organic fertiliser if growth is slow or at the first sign of any leaf yellowing. Bush bean roots grow fairly close to the surface and benefit greatly from having mulch applied around them to help retain soil moisture and prevent them drying out. Bush bean flowers are self-fertile and they will readily set pods, although sometimes strong winds can blow the flowers off so provide a wind break for them if this is a problem in your area. Bean pod quality will be best if plants are watered consistently as fruit are developing. The Sunray variety of bush bean has good resistance to common mosaic virus and bean rust diseases.
When to Sow
In cold and mountainous regions of Australia sow Sunray bush bean seeds from mid Spring to early Summer. In temperate regions of Australia sow Sunray bush bean seeds during Spring or Summer. In frost-free subtropical regions of Australia sow Sunray bush bean seeds from late Winter to mid Autumn. In tropical regions of Australia sow Sunray bush bean seeds during the dry season, from mid Autumn to mid Winter is ideal.
How to Sow
Bush bean seeds should be sown about 2.5cm deep with planting holes spaced about 8cm apart. For extra bushy growth that optimises growing space try planting two bean seeds per hole, the seedlings will not over-compete with each other and overall pod production will be greater. Bean seeds can be sown directly where they are to grow or started in punnets, however the roots of punnet grown seedlings will quickly outgrow their containers so they should be planted out not long after germination. When planting out bush bean starts be sure to plant them deeply, seedlings planted too shallowly will have exposed roots, be less sturdy and more likely to topple over in strong winds.
Bush bean seeds germinate quickly and consistently, with most seedlings emerging 6 to 14 days after sowing.
Time to Harvest
Heirloom bush beans are relatively quick to harvest, this variety Sunray takes between 9 and 10 weeks from sowing to start producing pods. Sunray bush beans produce pods over a long harvesting period, picking them regularly will encourage ongoing production.