Beans

green beans

  • Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris
  • Plant type: Vegetable
  • Sun exposure: Full Sun
  • Soil type: Loamy

Pole and bush beans (more commonly called green beans) are a tender vegetable and a great addition to any garden, great eaten fresh off the plant or incorporated into a recipe. Bush beans require less maintenance, so they are easier to grow. There are different tips of beans:

  • Adzuki Beans
  • Blackeye Beans
  • Black Turtle Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Great Northern
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Pink Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Small Red Beans
  • Soy Beans

Planting

  • Pole beans will grow in a climbing vine and require a trellis or staking. Bush beans will spread up to 2 feet but do not require support.
  • Do not start seeds indoors; they may not survive transplanting.
  • Seeds can be sown outdoors anytime after last spring frost, minimum soil temp is 48 degrees F. Plant 1 inch deep, a little deeper for sandier soils. Cover soil to warm if necessary.
  • Bush beans: Plant 2 inches apart.
  • Pole beans: Set up trellises, or “cattle panels,” and plant 3 inches apart.
  • If you like pole beans, an easy support for them is a “cattle panel”—a portable section of wire fence—16 feet long and 5 feet tall. The beans will climb with ease, and you won’t have to get into contorted positions to pick them.
  • For a harvest that lasts all summer, sow beans every 2 weeks. If you’re going to be away, skip a planting. Beans do not wait for anyone.
  • Rotate crops each year.

Care

  • Mulch soil to retain moisture; make sure that it is well-drained.
  • Water regularly, from start of pod to set. Water on sunny days so foliage will not remain soaked.
  • Beans require normal soil fertility. Only fertilize where levels are low. Begin after heavy bloom and set of pods.
  • Use a light hand when applying high-nitrogen fertilizer, or you will get lush plants and few beans.
  • Weed diligently and use shallow cultivation to prevent disturbing the root systems.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Mexican Bean Beetles
  • Japanese Beetles
  • White Mold
  • Mosaic Viruses
  • Bean blossoms will drop from the plant if the weather is too hot and too much nitrogen in the soil will prevent pods from setting.

Harvest/Storage

  • Beans are picked at an immature stage, when the seeds inside have not yet fully developed.
  • Look for firm, sizable pods and snap or cut off the plant. Do not tear the plant.
  • Store beans in a moisture-proof, airtight container in the refrigerator. Beans will toughen over time even when stored properly.
  • Beans can be kept fresh for about 4 days, or blanched and frozen immediately after harvesting.
  • Beans can also be canned or pickled.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Bush Blue Lake’ (bush): Keeps flavor well after harvest.
  • ‘Bountiful’ (bush): Early producer.
  • ‘Fortex’ (pole): French variety, large beans.
  • ‘Kentucky Wonder’ (pole): Will produce a bountiful harvest.

Recipes

  • Green Bean Soup
  • Green Beans Viennese

Wit & Wisdom

Beans are commonly used in everyday expressions to indicate something of little value. Consequently, someone who isn’t worth a hill of beans is seen as being worth very little, although one could argue that today a hill of beans costs a pretty penny.

Learning how to plant beans in the garden successfully will help eliminate most of your bean plant problems. That’s why we’ve dedicated an entire section to growing beans. Here you will find everything you need to know for the care of bean plants in the garden. Learn how to grow beans and care for them all season long—including how to deal with any bean plant problems you may come across along the way.

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