Green beans, string beans, snap beans, haricot vert – whatever it is that you call them – beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow!
Easily sown from seed, lots of kids get their first lesson in science class when they learn how to grow beans. I remember starting seeds in cardboard milk cartons when I was in kindergarten. That’s how easy it is to grow beans!
Here’s the scoop on how to grow beans:
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Planting, Growing & Harvesting Beans
The botanical name for beans is Phaseolus vulgaris.
Optimum growing conditions
Beans will grow in USDA Zone 3 and warmer. If you live in a cooler climate, look for a quick-maturing variety. Beans prefer a soil ph of 6.0 – 7.5.
Best varieties to plant
Beans are available in both bush and pole varieties – and there are a jillion of each to choose from! Lima beans, butter beans, wax beans, regular ol’ green beans – and my personal favorite – purple beans.
Tip – purple beans are much easier to see amongst the green foliage – especially if you wear glasses and forget to wear them when you go out to the garden to see what’s growing.
Another bonus – when blanching the purple beans, they turn GREEN at the precise moment that the blanching is done. Next, dunk them in ice water to stop the cooking process and pop into freezer bags to freeze the harvest. One year, I had FIVE one-gallon freezer bags stuffed with 2″ pieces of blanched beans in my freezer. And that was after I gave a ton away.
Some of my favorites are: Trionfo Violletto (an Italian purple pole bean), Kentucky Wonder (green beans), Blue Lake (green beans) and Royal Burgundy (purple beans). Last summer, I grew Goldrush wax beans for the first time, and was really happy with the results.
Check in these seed & plant catalogs to find a variety or two that you want to grow.
How to grow beans
Sow seeds directly into the garden in an area that gets full sun once all danger of frost has passed.
Keep your bean plants well-watered – especially when the plants are flowering.
To get the most out of your space, try what I do:
I set up a trellis about 1′ in from the edge of my raised bed. (The trellis is a 3 1/2′ wide and 6′ high metal arch that fits nicely inside the 4′ wide raised bed.) On the outside of the trellis, I plant pole bean seeds about 3″ apart for the width of the trellis. Then on the inside of the trellis, I plant bush bean seeds. This gives me almost twice the harvest yield from the same footprint of space in the garden. WIN!!!!
Pole beans need a trellis at least 5′ high, and these beans will produce for a longer period of time than bush beans.
Bush beans bear heavily – but for a short period – so it’s best to plant seeds every few weeks for a constant supply (this method is called succession planting).
Diseases, pests & problems
I’ve never had any type of bug or disease affect my beans, but Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles and aphids can be a problem in some areas or climates.
Beans are at their very best when they are slim, and the seeds inside have not started to swell. Once your been plants start to produce, be sure to check daily! Beans grow like crazy once the weather starts to warm up, and bring a big basket when you go out to the garden to harvest! Also, move the leaves around and catch those beans that like to hide. Give them a few days, and they will grow too big to be enjoyable.
Which varieties are you going to try?