Beans

BeansPlanting and growing beans at home offers variety, flavor and versatility.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 45-75 days
Height: 1 to 4 feet
Spacing: 2 to 4 inches apart, 18 to 24 inches between rows

Gardeners generally divide beans into three categories; shell, snap and dry. All varieties are easy to grow and tolerate a wide range of weather conditions. As a result, beans are a dependable plant that yield an abundance of pods in most backyard vegetable gardens.

Beans are one of the few crops that actually enrich the soil — add nitrogen back — making them perfect for organic gardens. Try planting nitrogen-loving, leafy greens like kale, spinach or cabbage in areas where beans were planted before.

Site Preparation:

Plant bean seeds directly into rich, fast draining soil in spring after the soil has warmed. The plants require full sun and regular water. In general, bush beans mature faster and are less sensitive to drought and extreme temperatures than pole beans.

Note: All heirloom bean seeds offered by Planet Natural are non-treated, non-GMO and NOT purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis. Best of all, they’re shipped FREE!

How to Plant:

Begin planting one to two weeks after the last expected frost when the soil temperature has reached at least 60˚F. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 2 to 4 inches apart in rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Thin when the seedlings emerge so that bush varieties are 5 to 6 inches apart; pole beans 6 to 8 inches apart. In humid climates, increase the distance between plants to allow good air circulation. Provide support for vines in the form of a trellis or pole.

Beans do well in moist — not wet — soils. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses can be used to direct water right to the plants’ roots. This will also keep the leaves dry, which helps prevent many fungal diseases.

Tip: Inter-planting beans with carrots may encourage predatory wasps. Learn about Companion Planting here.

Harvesting:

Beans yield about 50 quarts per 100 feet of garden row. Pick often to keep plants productive; when harvesting immature pods you encourage new blossoms to form. Pinch off bush beans with your thumbnail and fingers. Use scissors to harvest pole and runner beans. Allow 45-60 days for bush beans to reach maturity. Pole beans require more time — approximately 65 days.

Insects and Diseases:

Bean seedlings need protection from slugs and snails. Watch for irregular shaped holes on leaves and apply Sluggo Organic Bait or diatomaceous earth at first sign of damage. Other major pests to watch for include flea beetles, aphids and bean beetles. Rotate plants with other garden crops to prevent many pest problems. Learn about crop rotation here.

Common disease problems include mosaic virus, which causes plants to turn yellow-green and produce few or no pods. Infected leaves are usually irregularly shaped and puckered along the midrib. Bacterial bean blight could be a problem if yellow or brown spots are noticed on the leaves; water-soaked spots on the pods.

Tip: To avoid spreading many fungal diseases, do NOT handle plants when foliage is wet.

Seed Saving Instructions:

Bean flowers are self pollinating and almost never cross-pollinate. To ensure absolute purity separate by the length of the garden from other beans. It is always best to save garden seed from plants that ripen first and are free from disease. Harvest seed pods when completely dry, crush in a cloth or burlap sack and winnow the seeds from the chaff.

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