Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 45-75 days
Height: 1 to 4 feet
Spacing: 2 to 4 inches apart, 18 to 24 inches between rows
It doesn’t matter if you prefer eating beans that are fresh, pickled or dried. You can grow them very successfully with a few straightforward instructions. We find that their short season, great taste and simple harvesting process make them a perfect vegetable selection if you’re a new gardener or you’re gardening with children!
All bean 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 by adding nitrogen, making them perfect for organic gardens. Try planting leafy greens that need plenty of nitrogen like kale, spinach or cabbage in areas where beans were planted the year before.
A garden and kitchen staple, unique beans — bush, pole or shell — are a summer treat!View all
Be aware that not all all bean plants are the same. Bush beans typically get 2 ft. tall and require no staking. To harvest, just walk along the plants and pick. If you’re short on space and still want a bean harvest, pole beans might be the perfect solution. These vining plants will climb a fence, trellis or a pole, leaving you with all of the space underneath to plant another low-growing crop like squash or a root vegetable. Check the seed descriptions to make sure you’re getting the right bean type.
If you’re including your children in your garden, it’s pretty fun (and inexpensive) to make a bean teepee for them. Pound in a center post and then connect twine to that post to create supports. Choose a pole bean variety that sounds tasty, plant seeds near each string, and let them climb!
If you want to stick to bush beans, the variety Dragon Tongue is a favorite for all ages. The colorful, striped pods make them easy to pick, and they have excellent flavor.
- Plant in quality garden soil that’s rich in organic matter
- Beans add nitrogen into the soil
- Bush beans don’t need staking or a trellis, but pole beans do
- Choose from a great number of varieties that are excellent for freezing, canning, pickling, or drying
- Common pests and diseases are slugs, flea beetles, bean beetles, and mosaic virus
Plant bean seeds directly into rich, fast draining soil in spring after the soil has warmed. Full sun and regular water are essential, so make sure they aren’t in a dry or shady location. The plants In general, bush beans mature faster and are less sensitive to drought and extreme temperatures than pole beans.
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. Read more about Companion Planting here.
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.
If you want to use the beans in a dried form, not fresh, leave the pods on the vines or stalks until they are completely dry, and then follow the instructions under the Seed Saving Instructions heading below.
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 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 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.
SHITZ & WIGGLES
Savvy growers know redworm castings to be rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Plant Success (3-1-2)
A mixture of beneficial fungi that are well suited to a wide variety of soils and plants.
Vegetable Garden Fertilizer (5-7-3)
Hand-crafted to improve the yields, taste and nutrition of vegetable crops.