Green beans (aka string beans or snap beans) are perhaps the second most popular home garden vegetable next to tomatoes. They are easy to grow and have an excellent yield. Here are a few simple instructions on how to grow green beans.
GREEN BEAN VARIETIES
Green beans come in two principle varieties: bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans are grown from a small bush that will spread to about 2 feet in width and are generally best for home gardening because they require less care. Pole beans grow in long vines and need to be supported by a trellis or stake to be successful.
WHEN TO PLANT
Green Beans need to be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Be sure that soil temperatures are at lest 65° F and many experts suggest 70° F for best results. You can sow your seeds indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost of the season and transfer the seedlings outside once they’ve reached 4 inches tall and daytime temperatures have reached about 75° F. However, green bean seedlings can be very sensitive, and may not survive the transplant.
WHERE TO PLANT
Green beans like lots of light, about 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. If possible, choose a space that hasn’t recently grown beans, tomatoes, lettuce or cabbage.
Green beans do best in loose, nutrient rich soil. Fortify your soil with plenty of mature organic compost or well-aged manure before you plant. Soil should have a pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
SOWING GREEN BEAN SEEDS
Follow the instructions on the seed packet. For most varieties of bush beans, sow the seeds about 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows 2 feet apart. Thin the plants to 6 inches apart once they have reached about 3 inches in height. For pole beans, sow seeds beside a trellis or pole three inches apart.
In general, green beans need about 1 inch of water per week. Keep and eye on the soil and keep it moist but do not overwater. Water in the morning and try to only water the soil at the base of the plant. Keep the leaves and vines dry to help prevent mold and other plant disease.
Pole beans will need a trellis, stake or fence on which to grow. Once vines have reached the top of the trellis, cut off the end of each plant to encourage branching.
Harvest will vary based on the type of green bean, usually 45 to 75 days after planting. Once the pods bulge, they are ready. Carefully pinch or snip them off and avoid damaging other parts of the plant. Harvest regularly to encourage further production.
TIPS & ADVICE
For larger crops, sow new seeds every two weeks to create continuous production throughout the growing season.
Weed diligently, but carefully by hand to avoid damaging the plants roots, which can be sensitive and easily harmed by garden tools.
Mulch to help maintain soil moisture.
Do you have questions or tips about how to grow green beans? Let us know in the comments section below.