Growing Green Beans
Growing green beans:
Ok so if you’ve ever decided to try growing green beans and gone to the store to buy seeds it is likely you have stood in front of the seed shelf and said “huh!” There are a lot of beans to choose from, different colors and types and lengths. The good news is that knowing only a couple things should allow you to choose your beans with a lot more certainty. First let’s talk bush beans vs. pole beans.
Pole beans: The biggest thing to remember with pole beans is the take longer to start harvesting but they will keep producing until the first frost. You will get a continuous harvest with these guys but you’ll have to be patient to get it. Also pole beans are climbers hence the “pole” in pole beans. Give them something to climb and you might need to help them climb at first.
Bush beans: These beans are quick producers but you will get everything they have to give all at once. These are a good choice if you are looking to can or store beans or maybe if you’re just looking to get an early start while you’re waiting for your pole beans. Also these beans do not need to be supported.
The other classification you’ll need to know about when choosing your beans comes down to how you plan to eat them. Snap, shell, and dry are your other choices. Really this has to do with maturity and at what stage the bean is meant to be eaten.
Snap: This refers to harvesting the bean when it’s young and you eat the whole bean pod and all. They “snap” when you break them in half, that’s why their called snap beans.
Shell: This refers to beans that you harvest when they are partially mature you will eat the bean fresh but without the pod.
Dry: This refers to the beans staying on the vine until they are dry. Then you take out the beans and store them to use them later. You will need to soak these and cook them in order for them to be good to eat.
These are all just general rules some beans taste good no matter when you eat them but this info refers to when they are the yummiest.
For growing green beans you will space them 9per-square for bush beans and 8 per-square for pole beans. One square of pole beans should keep you in fresh beans all summer. If you have a huge family or want some for canning, plant two squares.
Both pole beans and bush beans do not like to be moved so you will start your seeds in the garden after the danger of frost has past. They love full sun and warm temperatures. Growing green beans often requires an inoculant to grow well. This can be found at most home or garden centers and all you have to do it coat the seeds before you put them in the ground. Also there is some debate as to whether or not to pre-soak the seeds. Some say that pre-soaking gives the beans a head start but other say that pre-soaking causes the beans to crack and sprout poorly. I just water the seeds heavily to keep the soil good and moist until they sprout. Another thing to be aware of is birds love tiny new bean sprouts so when growing green beans cover them with a wire cage for at least two weeks.
When growing green beans their harvest times will all depend on what type of beans you have planted. The bush beans will be ready first usually it takes about 8 weeks after planting (50-60 days) and be prepared for a whole lot of beans all at once. You can save the extras by canning them or green beans do freeze well. Pole beans will take a little longer to harvest but unlike bush beans they will continue to produce for months. About 10 weeks after planting (65-70 days) you can start harvesting. Break or cut the bean from the plant but do not pull on the plant. Pick the bean before the pods start bulging. If you leave the bean on the plant to long then the best flavor will pass and the plant will stop producing.
Shell beans take a little longer 65-75 days approximately. The beans will show through the pod and then you will cut or break the pod from the plant. Again to not pull the plant or you will damage it.
With dry beans you will let them stay on virtually all season. It takes about 90-100 days the beans will dry on the vine. Do make sure you get the beans before they split open or you will lose your harvest. Also if you’re getting to the end of the season it looks like it might freeze or start raining continually then you can bring the beans inside to dry. Place them out on a screen or a drying rack and let them finish dry inside. When the beans are completely dry you can put the pods in a clean pillow case and hit them with a rubber mallet or roll them over with a rolling pin to separate the beans from the pods.
Growing green beans is very easy not much care is required. They do like full sun and a pH of 6.5-7.5. Beans have a shallow root system so weeding is very important so they don’t have to compete for nutrients. A good scoop of compost should be sufficient for growing green beans because beans are light feeders. Although long producing pole beans could benefit from a side dressing of compost half way through the season. Do remember to cover beans with an inoculant before planting.
- Green Beans are warm weather vegetables that like full sun.
- Plant directly into garden after the last frost date.
- Use a bean inoculant when growing green beans.
- Plant every two weeks to stager the harvest if planting bush beans.
- Protect baby bean plants from animals.
- Do not plant beans next to onions, basil, fennel, or kohlrabi.
- Bush beans will harvest 50-60 days from planting and only harvest once.
- Pole beans first harvest will be 65-70 days from planting and will continue until the frost.
- Pole beans might need help climbing when they first start to grow.
- Keep on top of green bean harvests or the production will slow and beans will lose their flavor.
- Remove plants from garden after the first killing frost or when production stops.
More Nutritional facts
- Excellent source of vitaminC
- Excellent source of vitaminK
- Excellent source of manganese.
- Very good source of vitaminA
- Very good source of dietary fiber
- Very good source of potassium
- Very good source of folate
- Very good source of iron
- Good source of magnesium
- Good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Good source of copper
- Good source of calcium
- Good source of phosphorus
- Good source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Good source of vitamin B3 (niacin)
Green beans help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Also they help prevent the start of osteoporosis. Green beans may also help prevent colon cancer due to the Vitamin C and folate. Also they have very strong anti-inflammatory effects; this may make green beans helpful for reducing the severity of diseases where inflammation is the primary problem, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Green beans are also a very good source of iron, which is especially important mineral for people who are anemic.
How to use Green Beans:
The good think about growing green beans is the ability to enjoy them of course. When we hear the word green beans most often we think of the traditional green bean casserole which is very yummy but there are many things that can be done to enjoy them.
Myself I quite like just a simple preparation for green beans cook them and light butter and salt them. However if I want to add little more pizzazz to my beans I use this recipe. It’s so good with not much more effort.
Garlic green beans
1 pound fresh or frozen green beans
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons onion powder (could use finely diced onion instead)
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Cook green beans in water to cover until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté mushrooms and garlic in butter until tender. Add onion powder. Drain beans; add to skillet and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Optional lightly sprinkle fresh grated parmesan or asiago cheese
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