Beans

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Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Pole and bush beans (more commonly called green beans) are a tender vegetable and a great addition to any garden, great eaten fresh off the plant or incorporated into a recipe. Bush beans require less maintenance, so they are easier to grow.

Planting

  • Pole beans will grow in a climbing vine and require a trellis or staking. Bush beans will spread up to 2 feet but do not require support.
  • Do not start seeds indoors; they may not survive transplanting.
  • Seeds can be sown outdoors anytime after last spring frost, minimum soil temp is 48 degrees F.  Plant 1 inch deep, a little deeper for sandier soils. Cover soil to warm if necessary.
  • Bush beans: Plant 2 inches apart.
  • Pole beans: Set up trellises, or "cattle panels," and plant 3 inches apart.
  • If you like pole beans, an easy support for them is a "cattle panel"—a portable section of wire fence—16 feet long and 5 feet tall. The beans will climb with ease, and you won't have to get into contorted positions to pick them.
  • For a harvest that lasts all summer, sow beans every 2 weeks. If you’re going to be away, skip a planting. Beans do not wait for anyone.
  • Rotate crops each year.

Care

  • Mulch soil to retain moisture; make sure that it is well-drained.
  • Water regularly, from start of pod to set. Water on sunny days so foliage will not remain soaked.
  • Beans require normal soil fertility. Only fertilize where levels are low. Begin after heavy bloom and set of pods.
  • Use a light hand when applying high-nitrogen fertilizer, or you will get lush plants and few beans.
  • Weed diligently and use shallow cultivation to prevent disturbing the root systems.

Pests

Harvest/Storage

  • Beans are picked at an immature stage, when the seeds inside have not yet fully developed.
  • Look for firm, sizable pods and snap or cut off the plant. Do not tear the plant.
  • Store beans in a moisture-proof, airtight container in the refrigerator. Beans will toughen over time even when stored properly.
  • Beans can be kept fresh for about 4 days, or blanched and frozen immediately after harvesting.
  • Beans can also be canned or pickled.

Recommended Varieties

  • 'Bush Blue Lake’ (bush): Keeps flavor well after harvest.
  • ‘Bountiful’ (bush): Early producer.
  • 'Fortex' (pole): French variety, large beans.
  • 'Kentucky Wonder' (pole): Will produce a bountiful harvest.

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

Beans are commonly used in everyday expressions to indicate something of little value. Consequently, someone who isn't worth a hill of beans is seen as being worth very little, although one could argue that today a hill of beans costs a pretty penny.

Comments

Hi, I'm growing a bean plant

By Beverly Johnston on April 20

Hi, I'm growing a bean plant for school in a small styrofoam cup. It didn't seem to be growing for a number of weeks, so I replanted new seeds and got some new soil and re-did it. I just replanted it an hour ago, and I heard some people in my class were adding fertilizer to theirs. Is there any way I could add some nutrients to my soil without harming it? I was thinking of blending some banana, eggshell, coffee grounds, etc. to my plant because they are rich in potassium, nitrogen, and calcium, but I'm not sure if that will work. Thanks!

Hi, I am currently doing a

By Hailey Aguilera on April 19

Hi, I am currently doing a project for school and I need to explain what everything is. My bean has about two or three little plants around it and I was wondering what they could be. Can someone please tell me?

This is my first time at

By Corinne Bruha

This is my first time at planting Bush Blue Lake Garden Beans. They really produced quite a bit off 6 plants. Will they regenerate new beans or should the plants be dug up and start a new batch??

The beans will slow down

By Almanac Staff

The beans will slow down after a while and it is always a good idea to sow more. Some gardeners plant a new row every 3 to 4 weeks to have a nice supply of fresh beans throughout the season.

How many cm does a green bean

By Julia Rios

How many cm does a green bean plant grow in a week with organic? Chemical fertilizer?

We have pole beans that have

By Merrilee

We have pole beans that have brown areas on them. The inside is crisp and green. Are these ok to eat. Dennis says its like a "sunburn" and they are ok. He eats them out in the garden and says they are fine. But I am not sure. Thanks for you help!

I planted pole beans, went

By Norma Bybee

I planted pole beans, went away for 2 weeks and came back to 1 sprout. After another week, still nothing else, I dug down to see what was going on. There were roots and a stem, but no leaves. What would eat them before they come through the ground and how can I prevent that?

Sounds like cutworms. For

By Jen Clemons

Sounds like cutworms. For damage under ground you need a liquid insecticide rated for ground use.

OR you can make a collar for

By Holly 3

OR you can make a collar for the stem, with tin foil or plastic tubing. Anything that wraps around the stem and sits lightly in the earth below will protect the stem from the worm. Remove collar once stems are the diameter of a pencil.

I planted string beans this

By james f

I planted string beans this year. the vines are growing all over and i get blue flower in the morning. when to i see beans?\

"String" are usually "bush"

By Almanac Staff

"String" are usually "bush" beans, so assuming that's the case, pods usually follow flowers. It's not possible to give you an exact answer because we do not know where you are or the variety of bean, so consider this:
• the bean pods may appear soon; check the variety's maturity date and compare with the date on which you planted
• a review of sources suggest that sometimes weather conditions—cool temps and/or humidity—can inhibit growth.
• check for pests: some bugs can devastate bean crops
• are the beans growing in the same spot that you grew them in the previous season? that is, are you rotating crops? failure to do so could inhibit successful maturity.
We hope this helps to solve the problem.
 

I live in NorthEast Giorgia

By Micha

I live in NorthEast Giorgia and was thinking of starting to grow green beans, would bush beans or poles beans be better? When would be thw best time to plant the seeds? Will they be able to grow well down here?

Beans are a warm season crop

By Almanac Staff

Beans are a warm season crop and grow best when temps are about 65° to 85°F. To grow well just about anywhere, beans need full sun and rich, composted soil.
The soil temp for germination is at least 55°F, so you can probably plant any time now. Bush beans may be the easiest: they grow compactly, usually no more than a couple of feet high and many arieties are highly productive. Pole beans grow up (and up) and so need support—sometimes strong support, as the vines can reach six feet or more. The height might make them easier to reach and pick—you decide.
Consider the time-maturity-period of the variety of bean you want to plant, no matter whether bush or pole.
Finally, if you have a garden and are introducing beans to it and want to continue to do that, be aware of the need to rotate your crops to minimize pests (up here, Mexican bean beetles can devastate a crop before pods even set) and help to improe soil nutrition. (The 2014 Almanac has a feature on crop rotation.)
We hope this helps!

My husband plants lots of

By JulesnGer

My husband plants lots of bush beans every year. It seems they produce more than we can pick. Is it true that once beans start ripening that a hormone is produced and the plant will stop producing new beans?

We harvest beans when they

By Almanac Staff

We harvest beans when they are almost daily to encourage production; if you allow pods to ripen fully, the plants will stop producing. It's really just a living organism's desire to reproduce. Some of our gardeners take it a step farther and give the beans a "haircut" by chopping them back a few inches to stimulate more growth.

I planted a arden in a new

By tommy coiner

I planted a arden in a new place ,clay!,ive tilled horse manure in the soil,everything took off great ,then stopped!!any ideas?!!
ive also limed it!

Sometimes bush beans will

By Almanac Staff

Sometimes bush beans will indeed "take a break." Have you had some heat stress? If so, just keep watering them and they may start again when it's a bit cooler. You can also try some successive planting next year and stagger plantings; perhaps when one set of beans is taking a break, the other set will keep going.

I have about 16 bean (poles)

By Sam Milligan

I have about 16 bean (poles) planted and all growing crazy, vines everywhere, and upwards. I planted them against a trellis that was 5 feet tall, but they grew straight above it for another 3 feet, and I added some tomato poles and they have reached a height of 9 ft. BUT, no beans yet, should I clip them and force them to produce beans, or let them keep growing vines everywhere. They are getting insane..lol.

A couple of things my be

By Almanac Staff

A couple of things my be going on here: You may have over fertilized, esp with nitrogen, which aids in rapid growth. A too-rich compost/manure can also bring about this situation. High temps, including at night, and low humidity or uneven/inconsistent moisture may have caused the beans to not set pods. Also, your beans need 8 to 10 hours of sunlight.
We hope this helps.

I would like to know the

By dsfab

I would like to know the answer to the above question also. I grew pole beans for the first time this year and I'm having the same problem. I just keep hoping they are a late producer.

As per above, a couple of

By Almanac Staff

As per above, a couple of things my be going on here: You may have over fertilized, esp with nitrogen, which aids in rapid growth. A too-rich compost/manure can also bring about this situation. High temps, including at night, and low humidity or uneven/inconsistent moisture may have caused the beans to not set pods. Also, your beans need 8 to 10 hours of sunlight.
We hope this helps.

I have a raised bed, with a

By Nanagardener

I have a raised bed, with a 6ft fence around half of it and a 3ft fence around the other half. I went out of town and all of my bush beans were eaten (plant, leaves, bean) and many of the plants at the bottom of my pole beans were to. What could have gotten into them? I was only gone for four days

Slugs and rabbits are the

By Almanac Staff

Slugs and rabbits are the most common culprits. For slugs: Go out at night with a flashlight and you'll see 'em! Look at how the leaf is chewed and you can figure it out. Here's a good page on bean pests: http://ipm.ncsu.edu/ag295/html/bean_pea_key.htm

I live in Houston, Texas and

By Jerry G

I live in Houston, Texas and have planted various varieties of bush beans. They sprout, grow, blossom and hardly produce any beans. The ones produced are misshapen and short. The soil is fertile, full sun and I don't fertilize them much. The leaves are a little pale, not deep dark green. Any ideas?

The soil is very basic in

By chris esher

The soil is very basic in texas. Try adding a compost that is acidic. I am growing them in dallas and my garden exploded. I also used mulch to hold in moisture since it is very dry.

That's a tough one. Thoughts:

By Almanac Staff

That's a tough one. Thoughts: contaminated manure? Weedkiller? Aphids? Bean mosaic virus? Crop rotation? Are you using new seed each year and keeping it in a cool (below 50oF) dry place until planting time? We'd suggest you send a sample to your Texas cooperative service for a local diagnosis.

What does one do when the

By Judy Koningh

What does one do when the bean vines extend higher than the trellis (5')? Does one snip the vines?

Extended the trellis with

By Almanac Staff

Extended the trellis with some stakes?

My bush beans are having

By Moochie'sMama

My bush beans are having problems with leaves turning brown and also obvious insect damage to the leaves. I can't find any pests beyond plenty of ants. The garden center employee suggested a pesticide; but I have small kids so I'm hesitant to try what they suggested but I also don't want to lose my crop. What should I look for in an organic product? The gentleman also said I have heat damage I'm dealing with.

Have you tried wood ashes or

By Melissa E.

Have you tried wood ashes or diatomaceous earth (which is a non toxic safe substance to use in the garden for ridding yourself of pests)? I would try that for pests, but with brown leaves I would think that the humidity isn't right maybe?...try heavy mulch and watering in the morning and at night to keep the ground moist...also, to keep animals out of your garden try planting a border of wormwood...this will deter most animals (like rabbits and moles) from eating up your garden. Also, plant marigolds throughout your garden to deter pests. Compatible with most all of garden plants. Hope this helps. Try companion gardening to help naturally deter pests as well. I like the book "Carrots Love Tomatoes". Hope this helps. Good luck!:)

I started a variety of beans

By danielson

I started a variety of beans and peas indoors (contrary to the advice given in this article). I did it partly to see if the seeds were still good (they were). I have successfully transplanted them outdoors. They have all survived so far and it has been 3 weeks! Keeping fingers crossed....

I planted beans for the first

By Michael Jasensky

I planted beans for the first time this year and didn't know about not starting them inside, I must have gotten lucky because they are outside now and growing well

Great! If they have survived

By Almanac Staff

Great! If they have survived 3 weeks they should be all set for blooms and pods.

For the first time ever I

By Lauren F

For the first time ever I decided to plant veggies and flowers in our backyard, and I noticed today that there are actual green beans on the plant!!! Do I pick them now? Or wait? I don't want to prematurely ruin them. They're pole beans.

Pole beans pods are ready for

By Almanac Staff

Pole beans pods are ready for harvest about 7 to 14 days
after flowering. You harvest before the pods are fully mature. The pods should be full size with small seeds, and firm, crisp flesh when picked. Pick regularly as the plant will flower and mature the pods for 5 to 6 weeks on pole types. Pole beans generally produce pods over a very long time period so only one or two plantings are necessary each year for continuous production.

all my pole bean plants look

By Diane Meyer

all my pole bean plants look great but there are no beans even though there were blossoms. I am in Arizona with this super hot temp. Does that have anything to do with it? Same with my tomatoes...blossoms but no tomatoes

Beans like warm weather but

By Almanac Staff

Beans like warm weather but when it gets really hot the blossoms may drop off. Can you shade the area from the hot afternoon sun? Water stress can also cause blossoms to drop. Same for tomatoes. You may also not have enough pollinators. Hand pollination is an option.

when to grow pole beans?

By Anonymous

I am in Louisiana and was wondering if anyone knows if I am still able to plant pole beans in late may?

According to the Louisiana

By Almanac Staff

According to the Louisiana extension services the best time to plant pole beans is 2/15 to 5/15 for spring and 8/10 to 8/31 for fall. They take 60 to 66 days to harvest. If your climate, however, is cooler this year, you could probably stretch it.

Green Beans & Grasshoppers!

By Anonymous

I planted pole beans and used the cattle panels and fertilized with manure tea. My plants were beautiful and blooms bountiful. Grasshoppers started devouring my blooms and nothing I tried kept them away. I was unable to harvest any beans. Help!

We have a couple of guinea

By Grandma Jean

We have a couple of guinea fowl that keep the grasshopper population down. They are very entertaining to watch too!

cats eat grasshoppers, if you

By Anonymous

cats eat grasshoppers, if you have some around. Just a thought...

grasshoppers on pole beans

By Almanac Staff

Oh, no! Grasshoppers are a gardener's plague. If there are only a few, you can/should pick them off by hand. And, if they are not too many in number, you can cover the plants; but it's not easy to cover pole beans growing upright. Maybe you could try hanging row covers in such a way as to stay in place and not blow around (their blowing around wouldn't serve much purpose).
If the grasshoppers are in migration, in swarms, there is almost nothing you can do.
Some sources recommend growing and maintaining tall grass of lush green plants around the perimeter of your garden as a diversion, or "trap crop." But you must let is grow untended/uncut, and do not water or the grasshoppers will flee to your garden.
It sounds like maybe you do not have swarms of grasshoppers. Try catching and eliminating them individually as well as the trap crop.
Best wishes!

pole beans

By Bonnie

I've been told planting pole beans after corn is a foot or so high, they will grow together and the beans will climb the corn. Is this good? Will they compete for nutrition, and will the soils nutrition accommodate both?

Rattle Snake Pole Beans

By Michael Moore 2

I plant the Rattle Snake variety of pole beans. They are named that due to the speckle on the hull and on the mature bean. I have successfully raised these beans with field corn varieties at the time rate you mentioned. However, most modern pole bean varieties will outgrow even the field corn. It is best to use the cattle fence method for pole bean vine support. I stretch a fence on metal posts to grow mine on, and just leave it there for about three years. Heck of a lot of work though, the cattle fencing would be easier, but more expensive. You either have to invest a lot of hard work or a lot of money, but most of the time, both :)

We have a nice article about

By Almanac Staff

We have a nice article about companion planting called The Three Sisters. It describes how to plant corn, beans and squashes together in your garden. Please see
almanac.com/content/companion-planting-three-sisters

replanting bean

By Anonymous

when do I replant after I've picked a batch

Unless you are planting

By Michael Moore 2

Unless you are planting really short rows, you shouldn't really need to replant. At least with the variety I grow. I grow rattle snake beans and barring a terribly dry summer, they will bear until frost if you keep them picked weekly. I have never needed to replant unless I did not get a good stand on my first planting. You might have some skips in your row after the first planting, if so, you can go back and replant the skipped areas in the row. If you fertilize them well (15-15-15 at planting then again about a month later as side dress) and they get a decent amount of rain, you keep up with them, keeping them picked and sprayed for insects, they will most likely wear you out and you will be begging your neighbors to help themselves. They will bear till frost as long as you keep them picked regularly (weekly).

Runner Beans

By Anonymous

replant during the summer season as it is the best time of the year to grow then if you have runner bean seeds left ove store they in cold water for about a week and then change the water.

Dilly Green Beans

By Phillip Elliott

We grow green beans, Blue Lake, every year and grow enough for 3-4 dozen pints and dozen quarts with many to give away. However the Best is Dilly Beans. You process them like dill pickels. We always leave them long and process in pint jars.

New to veggie gardening

By Anonymous

My wife and I are in our 50's and are planning a garden for the first time. My wife would love to try you pickling method on our beans. Can you post receipe?

pickling beans

By Almanac Staff

Beans are definitely one of the best beginner veggies, especially bush beans! Here is one of our pickled green bean recipes: http://www.almanac.com/recipe/pickled-green-beans All the best for a bountiful bean garden!

Would you be willing to share the dilly bean recipe

By morbiddestiny

My mom have one when I was a kid we called them pickled beans and also had one for pickled corn and now no one can find it.

Scarlet Runner Beans

By gardengurl

I love growing beans but for the past few years I have been growing Scarlet Runner Beans along with my annual vines. Not only are they great to cook with when picked early but the blossoms are also a good source of nectar for hummingbirds.

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