Beans are easy vegetables to grow in any climate.

Sep 21, 2017
Beans are easy

Triumph de Farcy filet beans are an easy-to-grow gourmet treat. The heirloom beans are often featured on menus at five-star restaurants.

Doreen G. Howard


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Have you planted beans yet in your garden? I haven’t and am pushing myself out the door this afternoon to plant before it’s too late.

Pole-type beans need about eight weeks to mature, although you can pick them sooner.

Bush beans are ready with their first tender crop in as little as six weeks. Southerners don’t have to worry about time pressures, but I do in my Zone 4b garden with a growing season of about 20 weeks.

Blue Lake pole beans are juicy, meaty and packed with flavor; that’s why gardeners and farmers have grown them since the middle 1800’s.

Beans survive and thrive in heat, drought and flood. Only a freeze is will end their production. When I lived on the Texas Gulf, south of Houston in a tropical climate, I planted beans first in late March and again crop in late August, avoiding the withering heat of the summer months.

An advantage of including any bean in gardens is the extra nitrogen plant roots produce and share with surrounding heavy feeders like cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. Rhizobia bacteria forms on bean roots that process nitrogen from the air. Don’t add manure or nitrogen fertilizer to the soil. You’ll end up with vines that climb to the heavens or gigantic bushes and no beans! By the way, tall tomato cages make great trellises for pole beans while feeding tomatoes in the cage.

Pole Beans

My favorite pole bean for fresh eating and freezing is Kentucky Wonder, which starts producing About 65 days after seeds sprout. Pods are about 10 inches long and grow in clusters for easy picking. They’re sweet, with no fibers and freeze well. The truth be told, many in my garden don’t make it inside, because I eat them raw as I pick. Once vines or bushes start producing, pick every day so that plants produce more beans.

Another pole bean favorite is Chinese Red Noodle. Ready to pick in about 10 weeks, these extra long (up to 22 inches), thin pods are an unusual garnet red color. These sweet, tender beans lose their red color when cooked, but will retain it if stir-fried or sautéed. They’re good deep-fried and sprinkled with toasted black sesame seeds.

Chinese Red Noodle beans grow up to two-feet long and have a nutty flavor.  It was brought to this country by Chinese immigrants who worked building the railroads in the 1800’s.

Bush Beans

Triumph de Farcy and Dragon’s Tongue are two bush beans I plant every year. Triumph, a French heirloom, is a filet type that is ready to pick in seven weeks. They are long, thin, crunchy and juicy. Beans steam in only a few minutes, but most get eaten by me raw. Steaming a bean whole retains all its nutrients; cut beans lose up to 50 percent of their protein, vitamins and antioxidants. Plant any bush bean on 2-inch centers (2 inches apart in all directions) for the biggest crops. Plants support each other and smother sprouting weeds.

Not only are Dragon’s Tongue beans gorgeous, they are also packed with flavor. Bushes are highly productive.  Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

My other favorite, Dragon’s Tongue, is also an heirloom and is fast to produce, about eight weeks. These gorgeous long, flat pods are a creamy yellow and artistically streaked with vivid purple. Steam them to retain their color; if boiled, the streaks turn a fuzzy gray or disappear.

Tell me about your favorite beans. I’m always looking for something new to grow in my vegetable garden.

About This Blog

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser's backyard gardening tips. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer's Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer's Market.


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Green beans

I have lots of blooms but no beans. The vines look healthy and have grown all over the trellis. Can they grow too dense to make?

failure to set bean pods

There are a number of reasons that beans fail to set pods. Lack of pollinators. Too-high night-time temps. Uneven moisture. High temps and low humidity. And, believe it or not (experts tell us), too-fertile soil, due to too much nitrogen-containing materials (compost, manure, fertilizer etc.).

pole beans

this is the second year in a row that my beans don't produce the plants grow taller than my poles but don't have any beans bad seeds?

why beans fail to produce pods

The seeds may be fine; there are a number of reasons that beans fail to set pods. Lack of pollinators. Too-high night-time temps. Uneven moisture. High temps and low humidity. And, believe it or not (experts tell us), too-fertile soil, due to too much nitrogen-containing materials (compost, manure, fertilizer etc.).

beans eaten

try wormwood planted as a border around your garden--animals don't like it


hi, this is Deanna from Camden County Georgia, I have already planted green beans twice, both times they came up great, then I go out the next few days and one day they are gone, ate to the ground.Planted marigolds between each one the last time.Didnt help keep whatever got them away though.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

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