Curious about how to grow green beans in your backyard? If you love questioning your life choices, like choosing which crop to grow, do not hesitate to cultivate green beans this year. Your choice is always valid. It is a versatile crop that is adaptable even with less fertile soils. After a few months of hard work, enjoy your delicious beans as stir-fries, salad, or a side dish!
Do not worry about not messing up your first trial. We've all BEAN there, done that! To know more about this nutritious green bean plant, keep scrolling and stay on our page as we embark on the bean-growing adventure.
Is a Green Bean Plant Easy to Grow?
Ever wondered why "Jack and the Beanstalk" featured beans rather than other crops? It could have been corn, tomato, or other seeds, but one rational explanation is that this veggie is relatively easy to grow! If this may sound coincidental, green beans, outside the fictitious world, can thrive with minimal care, even in nutrient-impoverished soils. Thanks to its roots that team up with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, it can manufacture its own fertilizer needed for pod development. It can even be shared with its nearby plants!
How Do Green Beans Grow?
Green bean is a humble member of the legume family that has either a twining or a bushy growth habit. If you are yet to know them and have no idea what a bean plant looks like, it is a medium to large-sized vegetable with lobed trifoliate leaves. Reaching a maximum height of approximately 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 m), pole beans, a type of green veggie, might need support stakes, while some short types only span 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 m) height will not. The non-climbing, dense types, known as bush beans, are preferred in gardens where space is a constraint.
When to Start Planting Green Beans?
The best time to start planting green beans is typically when it is warm enough to tend your garden after the last frost has passed! Depending on your location, this is usually around late April or early May. It's crucial to wait until the soil has warmed up to at least 60°F (16°C) before planting, as this will help ensure that the seeds germinate properly. If planted too early in the season, when the temperature is below the safe limit, they may suffer from frost damage and fail to sprout! So timing is the key.
How Long Does It Take for Green Beans to Grow?
Green beans are crops with exceptionally short growing periods relative to other fruit-bearing vegetables. How long does it take for green beans to grow? It typically takes about 50-75 days from planting green beans before reaping the first harvest. However, some cultivars may take longer or shorter to reach maturity.
How to Grow Green Beans from Seed Step-by-Step
Growing green beans is an uncomplicated task that anyone can achieve. It only requires a few supplies and simple steps, which are listed as follows:
You will only need a few garden tools for tending green bean plants. Like other crops, it will require:
- A good seed variety
- Hand shovel
- Stakes or bamboo poles for trellising
- Tie wires or knots
Step-by-Step guide on How to Grow Green Beans
And now, we are up for the main course about growing green beans plant! Follow the guide below for the proper cultivation method:
Prepare the soil
To ensure your garden is free from leaf litter that may hoard pathogens, weed the area and clean up the soil from plant debris. Next, you will want to amend it with organic materials such as animal manure, earthworm castings, or coco peat to improve soil drainage, suppress diseases, and enrich it with nutrients. Planting them in a raised bed is optional, but it will have additional benefits in preventing diseases with improved drainage.
Sow the seeds
After inserting a finger about an inch deep (2-3 cm) into the ground, insert 2-3 seeds. How far apart to plant green beans depends on the variety, usually indicated on the seed packet. Generally, because pole beans take more space, the spacing between plants in a row should be at least 3 inches (7 cm) apart, while in the non-spreading variety like bush beans, 2 inches (5 cm) should be fine. Green bean spacing between each row should be wild enough for garden maintenance tasks like fertilizing, watering, and harvesting, usually at least 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m).
Install pole stakes
Green bean bush does not need support stakes, but if you plant pole beans with a trailing habit, do not skip this stage. Install 6-feet long trellis (2 m) 2-3 weeks after sowing seeds. Simply coil the long green bean vine on the long pole or use ties to help them attach to the stick.
If you plant 1-2 seedlings per hill, there is a good chance that 2 sprouts would emerge simultaneously. Unless you want them to fight over space and nutrients, uproot the other one and replant it to another area or clip the young sapling at the base.
Keep an eye on its growth
After performing the crucial steps above, all you need to do is to relax and sip your coffee. But, we suggest observing your green bean vine for any pest or disease which can cause significant yield loss if not addressed immediately.
How to Grow Green Beans Indoors
Growing string beans, bush beans, or green beans, in general, is more suited outdoors, but indoor planting is your go-to if you are not blessed with a spacious garden for cultivation. Here is how to grow string beans indoors:
- Choose a sunny site. Do green beans need full sun? Yes, they do! Grow green beans in a spot that receives direct sunlight, ideally on a sunny balcony. While it can grow in indirect light, it may not produce as many pods when planted outdoors.
- Prepare the potting mix. Another crucial factor is the potting mix. Since you are cultivating green beans in an artificial medium, you will need to incorporate lots of organic matter, such as compost, earthworm castings, or well-decomposed animal manure, into the medium. This will ensure that your bean seedlings will grow into a lush vine capable of producing plump pods.
- Plant in a pot. Choosing a container with a drainage hole is crucial to prevent root rot. Plant the seeds in the same manner as it is planted outdoors. The advantage of cultivating at home is that you will not need to worry about when to plant green beans. You can plant it earlier before frost!
- Provide adequate care and maintenance. Water the soil properly, ideally 1-2 times weekly if you live in a hot climate. Like outdoor seedlings, indoor-grown string beans will also need poles.
How Far Apart to Plant Green Beans
Green bean plant spacing is vital to prevent diseases and competition among seedlings. Plant them about 1 in (2-3 cm) deep and space them 2-4 in apart (5-10 cm) within the row. If you live in a dry area, green bean seeds for planting can be sown in double rows with 6 in (15 cm) between the rows. For pole beans, plant them 4-6 in (10-15 cm) apart, or 4-6 seeds in hills spaced 3 ft (0.9 m) apart, erecting a trellis for the plant to grow onto.
Tips for Care and Growing Green Beans
After the short gardening course on how to grow green beans from seed, your vegetable patch will only need minor maintenance, such as the following:
Site and Variety Selection
Where do green beans grow? Depending on the variety, it can grow even in the coldest USDA zones, such as Zone 3. Some warm varieties will not thrive in these frigid locations. So be sure to select the proper cultivar for planting!
Proper watering is essential for good germination of seedlings. During the first 2 weeks, water it every 2-3 days. Once your green bean patch becomes bushier, cut back the irrigation volume and frequency to about once weekly. You may adjust your watering routine if you live in a less hot climate with relatively low water transpiration.
One of the wonders of planting legumes is that fertilizing is unnecessary. However, if your garden soil is infertile, you may sprinkle some complete fertilizers over the ground. Using Rhizobium inoculant, a product that contains soil bacterium, can help boost the growth and yield of your plant.
Mulching and Weed Control
Put a layer of organic mulching material to help control weeds and conserve moisture. Organic soil covers are also advantageous for the roots because they can provide nutrients as it decomposes. You can use dried grass hay or sawdust to mound over the plant hills.
One of the uncomplicated methods to support the growing vines is to employ a tepee. You will need three or four bamboo poles to create a plant tepee. Gather the tops, tie them, and spread out the bottom legs of the poles in a circle near the growing plant. The pyramidic structure is more stable from toppling off with winds or the vine's weight.
Harvest green beans at various stages of pod development! They are ready to be picked just about when the pod has the same girth as a pencil. Mature pods, with seed lumps or protrusions on the skin, are still edible but may be fibrous when eaten. It is ideal for harvesting green beans in the morning when it is said that sugars are concentrated. Take good care not to damage the flower buds, which can still bear beans! Use pruning shears when harvesting your fingernails.
Green Beans Plant Problems
Learning how to plant green beans with pest and disease control. To prepare for the worst-case scenario, here is the most common pest to look out for:
- Cutworms – they may come from various species of moths (adult), but they do the same damage: skeletonize the leaves. Once these tiny wiggling larvae are spotted, manual picking is the best and immediate control. Spraying insecticidal soap, neem oil, or pyrethrum also provides some control. To prevent these worms from infesting your bush, cultivate the land properly, destroy old crop residue, and use mulches.
- Bean leaf beetles – Mexican and Japanese beetles are two common pests in green beans. In severe infestations, they can literally devour an entire bush. If you spot feeding a ladybug-like insect on the buds, that is likely an enemy. Consider manually picking them once caught in the act. You can also use spray deterrents like neem oil to ward off these pests.
- Aphids – these tiny green, orange, or black insects usually can be found on the young growing shoots. They rarely cause significant damage but may transmit virus diseases. Once spotted, do not hesitate to spray them with insecticidal soap. They can also be easily controlled with a forceful stream of water from your garden hose. Spray down the shoots with water weekly to dislodge the insects.
- Leaf blight and leaf spots – without laboratory tests, it is almost impossible to differentiate the causal organism of leaf spots and blight. Fortunately, the control tactics to employ are similar. Avoid wetting the leaves, prune shaded leaves, apply mulches, and observe proper distancing to improve airflow to prevent disease incidence.
- Damping-off disease – young seedlings are susceptible to this disease after transplanting or germination of seeds. The disease is characterized by the sudden toppling off of a sapling, as the base has already been infected with the fungal-like organism. To control the disease, amend the soil with compost and organic material to improve drainage and suppressiveness.
- Bean Mosaic Virus – transmitted mainly by aphids, bean mosaic virus is a plant disease affecting legumes and green beans, characterized by mottled leaves and stunted growth. Unfortunately, this disease is incurable, and early detection and proper management are crucial to minimizing the impact on crop production. Prevent virus spread by using disease-free seeds, removing infected plants, and using insecticides to control the aphids.
Best Green Beans to Grow
A multitude of varieties have been developed, but it is crucial to choose climate-smart and disease-resistant cultivars. To help you decide which one, here are some of the common bean varieties:
- Dragon's Tongue. Looking for a rare kind? Dragon's Tongue bush bean variety is the one you are looking for. Its marbled white-purple pods are packed with anthocyanins that can be enjoyed as snap beans when young or picked when ripe and shelled. The plants grow to a height of 24-30 inches (60-76 cm) and are ready to be harvested in 2 months.
- Provider. Tolerant to cool soil, this bush bean variety is perfect for climatic zones where spring frost is common. Among the gardener's favorites due to its resistance to powdery mildews and foliar disease, Provider is indeed a good provider: it produces plump, nutritious, bright green beans!
- Blue Lake Stringless Bean. Soaring a height of 7 feet (2 m), this heirloom variety yields a bountiful harvest. Its 6-inch pod (15 cm) may be considered shorter than other cultivars, but its pods are tasty, tender, and full of flavor. It is also an early-maturing variety ready to be harvested in about 60 days from sowing.
- Fortex. This French/filet pole bean variety tolerates some foliar diseases such as white mold and Bean Mosaic Virus. Its pods can grow to over 10 inches long but are best harvested at 6-7 inches (15-18 cm) for extra slender beans. Fortex pods are a gourmet delight with a fresh, rich, slightly sweet flavor. As it vigorously grows to about 6 feet tall (1.9 m), trellising is required.
- Contender. One of the early maturing varieties, Contender promises superior yield and disease resistance. Enjoy its crunchy bush beans that have excellent flavor at the end of the season! Bean pods grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long but are best eaten early when 5 inches (13 cm) and stringless.
How Deep to Plant Green Beans?
Because green beans have bigger seeds, they can be tolerant to deep planting. However, observe the recommended depth, about an inch deep (2-3 cm). A good general rule is to insert a finger into the ground up to the first joint of your digits and fill the hole with seeds.
What Do Bean Plants Look Like?
Green beans are pod-bearing leguminous vegetables with smooth, slightly curved outer skin. They can have a bushy or trailing growth habit, producing juicy pods that can be either long or short, depending on the variety.
How Tall Do Green Beans Grow?
Bushy varieties like snap or bush beans have limited growth, reaching a maximum height and width of 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 m), while pole beans can span 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 m).
Do Green Beans Need a Trellis to Climb On?
If you grow green beans that have a bushy growth habit, they will not need a trellis. On the other hand, climbing cultivars like pole or string beans need a trellis to grow properly.
What Is the Proper Way to Plant Green Beans?
The proper way of planting green beans is to sow them in places with lots of sunshine. Pre-germinating them indoors can also be done before planting outdoors but do not forget to acclimate them a few days to the outside condition to prevent stress.