A Guide to Growing Green Beans

If you want to feel like you have a green thumb, then grow green beans! Easy to plant and quick to harvest they are one of the best plants to have in the garden. A guide to growing green beans will get you on the right track.

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The Two Types of Green Beans

Bush Beans: A bush like plant that grows up to two feet tall and does not need any type of support. They will produce beans between 50-55 days.

Pole beans: Are a vining plant that grows up to 15 feet long which means they require some type of trellis to climb up for support. They will produce beans between 55-65 days.

What Type of Soil?

Before you plant the first seed, prep your soil. Beans prefer loose well drained soil a pH (6.0–7.0). Adding some aged manure or compost before planting should be fine.

When Do I Plant Green Beans?

Green beans like it warm so wait until after your last frost to plant them. The temperature of the soil should be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too low the seeds will not germinate and will rot.

A note from our garden: When I first started gardening (Southwest Ohio) I would always plant my green beans right around Mother’s Day. The problem I have been experiencing is that by the time my green beans are flowering and producing beans, the weather here spikes up into the high 90’s with tons of humidity.

The heat makes the green beans drop their blooms which in turn gives us a small harvest. I end up planting a second group of green beans to compensate. I have now switched to waiting until the middle of June to plant a large planting of green beans so that I can avoid the first wave of heat and humidity.

Direct Sow or Transplant?

Green beans do not do well with transplanting, so direct sow the seeds right into the garden bed. Now that I know better, green beans grow quickly so there is no need to start them indoors.

Water daily to keep the soil moist the first week you plant to ensure that the seeds germinate and begin to grow. Green beans usually germinate between 6-9 days.

How Do I Plant Green Beans?

Both Pole and bush bean seeds should be planted 1 inch deep and three inches apart. Keep the rows at least 12 inches apart.

If you are planting pole beans make sure to set up the trellis before planting. This way when the plants begin to grow, they have something to attach themselves to.

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How Much Water and Fertilizer?

Like many of the other plants in your garden, green beans need about 1 inch of water per week.

Green beans do not need much fertilizer. If you feel they need an extra boost, fertilize your green beans with fish emulsion or a low nitrogen fertilizer. You can also side dress your green beans with compost during the growing season.

Use Mulch

Using mulch in my garden has been a real game changer. It suppresses the weeds, but most importantly it keeps the soil moist during the heat of the summer. We use hay here on my farm because we have Dexter cows, and it is readily available. Because it is easy to put down, lasts a long time, and does not give me many weeds, it is my favorite mulch to use. Other mulches to consider are grass clippings, weed free compost, or shredded leaves.

When and How Do I Harvest the Beans?

Harvest the green beans when they are young and tender. Pick them daily to encourage production and when the plant is dry to prevent disease.

The best way to harvest green beans is to take a pair of pruning shears and cut the beans off of the plant. It is so easy to pull the plant apart trying to harvest the beans.

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