Growing Green Beans
Green Beans are the second most commonly grown vegetables after tomatoes. They are very easy to grow.
Green Beans are very prolific and you can continue to harvest them throughout the season. It's best to keep picking them for a continuous production You can also do succession plantings for a continuous harvest. Plant seeds every two weeks.
Green beans come in three different types based on their growing characteristics. Bush beans are compact varieties that grow in a bush form and need no external support. They are great for raised beds and gardens limited in space.
Pole beans are similar to bush beans but grow in a vining manner and require some type of cage or trellis system for support. Pole beans can reach heights of 6 feet or more, so the support system should be strong and high enough to accommodate them. An advantage of pole beans is that they are easier to harvest; you don?t have to bend over completely to pick them like you do bush beans.
Half-runner beans are a cross between pole beans and bush beans. Half-runners can be grown without support but they spread out more than bush beans and need plenty of room to grow.
After all danger of frost is gone, plant seeds 1 1/2 inches deep 3-4 inches apart in 24" rows.
Green Beans are not cold tolerant and need warm soil of 65 degrees or better. They grow best in full sun with well watered soil.
There are several factors to consider when harvesting green beans. You'll get the best flavor and texture if you pick you beans at the right time. You should usually try and harvest your beans when the plants are dry. Let the morning dew evaporate before harvesting.
The bean pods do not need to reach a certain length before harvesting them. Some of the pods will be long and thin, others will be short and fat. The size variance will not affect the flavor of the green bean. The more important factor is texture. Check the type of variety when it comes to texture. There are green beans that are "stringless", which people many prefer.
The green bean pods should be firm, crisp, and show no visible bulges. A bulge will indicate that the green bean is over-ripe. It will still taste good but might have a limp texture. A perfectly ripe green bean will make a snapping noise when broken into pieces. This is why some folks call green beans "snap beans".
As the plants will continue to produce green beans over a long period of time, great care should be taken to not damage the plant when harvesting green beans. Use one hand to hold the stem and use your other hand to pick the bean. The blossom end of the stem will usually still be attached to the bean after you pick it. If you don't hold the stem, you risk breaking off other blossoms or branches or yanking the whole plant out of the ground by the roots. Take care of your green bean plants and they will take care of you.
After harvesting green beans, store them on the kitchen counter with the stems on. Once you remove the stems, keep them in the refrigerator.
The stems usually snap off easily.
If you want to wait more than a few days before eating your freshly picked beans, blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Then plunge the beans into ice water for 3 minutes. This will help the beans retain their bright, green color. Place the cooled beans in an air tight bag and put them in the freezer. They will keep for up to 1 year.
When the season is over, pull up the plants and toss them in your compost bin.
Pole beans will grow as a climbing vine that may reach up to 15 feet tall. Therefore, pole beans 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 the last spring frost; minimum soil temperature is 48 degrees F. Plant 1 inch deep in normal soil, and 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.