How To Grow Beans

Delaware lima bean podsPhoto by UDel Carvel REC

Beans are a tender vegetable and an excellent addition to any garden. They are great incorporated into a recipe or eaten fresh off the pant. Generally, beans require less maintenance, and for that reason they are easier to grow. Whether you have years of experience behind you or you are planting your first vegetable garden, growing beans should be at the top of your garden list. Beans are among the most productive vegetables you can grow, since they are dependable and easy to care for. In addition, beans mature quickly, and almost everyone loves fresh beans.

When to plant

Bean seeds will germinate best if the temperature of the soil ranges between 60 and 70 degrees F. Sow seeds in well-worked, fertile soil in spring, starting on or after your last frost date. In addition, made additional plantings at 3-week intervals until midsummer, if you are growing fast-maturing bush snap beans.

How to plant

Use a garden fork to loosen the soil in order to prepare the planting bed. Mix in a one-inch layer of mature compost. The seeds should be two to four inches apart and one-inch deep. Thin pole beans to six inches apart; thin bush beans to four inches apart. Wide double rows are the most efficient way to grow beans.

Harvest and store

You should harvest green beans when they are tender and young. Use both hands when picking in order to keep from breaking the brittle plants. After the first flush of beans is picked, most bush beans will produce a second and third one. In order to keep the plants productive, harvest pole beans at least twice a week. When they mature, all snap bean varieties make good soup beans.

Leave dry beans on the plants until the beans inside show good color and a glossy, hard surface, and the pods turn tan. Pull up the plants and hang them in a dry place, if damp weather sets in just when your beans should be drying, until they are dry enough to shell and sort. Before you store your shelled beans in airtight containers, allow them to dry at room temperature for 2 weeks. In addition, keep them in the freezer, if you think insects might be present in your stored beans.

Save seeds

Select the most perfect and largest seeds from your stored beans if you’re planning to replant. In case of snap beans, it is recommended that you do not harvest beans from plants which are grown for seed production. This way, the plants will focus all their energy into large seeds which will grow into largest seedlings.

You should be patient, since snap bean varieties which have been bred to stay tender for a long time are usually slow to develop seeds which are matured. Bean seeds can be stored for at least 3 years, if they’re under good conditions. A single packet will plant about twenty-five feet of row, which should produce 40 pounds or more of pole beans, or 20 to 30 pounds of bush snap beans. Expect about one and a half pounds of dry beans from twenty-five feet row.

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