Different type of beans

Bean Plant Varieties: Different Bean Types For The Garden

Beans are one of the most popular garden plants out there. They’re easy to grow, vigorous and they make a lot of produce that’s tasty and found in many recipes. In other words, you can’t go wrong with beans. But how do you know which beans to grow? Anything so popular comes with a lot of variety, and that variety can get overwhelming. Luckily, there are a few simple differences that split beans into smaller groups, which can be helpful in figuring out what suits you best. Keep reading to learn more about the different bean plant varieties and the best types of beans to grow for your situation.

How Many Types of Beans are There?

While there are far too many specific bean types to name, the majority of bean plant varieties can be divided into a few main subgroups. One very big distinction is between pole beans and bush beans.

Pole beans are vining and need a structure to climb up, like a trellis or a fence. Some varieties can get quite long. However, these plants offer the added advantage of a small footprint; so if your space is limited, any vegetable that can be grown vertically and still produce high yields is a great choice.

Bush beans, on the other hand, are shorter and freestanding. Because they can be planted virtually anywhere, bush beans are easier to grow.

Another thing that divides the varieties of bean plants is the difference between snap beans and shell beans. Basically, snap beans can be eaten raw, pod and all, while shell beans are meant to be opened up, or shelled, so the seeds inside can be eaten and the pods thrown away.

Snap beans may include green beans, yellow beans and peas (which can also be shelled). Examples of shell beans include:

  • Lima
  • Navy
  • Pinto
  • Kidney
  • Black-eye pea

Really, most beans can be eaten pod and all if they’re immature enough, and most beans will have to be shelled if they’re allowed to mature or even dry out. Different varieties of bean plants are bred for both, however, which means that a bean marketed as a snap bean will taste much better raw than one marketed as a shell bean.

The Ultimate Bean Guide: 15 Types of Beans—and How to Cook With Them

No matter where you are in the world, beans are a staple for any home cook. Not only does their mild flavor complement an assortment of seasoning and spices, but beans are full of health benefits as well.

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Beans: Things to Know

Beans are classified as a legume, along with peas, peanuts, and lentils. They are the seeds of flowering plants in the Fabacea family. Beans typically grow in pods with more than one bean inside. They are rich in fiber and B vitamins, helping to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They also serve as a source of protein, making a great substitute for meat. Not to mention- they’re cheap!

All this is to say-adding beans to your diet is a good choice. Beans come in both canned and dry forms. Canned beans are great time-savers since the beans come fully cooked and just require some reheating. However, beans can lose flavor in the canning process, so some prefer to buy them dry and give them a good soak overnight. But with so many different types of beans, where do you begin? We’ve got you covered. Read on for a list of different types of beans and how to cook with them.

Read More: How to Cook with Beans

Black Beans

Black beans are a staple in many Mexican and Brazilian dishes. They have a velvety-smooth texture and mild flavor. They also have a lower glycemic index than many other high-carb foods, helping to reduce the spike in blood sugar that occurs after eating a meal. Add them to salads, soups, casseroles, or tacos for added protein. They also make a healthy substitute for meat or even flour!

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Popular Black Bean Recipes:

  • Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers
  • Black Bean Breakfast Bowl
  • Black Bean Brownies
  • More Black Bean Recipes

Black-Eyed Peas

This Southern staple has a beige hue with an eye-catching black spot, hence the name “black-eyed peas.” They have an earthy flavor that complements salty foods like ham and bacon. Southerners swear by eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year. They are an excellent source of folate, which is an important nutrient for pregnant women. Simmer them in chicken broth (and toss a ham bone in there if you have one) for tender and plump beans. Add your favorite seasoning and even some greens for the perfect side dish!

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Popular Black-Eyed Peas Recipes:

  • Spicy Bean Salsa
  • Dave’s Georgia Black Eyed Peas
  • New Year Black Eyed Peas
  • More Black-Eyed Peas Recipes

Cannellini Beans

Also known as white Italian kidney beans, these cream-colored beans are one of the most common types of beans. They are a popular addition to soups, salads, and many Italian dishes. They hold their shape well and can be cooked lightly or mashed to make delicious fritters.

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Popular Cannellini Bean Recipes:

  • Vegetarian Kale Soup
  • Pasta Fagioli
  • Chef John’s Quick Cassoulet
  • More Cannellini Bean Recipes

Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, come in two varieties: the larger Kabuli is common throughout the Mediterranean, and the smaller desi is mostly grown in India. You’re probably familiar with them because they’re used to make hummus. They have a round shape and a firm texture, making them a great salad topping. Their nutty flavor makes them perfect for snacking too. Just toss dry chickpeas with a little olive oil, salt, and spices before sticking them in the oven. Not only are they one of the most versatile beans, but they’re packed with fiber and protein.

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Popular Chickpea Recipes:

  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Coconut Çurry Chili
  • Mediterranean Zucchini and Chickpea Salad
  • More Chickpea Recipes

Great Northern Beans

This is another type of white bean that is often mistaken for cannellini or navy beans. Greater Northern beans are less dense and have more of a nutty flavor than their bean brethren. They’re ideal for use in soups, stews, or purees because of their light texture and ability to absorb seasonings easily. Not to mention they’re packed full of calcium!

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Popular Great Northern Bean Recipes:

  • Italian Sausage Soup
  • Creamy White Chili
  • Vegan Black Bean Quesadillas
  • More Great Northern Bean Recipes

Kidney Beans

These beans are known for their vibrant red skin and white interior. They have a mild flavor, and make the perfect addition to any chili recipe. Fun fact: kidney beans have about the same amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants as blueberries. They’re also packed with protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and iron. There really are endless options when it comes to cooking kidney beans: add them to rice, tacos, curry, or mash them to make a creamy dip-just to name a few.

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Popular Kidney Bean Recipes:

  • Debdoozie’s Blue Ribbon Chili
  • Slow Cooker Taco Soup
  • Bean Relish
  • More Kidney Bean Recipes

Lima Beans

These beans get a bad rap, but there’s actually so much to love when it comes to lima beans. They can be white, creamy, or green in color. There are two types: the larger, butter (also called Fordhook) beans, and the sweeter baby lima beans. They have mild, buttery flavor and a soft texture that can turn to mush if cooked too long. They are a great addition to any soup or they can stand alone as a side dish. They’re packed with nutrients, and have more potassium than kidney beans.

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Popular Lima Bean Recipes:

  • Calico Beans
  • Luscious Lima Bean Soup
  • Easy Lima Beans
  • More Lima Bean Recipes

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans have an orange-pink color with rust-colored specks. Pinto actually means “painted in Spanish. They’re loaded with fiber and protein too. Their earthy flavor and smooth texture makes them great for dips and stews, or of course, refried beans.

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Popular Pinto Bean Recipes:

  • Refried Beans Without the Refry
  • Vegetarian Tortilla Stew
  • Best-Ever Texas Caviar
  • More Pinto Bean Recipes

Fava Beans

Fava beans, or broad beans, can be difficult to work with. They require that you remove them from their pods and then blanch them in order to get the skins off. But don’t let that keep you from enjoying them. They have a sweet, nutty flavor and a buttery texture. They’re perfect for topping salads, mashing for dips and spreads, or charred alongside asparagus.

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Popular Fava Bean Recipes:

  • Jamaican Oxtail with Broad Beans
  • Fava Bean Breakfast Spread
  • Green Risotto with Fava Beans
  • More Fava Bean Recipes

Navy Beans

This bean goes by many names: haricot, pearl haricot beans, white pea bean, and Boston bean. They have a mild flavor and creamy texture, and similar to Great Northern Beans, they do a great job of absorbing the flavors around them. They’re commonly used to make baked beans, or in traditional English breakfasts. They are also high in fiber, and may help reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome due to their high fiber content. Try seasoning them with bay leaves, garlic, and fresh herbs.

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Popular Navy Bean Recipes:

  • Boston Baked Beans
  • No Fail Bean Pie Recipe
  • Bean Soup

Adzuki Beans

These small, round red beans are commonly mashed into a red bean paste and used in Asian sweets like cakes, pastries, and even ice cream (see below)! These beans have a sweet flavor and a starchy interior. They can also be used for more savory applications such as alongside rice or leafy greens. Like other legumes, they’re protein-packed and high in fiber.

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Popular Adzuki Bean Recipe:

  • Kale and Adzuki Beans
  • Vegetarian Kofta Kabobs
  • Adzuki Ice Cream


Edamame are young soybeans which are usually eaten while still inside the pod. These beans are soft and edible, unlike mature soybeans. These make a tasty appetizer, snack, or salad topping that is loaded with protein. Whether you buy fresh or frozen edamame, they can be boiled, steamed, microwaved, baked, or pan-seared to perfection. Just finish them off with a sprinkle of sea salt, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. Yum!

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VIDEO: Crispy Edamame

“Green soybeans (edamame) are baked under a Parmesan cheese crust, turning a frozen food into a delicious snack,” — Sophia Candrasa. Watch the video to learn how to make this simple snack!

Popular Edamame Recipes:

  • Super Summer Kale Salad
  • Cilantro Edamame Hummus
  • More Edamame Recipes

Mung Beans

These beans are one of the most consumed types in the world. They are small, round, and green with a white stripe going through them. They have a mild flavor and a starchy texture. They are another plant-based source of protein that is high in antioxidants and fiber. They come in many forms: dried powder, whole uncooked beans, split beans, bean noodles, and sprouted seeds. They’re good for use in soups, and their high fiber content makes them very filling. They can also be mashed and made into fritters for a healthy snack.

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Popular Mung Bean Recipes:

  • Beef Pho
  • Mongo Guisado
  • Millet Mung Bean Main Dish


While edamame is the green, raw form of this bean, soybeans are dried and beige in color. Edamame is harvested while the beans are still young and soft, while soybeans are more mature. Soybeans have many uses, including soybean paste, tofu, and soy flour. But these versatile beans can be enjoyed on their own as well! Simply boil the soybeans and add spices and herbs to taste for a yummy, nutrient-packed soybean salad. Or try adding them to quinoa for added texture.

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Popular Soybean Recipes:

  • Multigrain Muffins
  • Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce
  • More Soybean Recipes

Cranberry Beans

Rounding out the list are these striking cream-colored beans with red speckles. Also known as borlotti beans, cranberry beans have a creamy texture and a nutty flavor. They are often used in Italian dishes such as minestrone soup. Use them in warm foods such as stews or cold foods such as bean salads. They can also be used in place of other bean types for chili, baked beans, and pasta fagioli.

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VIDEO: Utica Greens and Beans

The original Utica greens do not have beans but they are such a classic combination,” says Chef John of this twist on a classic dish. Cranberry beans are the secret ingredient here!

Popular Cranberry Bean Recipes:

  • Chef John’s Minestrone Soup
  • Bacon and Cranberry Bean Ragout

Browse our entire collection of Bean Recipes.

This day and age we have more and more options what kind of food to cook and what ingredients to choose. But we can get a bit set in our old ways and forget to experiment. That’s why we thought we’d talk about the types of beans out there and what to cook with them. That way, we can diversify our menu and take our taste buds for a ride.

Bean there, done that? We think not. Surely you haven’t cooked with all of the following types of beans. They all have their own flavors, texture, and health benefits. So, are you ready to do this? If yes, then cool beans!

Different types of beans have different flavors and health benefits.

10 types of beans to cook with

1. Black beans

Black beans, classified as legumes, are super rich in magnesium, high in fiber and protein, they may help to strengthen bones, and they contain quercetin and saponins, which can protect the heart. They contain about 114 kilocalories per half-cup.

Their texture is velvety and their taste is just the right amount of sweet. That’s why they go well with the smoky flavors of bacon or chipotle. Use them in salads with vegetables and fruits. You can add them to soups, salads, casseroles, and tacos. You can find them either dried or canned. But be careful, because the canned black beans are usually loaded with sodium from the canning process.

Black beans are super rich in magnesium, high in fiber and protein.

2. Black-eyed peas

They’re also called black-eyed bean or goat pea and they’re legumes, a subspecies of the cowpea. The bean has a pale color with a prominent dark spot that can be black, brown, red, pink, or green in hue. In the South of the United States, the black-eyed peas are usually eaten during New Year’s Day and are considered a sign of good luck.

They’re an excellent source of folate, which is a hugely important nutrient for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant. Their flavor is earthy, and it goes really well with salty meats like bacon and ham.

In Egypt, they’re cooked with onions, garlic, meat, and tomato juice and served with Egyptian rice. In West Africa and the Caribbean, they are the basis for a traditional dish called akara, made with mashed black-eyed peas with salt, onions, and peppers. The mixture is then fried.

Black-eyed peas have an earthy flavor and go well with salty foods.

3. Cannellini beans

These might be one of the most common types of beans out there. They’re also known as white Italian kidney beans. They have a creamy texture and a delicate flavor that so many of us enjoy. You can cook them lightly, with some garlic, or mash them and turn them into lovely, crunchy and creamy fritters. At the store, you can find them either dried or canned. The canned ones are easier to prepare, but they lose plenty of flavor in the canning process.

Add them to vegetable soups, including minestrone, they go well with tuna meat, red onion, and parmesan cheese, so you can make a salad with them. During the winter, turn them into a casserole by stewing them in tomato juice.

Cannellini beans have a creamy texture and a delicate flavor.

4. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, but you probably know them best as the bean that you make hummus out of. They’re probably one of the most famous and popular types of beans in the world. They’re round and firm and have a nutty flavor. You can buy them canned or dried, and then add moisture to the latter. They are a good source of protein, carbs, and fiber. They help lower blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes. They’re also loaded with iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K.

Get them dried and turn them into delicious vegetarian falafel. You can roast them and give them a bit of a crunch and then add them to a tasty, earthy salad. They pair well with spinach and avocado, so mix them up for a nutrition-packed salad.

Chickpeas go great with spinach and avocado and have an earthy flavor.

5. Fava beans

I swear, I can’t think of fava beans without thinking of that line from “Silence of the Lambs”. You know which one. But it would be a shame to let that stop me from enjoying great fava beans. They’re an ancient member of the pea family and it’s no wonder Hannibal Lecter liked them so much: they can be pretentious. But if you have just a bit of extra time in the kitchen, you can turn out a great dish thanks to them.

It can be a hassle to peel them before eating. You have to remove them from their pods first and then blanch them to make the skins easier removed. They’re nutty, buttery, and sweet. Don’t hesitate to add them to a fresh salad. And you know what else goes great with them? Asparagus. Don’t miss this combo.

You can buy them fresh in the pod, dried, canned, frozen, or in a fresh sealed cold pack.

Fava beans can be pretentious because you have to double work to remove their pods and skins.

6. Great Northern Beans

These are pretty small, kidney-shaped, and full to the brim with calcium. Their special power? Absorbing seasoning easily. So include them in stews and soups with the utmost confidence. They will fit right in thanks to their mild flavor. You can also use them to make baked beans and also ‘pork and beans’. Cook them in a crockpot with plenty of seasonings and enjoy!

7. Kidney beans

This is probably one of the most well-known types of beans. You’ve surely seen them: they have reddish skin and a white interior. It’s one of the basic ingredients for chili, and it’s loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids which help keep your heart safe, iron, and antioxidants like the ones in blueberries.

Along with chili, feel free to make some curry with the kidney beans. Add them to tacos or pair them with some rice. Mash them to make a deliciously smooth dip. There are so many options!

Kidney beans are loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and antioxidants.

8. Lima beans

They’re green, flat, and oval-shaped. There are two categories of lima beans: larger ones, rich in potassium, which are also called Fordhook beans, and baby limas, which are sweeter in taste. The flavor of both is buttery, while the interior is starchy. That’s why it’s best to saute them so that they don’t turn to mush. Unless that’s your intention, and if that’s it, then go ahead. You can find them almost anywhere pre-cooked and frozen. Add them to salads and soups!

Lima beans can be found pre-cooked and frozen.

9. Navy beans

They’re also known as haricot, pearl haricot bean, white pea bean, and Boston bean. This is the type of bean that’s used in most English breakfasts. They’re usually smothered in a savory tomato sauce.

They have a mild flavor and a creamy texture, and they do well with absorbing the flavors of other ingredients. Don’t know what to season them with? Try some bay leaves, fresh herbs like rosemary, and of course, the wonderful aromas of garlic.

10. Pinto beans

It is the most popular bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico when it comes to some dishes. It’s the original ingredient in Mexican refried beans: this orange-pink bean with rust-colored specks is loaded with fiber and protein. They have an earthy flavor and a smooth texture.

Pinto beans are the original ingredient in Mexican refried beans.

Different types of beans (with pictures)

Different types of beans are central to the Kenyan cuisine. They are the main ingredient in Githeri, one of the local staples. In addition, they are used to make chili or bean soup, which is eaten with accompaniments such as chapati, rice, and others.

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Source: UGC

Beans are said to have been introduced to the local cuisine by the missionaries. They were popularized because, in addition to being a source of proteins, which were scarce in most African diets, they also contain carbohydrates. This means that the missionaries were killing two birds with one stone, helping African communities cook meals that were calorie dense to combat malnutrition and at the same time, provide the needed amino acids to the body. Currently, there are tens, maybe hundreds of grain species in the local market. However, not many people can differentiate between the main grain types in the market.

Different types of beans

Below are the common types of grains with pictures which are available in the market:

1. French beans

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Source: UGC

French grains are very common in the local markets. They are said to be equivalent to snap peas and okra when it comes to nutrient density. The grains are harvested when they are green in their pod before they have had a chance to mature. There are more than 130 varieties of green beans, but all of them have equal nutritional value. French grains have been ranked number one among the most nutrient-dense beans.

  • Calories-28
  • Fat-0.55 grams
  • Carbohydrate-5.66 grams
  • Fiber-2.6 grams
  • Protein-1.42 grams
  • Vitamin C-27 percent of the daily recommended intake
  • Vitamin A-2 percent of RDI
  • Magnesium-6 percent RDI
  • Iron-5 percent RDI

Green grains are known to be heart healthy. The fact that they are low in calorie density and high in fiber implies that they keep you satiated for a long time, which keeps hunger pangs away and helps you manage your weight.

READ ALSO: Beans Farming in Kenya for Beginners

2. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans

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The second item in the types of beans list is an excellent source of protein and fiber. They are common in dining halls across the country, and they are served together with rice. Chickpeas have been proven to be very instrumental in weight management. They also reduce cancer risk, especially when they replace red meat in the diet.

Here is the nutritional value of one cup of cooked chickpeas:

  • Calories-269
  • Protein-14.5 grams
  • Fiber-12.5 grams
  • Folate-79 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Manganese-84 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Copper-29 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Iron-26 percent RDI

Chickpeas are the best type of grains to eat if you want to regulate your blood sugar and increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Studies have also shown that eating chickpeas makes it simple to manage cholesterol levels in the blood. Chickpeas also reduce indigestion and improve the general gut health.

3. Lentils

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Lentils are another great source of vegetarian proteins. They are the ideal addition to stews and different kinds of stews. Like the chickpeas, they are a common staple in schools, restaurants, and even homes. One cup of lentils contains the following nutrient;

  • Calories-230
  • Protein-17.9 grams
  • Fiber-15.6 grams
  • Folate-90 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Manganese-49 percent of RDI
  • Copper-29 percent of RDI
  • Thiamine-22 percent of RDI

Lentils have also been proven to be very effective in lowering blood sugar levels. People that take lentils with meals such as pasta have been proven to have a lower possibility of getting complications such as diabetes.

4. Kidney beans

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Source: UGC

Kidney grains are red, and they are often consumed together with rice. They are red, and when boiled they have a characteristic red stock. They are common in chilies, and they make an amazing stew for rice.

Kidney grains have high fiber content; this suggests that they help slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Kidney beans hold the following nutritional value per cup:

  • Calories-219
  • Protein-16.2 grams
  • Fiber-16.5 grams
  • Folate-23 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Manganese-22 percent RDI
  • Thiamine-20 percent of the RDI
  • Copper-17 percent of the RDI
  • Iron-17 percent of the RDI

Studies that were conducted on people who took kidney grain with rice showed that their blood sugar levels were spiked much less than those that ate the rice alone. Kidney beans also play a role in preventing diabetes and weight gain. There is research proving that people who had healthy portions of kidney grains as part of their meal ended up with a significantly reduced body weight and fat mass.

READ ALSO: Some Kenyans are using their thermos flask to cook beans and it’s interesting

5. Black beans

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Black beans are an amazing source of folate just like the kidney beans. As the name suggests they are dark maroon, and they are a staple food in Africa, Central, and South America.

Black grains are known to control weight gain because like the other grain species, they are effective in reducing the blood sugar spike which occurs when you eat starch. Black beans have a very low glycemic index, which suggests that they cause a less significant rise in blood sugar after consumption when compared to other foods. Black grains have a lower glycemic index than bread. One cup of cooked black beans bears the following nutritional value:

  • Calories-227
  • Protein-15.2 grams
  • Fiber-15 grams
  • Folate-64 percent of the RDI
  • Manganese-38 percent of the RDI
  • Magnesium-30 percent of the RDI
  • Thiamine-28 percent of the RDI
  • Iron-20 percent of the RDI

6. Soybeans

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Source: UGC

Soybeans are used in different ways in Eastern cuisines, but the most common one is tofu. Soybeans have a wide range of health benefits which include the following per cup:

  • Calories-298
  • Protein-28.6 grams
  • Fiber-10.3 grams
  • Manganese-73 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Iron-49 percent of the RDI
  • Phosphorus-42 percent of the RDI
  • Vitamin K-41 percent of the RDI
  • Riboflavin-29 percent of the RDI
  • Folate-23 percent of the RDI

One benefit that soybeans have over the other types of grains is that they have a very high concentration of antioxidants which are known as isoflavones. These have numerous health benefits including a great reduction in cancer risk. Eating soybeans as a regular part of the diet has also been shown to reduce the possibility of getting gastrointestinal cancers significantly.

Soybeans are also highly recommended for women who are going through menopause. The isoflavone in the grains are a type of phytoestrogen; this suggests that it mimics the hormone estrogen, which decreases largely when a woman is going through menopause. Soybeans, therefore, help ease the symptoms of menopause.

There are also studies which have shown that women who consume soy types of grains regularly, and especially during their later years, have a lower possibility of developing a reduction in bone density, something that is common during menopause. Soy protein is effective in reducing the factors that cause heart disease and high blood pressure.

7. Pinto beans

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Pinto beans are not as common locally as the other types of grains. They are however very popular in Central and Southern America, especially in Mexico. The grains are usually eaten whole, mashed or fried. One cup of cooked pinto beans has the following regarding nutritional value:

  • Calories-245
  • Protein-15.4 grams
  • Fiber-15.4 grams
  • Folate-74 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Manganese-39 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Copper-29 percent of the RDI
  • Thiamine-22 percent of the RDI

Pinto beans are recommended by nutritionists because of their effectiveness in reducing cholesterol in the blood. Eating half a cup of grains per day for eight weeks was found to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol.

The grains are also instrumental in the production of propionate, which is good for the health of the digestive system. Similar to the other types of grains, eating pinto beans with starchy foods such as rice and chapati has been proven to reduce the amount of spike that happens in blood sugar levels.

8. Peas

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Source: UGC

Peas are another common staple in the Kenyan diet. There are many species of grains that fall under the category peas, and most of them are eaten locally. Peas contain the following nutritional value for every serving of one cup:

  • Calories-125
  • Protein-8.2 grams
  • Fiber-8.8 grams
  • Folate-24 percent of the RDI
  • Manganese-22 percent of the RDI
  • Vitamin K-48 percent of the RDI
  • Thiamine-30 percent of the RDI

Like all other types of grains, peas are very rich in fiber and protein. A study was conducted on people who ate about 50 grams of pea flour per day for 28 days. It was found that their insulin resistance reduced greatly, which helped lower their amount of belly fat. These results were a comparison with people who ate wheat flour.

Pea flour has also been shown to greatly reduce the amount of spiking that happens to insulin levels in people who take it when compared to wheat flour. It increases the feeling of fullness, which makes you feel satisfied for a longer period, and consequently reduces calorie intake.

Consumption of wheat flour increases the production of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, and both are very good for the overall health of the gut.

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Source: UGC

Navy beans are known as haricot grains in some places. They are an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals. Here is the nutritional value that you will find in one cupful of cooked army beans:

  • Calories-255
  • Protein-15.0 grams
  • Fiber-19.1 grams
  • Folate-64 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Manganese-48 percent of the RDI
  • Thiamine-29 percent of the RDI
  • Magnesium-24 percent of the RDI
  • Iron-24 percent of the RDI

Navy beans are also known to be effective in reducing the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A study was conducted on kids who regularly ate muffins containing navy grain powder, and it was found that they had higher levels of HDL cholesterol after consuming the muffins for four weeks.

Studies were also conducted on people who had a large waist circumference and suffered from obesity. It was found that eating the navy beans as part of their diet for four weeks greatly reduced their waist circumference and also reduced their blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

10. Peanuts

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Contrary to what many people think, peanuts are legumes; which sets them apart from other types of nuts. They are an excellent source of mono-unsaturated acids, polyunsaturated acids, B vitamins, and proteins. Half a cup of peanuts will give you the following nutritional value:

  • Calories-427
  • Protein-17.3 grams
  • Fiber-5.9 grams
  • Saturated fat-5 grams
  • Manganese-76 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Niacin-50 percent of the RDI
  • Magnesium-32 percent of RDI
  • Folate-27 percent of the RDI
  • Vitamin E-25 percent of the RDI
  • Thiamine-22 percent of the RDI

Because they have a high concentration of mono-unsaturated acids, they can benefit the body greatly if they are used to replace certain aspects of the regular diet. Studies have shown that people who eat peanuts regularly are at a lower risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke.

An interesting thing to note is that even though the peanuts have these benefits, eating peanut butter does not bring about the same benefits.

Another study conducted on women who had peanuts as part of their diet for six months showed that it reduced their levels of LDL cholesterol. Note that unsalted peanuts are more beneficial to the body than the salted variety.

READ ALSO: How to cook french beans Kenyan style

11. Fava beans

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Fava beans are also known as broad grains or fava beans. They also belong in the pea family and are widely cultivated for human consumption. The grains are a common delicacy in many countries across the world. They are a favorite in Northern Africa, China, and Southern America. A cup of cooked Fava beans will enrich your diet with the following nutrients:

  • Calories-187
  • Protein-12.9 grams
  • Carbohydrates-33.4 grams
  • Fiber-9.2 grams
  • Folate-44 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Manganese-36 percent of RDI
  • Copper-22 percent of RDI
  • Phosphorus-21 percent of RDI
  • Magnesium-18 percent RDI
  • Zinc-11 percent of RDI

The grain also contains small amounts of riboflavin, calcium, selenium, Niacin and Vitamin K.

12. Lima beans

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Lima beans get their name from Lima, the capital of Peru where the bean was first cultivated. The beans are popular across the world, and there are different variants which are suitable for different climatic conditions. A cup of cooked Lima beans offers you the following nutritional benefits:

  • Calories-209
  • Protein-12 grams
  • Fat-1 gram
  • Fiber-9 grams
  • Vitamin A-10 percent of recommended daily intake
  • Vitamin K-13 percent of RDI
  • Thiamin-16 percent of RDI
  • Riboflavin-10 percent of RDI
  • Vitamin B6-16 percent of RDI
  • Iron-23 percent RDI
  • Magnesium-31 percent RDI
  • Phosphorus-22 percent RDI
  • Manganese-106 percent RDI

Other minerals and vitamins which are present in Lima beans include copper, potassium and folate. Taking these grains boosts your heart health by reducing the possibility of developing high blood pressure or a stroke. It also reduces the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and allows uptake of HDL. Research that was carried out on people who ate Lima grains on a regular basis showed that they were able to increase their insulin resistance, cut down on abdominal fat, and avoid diabetes.

13. White bean

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White beans are native to the Americas. They are also called the pea grain or the white pea bean. They are common in soups, stews and also as baked and canned grains. A cup of sprouted white beans offers the following nutritional value:

  • Calories-67
  • Potassium- 8 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Carbohydrate-13 grams
  • Protein-6 grams
  • Vitamin C-31 percent RDI
  • Magnesium-25 percent RDI
  • Vitamin B6-10 percent RDI
  • Iron-10 percent RDI

Research conducted on people who consumed the beans on a regular basis showed that they had lower levels of LDL cholesterol. The grains are also rich in potassium, which lowers blood pressure.

14. Mothbean

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The moth bean was introduced to the Kenyan cuisine very recently. It goes by the name western and is now a staple in many homes. A 100 gram serving of cooked moth beans gives you the following nutrients:

  • Calories-343
  • Protein-23 grams
  • Carbohydrate-62 grams
  • Iron-65 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Magnesium-95 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Calcium-15 percent RDI
  • Vitamin B6-20 percent of RDI

The grain is native to India but has spread to other parts of the world. There are some places where it is known as the Turkish gram.

15. Mung beans

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Mung beans are native to India. However, they have been cultivated in China and other parts of South East Asia for the longest time. The grains are consumed as sprouts which are easily available in grocery stores. It is also possible to sprout your Mung beans. Here, is the nutritional value addition which comes with one cup of cooked mung beans:

  • Calories-212
  • Protein-14 grams
  • Fiber-15 grams
  • Fat-1 gram
  • Folate-100 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Magnesium-36 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Thiamine-36 percent RDI
  • Manganese-33 percent RDI
  • Zinc-24 percent RDI

Other trace elements which are found in Mung grains include calcium, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. Note that raw Mung beans carry only 31 calories per cup and will be more potent in the mineral content mentioned above.

16. Great Northern Beans

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These are grown in the Northern areas of the country. The grains are cream in color, and they closely resemble Lima beans. However, they are a little bland in taste while the Lima beans are nutty. The good thing about the northern beans is how well they absorb flavor. Here is the nutritional value that you can expect from one cup of cooked great northern beans:

  • Calories-209
  • Fat-0.9 grams
  • Sodium-15 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Calcium-4 percent of the RDI
  • Iron-8 percent of RDI
  • Dietary fiber-7 grams
  • Carbohydrates-18 grams
  • Protein-6 grams

These beans are common in many local cuisines. They are also readily available as canned beans in the supermarkets. The main reason they are so popular is how easy it is to make them into any recipe, especially when you have the right spices to accompany them.

Research that has been conducted on people who eat the grains shows that they can regulate their body’s sensitivity to insulin, which controls obesity and the possibility of getting diabetes.

They are also known to lower the amount of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream and increase the intake of HDL cholesterol.

17. Lablab beans

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Lablab beans are also known as hyacinth grains. They are native to Africa, although they have been cultivated in other parts of the world. Lablab beans are locally referred to as Njahi. One cup of the cooked hyacinth beans provides the following nutritional benefits:

  • Calories-117
  • Total fat-0.6 grams
  • Potassium -9 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Carbohydrate-21 grams
  • Protein-8 grams
  • Calcium-4 percent of RDI
  • Magnesium-20 percent of the RDI
  • Iron-25 percent RDI

The grains are popular, especially as a diet for new mothers in Kenya and other parts of Africa. They are known to regulate the action of insulin in the blood. Lablab beans have a lot of dietary fiber, which keeps satiated for a long time, and prevents you from taking excessive calories.

READ ALSO: How to prepare delicious coconut beans with bananas for Eid like a true Swahili bae

18. Black Eyed Peas

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Black-eyed peas are also very common in the local stores where grains are sold. The black-eyed peas are great for soups, stews and are also used to make mashed foods. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas offers the following nutritional benefits:

  • Calories-160
  • Carbohydrate-36 grams
  • Protein-5.2 grams
  • Fiber-8.2 grams
  • Folate-52 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Vitamin A-26 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Magnesium-22 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Potassium-20 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Thiamine-13.3 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Phosphorus-8 percent of the recommended daily intake

The other minerals and vitamins that are found in black-eyed peas include Niacin, Zinc, Riboflavin, Thiamin and vitamin B6.

19. Pigeon Peas

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Pigeon peas are very common and popular, especially in the upper and lower eastern regions of the country. They are eaten both as a vegetable and a legume. They can be sprouted while green, and they can also be allowed to dry and eaten while dry. Black-eyed peas are nutrient rich and form a great accompaniment to dishes such as rice, chapati, and spaghetti among other starchy foods. A cup of cooked pigeon peas contain the following nutritional benefits:

  • Calories- 343
  • Total fat-1.5 grams
  • Potassium-39 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Carbohydrates-63 grams
  • Dietary fiber-15 grams
  • Protein-22 grams
  • Calcium-13 percent RDI
  • Iron-28 percent RDI
  • Vitamin B6-15 percent RDI
  • Magnesium-45 percent RDI

Pigeon peas, like other types of legumes, have been proven to be very effective in regulating insulin sensitivity. People who eat a diet that contains pigeon peas are have been proven to have reduced waistlines over time, a lower possibility of getting diabetes and a lower possibility of being obese.

20. Yellow bean

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These beans are native to East Asia and especially China. They are commonly included in soup and stew recipes because they are a rich source of iron, manganese, and vitamin C. A cup of cooked yellow beans will provide you with the following nutrients:

  • Calories- 31
  • Protein-2.4 grams
  • Vitamin A-18 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • Vitamin C-20 percent of RDI
  • Calcium-6 percent RDI
  • Iron-9 percent RDI

The beans are also used in salads because they have a sweet flavor. Like other beans, the yellow bean has been proven to regulate insulin in the blood. The grain contains potassium which lowers high blood pressure.

Which beans are healthy?

Like all other foods, grains can also be ranked regarding their nutrient density. Here is the top ten list of healthy beans according to their nutrient density:

  • French beans
  • Yellow beans
  • The great northern bean
  • Navy beans
  • Mung beans
  • Fava beans
  • Kidney bean
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Hyacinth bean

Note that this does not mean the other beans are not healthy; all the beans have the nutrient that they are richest in, and you need to select the one which best meets your nutritional needs:

  • If you need grains that are high in protein content, the winged bean, yellow bean and hyacinth are your best option.
  • Similarly, if you want beans which are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates for weight loss, the red kidney grains are the best option.
  • If you have high blood pressure, you need grains that have a low concentration of sodium and a high concentration of potassium, which makes the black beans an ideal choice.

Which beans have the most protein?

There is a common misconception that grains only contain protein. The reality is that different types of beans have different amounts of protein. When selecting which beans to cook, you have to consider their protein value and pick what delivers the amount to meet your nutritional needs. The beans which top the list for having high protein content include:

  • Winged beans- 30 percent protein content
  • Flava bean- 27 percent protein
  • Royal red kidney bean-26 percent protein
  • Mung bean-24 percent protein
  • Kidney bean-24 percent
  • White bean-23 percent
  • Navy bean-23 percent
  • Black bean-22 percent
  • Pinto bean-20 percent

There are many other grain species cultivated and used as food around the world. The important thing about making beans part of your regular cuisine is to know which recipe will make delicious meals without causing too much flatulence.

Finally, beans come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and can be consumed in many forms including split, ground in to flours or dried, canned, cooked or frozen whole legumes. Beans are versatile additions to your diet. Vary the ways you use the different types of beans in your meals, incorporating them into soups, stews, burritos or tacos, veggie burgers, bean spreads and salads.

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READ ALSO: Best ideas for farming in Kenya that will increase your profits!

Bush & Pole Bean Varieties

Bush or snap beans are by far the most popular homegrown beans. They’re easy to plant, grow well even in poor soil and furnish a tasty harvest in only seven or eight weeks. They used to be called “string” beans because of the fibrous string that ran the length of the pods.

Snap Beans

Most of the varieties now grown in home gardens are stringless. They’re called “snap” beans because when they’re fresh, they snap in pieces easily. Snap beans are also referred to as “bush” or “pole” because the plants are either bushy or they grow up poles. Snap beans are very productive. You can expect about 15 pounds of bush beans from a narrow, single 30-foot-long row or 40 to 50 pounds from a 30-foot-long rake-width row.

Good Bush Varieties

There are two basic types of snap beans: green-podded and yellow-podded or wax beans, and they come in different shapes: long, short, flat, round, broad. There are more green bean varieties than yellow ones. For green snap beans, ‘Provider’, ‘Tendercrop’ and ‘Blue Lake’ are widespread favorites. For yellow ones, ‘Goldcrop Wax’ and ‘Improved Golden Wax’ are good varieties to try. You’ll also discover purple-podded snap beans. A good one is ‘Royal Purple Burgundy’. The purple pods are flavorful, and turn green when cooked.

Half-Runner Beans

Southern gardeners sometimes grow a different type of bush snap bean, called “half-runners.” One reliable variety is the ‘White Half-Runner’ that matures in about 60 days.

Growing Vertical with Pole Beans

Pole bean vines twirl around all kinds of supports – strings, poles and fences – and they’ll climb as high as 10 to 15 feet if you let them. City gardeners and other people with smaller plots love pole beans because they can have a long harvest of beans using very little space. A lot of pole bean fans also grow them because they think they taste “beanier.” Southern gardeners prize pole beans because with their long season they can have a really long harvest from just one planting. In the North, you can expect a two- to three-week-long harvest from your pole beans. Pole bean plants dry off fast after a rain or sprinkling because they grow straight up where the air can dry them. Therefore, bean diseases, which thrive in humid conditions and spread easily when leaves are wet, are kept at bay.

Pole vs Bush Beans

Some folks prefer growing bush beans to pole beans because although they take up more space, they require less work planting, staking, weeding and watering. Bush beans also produce most of the crop all at once, which is great for freezing. But pole beans are beautiful and bountiful, and you don’t have to bend over to reap your harvest. Although they mature later than bush beans, most of the pole bean varieties are really prolific. They only bear small amounts each day, though, so they’re best for small families or those not interested in preserving their beans. As long as you keep them harvested, however, pole beans will keep bearing.

Pole Bean Varieties

Pole beans have a more distinct and nuttier taste than bush types, and ‘Kentucky Wonder’ and ‘Romano Italian’ are probably the two most popular pole bean varieties. Other varieties to try include ‘Kentucky Blue’ and ‘Kentucky Wonder Wax’.

Bean Varieties that are Best Bets and Easy to Grow include snap-bush green beans, snap-pole green beans, bush yellow beans, lima beans, and dried and shell beans.

Need top-choice, sure-bet, best-pick, easy-to-grow bean varieties?

Keep reading to the bottom of this post for my tips for sure-fired bean growing success. Also read How to Grow Beans.

Best Bet Snap-Bush Beans:

• Blue Lake 274. 54-61 days. CBM. Tasty and unique flavor, plump, tender, fine texture. Dark-green, rounded pods 5½ to 6½ inches long; white seeds. Dwarf, bushy plants 12 to 22 inches tall. Beans come to maturity almost all at once; good for canning and freezing. Heavy yields.

• Bush Kentucky Wonder. 52-65 days. R. Excellent flavor. Fleshy, tender, stringless, round-flattened pods to 8 inches long; carmine seeds. Heavy yielder. Good fresh and canned. Vigorous grower over extended period. Good grower in all regions. Also called Old Homestead.

• Contender. 40-55 days. CBM, PM. Tasty fresh out of the garden or cooked. Medium-green, round-oval stringless 6 to 8 inch pods, slightly curved; buff mottled seeds. Bush plants 12 to 20 inch tall. Very productive and early to harvest. Tolerates heat and mildew.

• Derby. 57 days. AAS. CBM. Excellent flavor. Straight, dark-green pods, oval and rounded to 7 inches long; best when picked 5 inches long; white seeds. Good for freezing and canning. Strong upright plant with slow seed development for long harvest. Weather tolerant.

• Greencrop. 55 days. AAS. Excellent flavor, tender, meaty. Flat pods to 8 inches long, but just ½ inch wide, half the width of most Roman types. Top yields. Use fresh or for canning and freezing. Good grower in home gardens.

• Harvester. 50-60 days. CBM, V. Round medium-green straight, stringless pods 5 to 6 inches long. Pods set high on hardy upright 21 inch plants. Grows well in warm, southern regions.

• Provider. 52 days. CBM, PM. Excellent fresh and retains flavor after pickling. Medium-green, round, stringless pods to 6 inches long. Dependable, good choice for cool soil, early or late sowing; does well in heat and adverse weather. Adapted for many regions.

• Romano Bush. 50-70 days. CBM. Distinctive flavorful bean, meaty. Long, flat, medium-green, stringless pods to 5 inches long. Bush type plant to 20 inches tall. Abundant yield.

• Topcrop. 45-53 days. AAS. CBM, PM. Very flavorful, tender, meaty. Straight, emerald-green, stringless 6 to 7 inch pods that are slightly curved; oblong, brown mottled seed. Strong upright 18 to 24 inch tall plant. For fresh eating, canning and freezing. Concentrated picking.

Best Bet Snap-Pole Beans:

• Fortex. 60-70 days. Tender, mildly sweet, nutty, meaty, savory flavor. Extra-long round stringless pods grow to over 11 inches; pick at 7 inches for slender filet beans; seeds are walnut-brown. A French favorite. Requires sturdy stakes.

• Emerite. 55-70 days. Sweet, beany flavor. A true filet bean originally from Vilmorin, one of the oldest French seed houses. Straight slender green stringless pods: pick at 4 to 5 inches long for tender green beans; pick from 7 to 9 inches long for crisp, brittle pods. Good for freezing. Very productive vine grows to 8 feet tall.

• Kentucky Blue. 51-73 days. AAS. CBM. Sweet, tender. Dark green, straight, smooth, stringless pods to 7 inches long. Best flavor and tenderness at 6 to 7 inches. Yields for weeks. Good grower on stakes in small gardens. A Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake Pole cross.

• Kentucky Wonder. 58-72 days. R. Tender, meaty pods with distinctive flavor. Medium-green, flat-oval 7 to 10 inch straight pods in clusters, stringless when young; white or brown seeded. High yields; extended season. Vigorous grower from 5 to 7 feet. Heirloom from Kentucky before 1864.

• Romano. 60-70 days. Italian type. Very flavorful and meaty thick. Buff to brown seed with white eye; flat, medium-green stringless 5 to 6¾ inch pods. Good to eat when young. Unique flavor popular in Europe.

• Scarlet Runner. 70 days for young pods, 115 days for shell beans. Sprays of scarlet flowers. Flattened, very dark green pods are edible and tasty when young; pods toughen as they reach full side. Shell older pods and cook beans like green limas. Vigorous vines. Attracts hummingbirds.

• Kwintus. 60-80 days. Flavorful and tender. Long, flat green pods up to 11 inches long. Vigorous vine to 8 feet tall. A favorite European climbing bean suited for greenhouse growing or outdoors. Bears early, both the first and last bean to be picked.

Best Bet Bush Yellow Beans:

• Goldencrop Wax. 45-65 days. AAS. CBM, V. Tender, stringless bean. Straight round bright-yellow 5 to 6½ inch pods; white seeds. Small compact upright plants; beans set in hot weather, resists blossom drop. Pods set well off ground. Abundant yield. Suited for home gardens.

• Resistant Cherokee Wax. 50-56 days. AAS. CBM, V. Tasty, stringless wax been; oval bright-yellow straight 5½ to 6½ inch slightly curved pods. Large vigorous erect plant; heavy yields even in adverse weather. Believed to have been handed down from the Cherokee Indians.

Best Bet Lima Beans:

• Fordhook 242 Bush. 70-85 days. AAS. Nutty flavor. Short, fat-thick greenish-white pods 3½ to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide with 3 to 5 large seeds. Very productive; easy to shell. Grows good in north and near the ocean.

• Henderson’s Bush. 60-75 days. Pole type lima. Buttery, full flavor. Baby lima, slightly curved 2¾ to 3½ inch dark green pods, 3 to 4 small but plump green beans that dry creamy white. Good pod set; harvest early, bears until frost, drought resistant. Grow in southern or northern gardens.

• King of the Garden. 85 days. Bush butterbean type. Excellent quality. Pods are broad, 4 to 6 inches long, smooth and flat; white seeds. Vigorous climber well adapted to cool growing conditions.

• Dixie Butterpea White. 70-76 days. Butterbean type. Meaty taste, succulent texture. Medium-dark green pods to 4 inches long; white seed. Vigorous bushy plant 16 to 23 inches tall; extremely prolific producer. Pods set in high temperatures and continue until frost. Good home garden choice.

• Baby Fordhook Bush. 75-75 days. Butterbean type. Delicate flavor, and tender; best cooked with ham. Small 2¾ inch pods are slightly curved; each contains 3 to 4 bright-green “baby” seeds. Bush stands 14 to 16 inches tall.

Cranberry shelling beans

Best Bet Dried and Shell Beans:

• Black Turtle. 85-105 days. Popular for black bean soup, stews, and refrying. Small black pea-sized beans. Upright bush, half runner. Disease and heat resistant, also hardy. Widely grown from Southwest to Cuba and into South America.

• French Horticultural. 63-68 days. Excellent green or shell or dry bean. Flat oval 6 to 8 inch long straight pods bright green maturing to yellow splashed with red when dry; purple beans. Bush-type plant 18 to 20 inches tall with short runner. High yields. Good freezer. Heirloom.

• Navy. 85-100 days. Nutty, mild flavor. Small white beans in 4-inch pods. Plant 16-24 inches tall. High yields. Excellent for baked beans, soup, or stew; skin is firm and does not much when cooled.

• Vermont Cranberry. 60-85 days. Unique sweet taste and fine quality. Oval, medium-sized, plump cranberry colored beans from red-mottled pods; 5 to 6 seeds per pod. Seeds are green shelled or dried. Reliable, hardy, easy to shell. Popular New England heirloom.


Bean Growing Tips for Success:

Planting. A plant bean in full sun after all danger of frost has passed in spring. Beans will not germinate in soil colder than 60°F. Sow successive crops every 2 to 3 weeks until 60 days before the first frost. Plant seeds in raised ridges to 6 inches high in spring; in summer, plant in furrows to ensure contact with soil moisture.

Roll bean seeds into a moist paper towel and place the end of the towel in a jar of water for several hours before sowing. This will soften the seed case and speed germination

Support pole beans. Pole beans require the support of poles, tepees, cages, or trellises. Set up supports when you sow seed. Air circulation is crucial to warding off disease.

Even moisture and mulching. Beans require even, consistent watering. Avoid overhead watering. When plants are 12 inches tall, mulch with aged compost to both feed your crop and keep soil moisture even.

Harvest. Pick beans at the right time: pick filet beans when they are pencil thick; pick snap beans when you feel seeds forming in pods–the bean should snap when bent in the middle; pick green shell beans when the pods are full size but have not begun to dry; pick dried beans when the pods are stiff and break with pressure.


AAS=All America Selection, resists most disease.

CBM=Common bean mosaic virus.

PM=Powdery mildew.



How to grow: Beans

At a glance


• Beans are grown from spring to autumn in most areas of Australia. You can grow beans in winter in tropical zones
• Plant from mid-spring to January in cool and temperate areas – or spring and autumn in warmer areas
• Beans need at least 6 hours of sun a day
• Provide some protection from strong damaging winds


• Beans will grow in a variety of soil types, but the drainage must be good.
• Loosen soil with a fork to a depth of 30cm
• Toss in 2 full buckets of manure or compost per square metre – more for heavy clay soil
• Sprinkle a tight fistful of sulphate of potash per square metre, to assist flowering and fruiting
• A pH of 6-7 is best. If your pH is lower than 6, spread a handful of lime every square metre
• Mix your additives through with a fork and mound the soil to improve drainage
• Soak the soil and leave it to settle for a few hours before planting


• Bush beans are self-supporting, but climbing beans need a frame
• Utilise old mesh fencing or timber trellis held in position with star pickets
• You can use bamboo poles to make a simple tepee frame – just grab 2-metre poles (5 or 6 will do), tie them together at the top and spread them out at the base to form a pyramid shape
• Install support frames before sowing. Align them in a north-south direction so that plants see the sun on both sides of the frame


• Sowing seeds directly in the soil is the best method of planting beans
• Space rows 80cm apart for climbers and 50cm for bush varieties
• Use the handle of your rake to mark a line on the soil, then drag a trowel along the line to create a furrow 5cm deep
• Dribble seeds along the rows 10-15cm apart. For tepees, plant 3-4 seeds at the base of each pole
• Cover the seeds with around 2cm of soil
• Water seeds well, then don’t water again until they germinate. Bean seeds can rot when the soil is constantly wet

Watering and fertilising

• Start watering again as seedlings start to grow
• Regular deep watering is important, especially when flowers and pods appear
• Mulch the soil to conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds
• Beans fix their own nitrogen and don’t need a lot of fertiliser – just a sprinkle of all-purpose organic fertiliser when the pods are forming


• Beans start fruiting 6-8 weeks from planting
• Pick them before pods become too lumpy – that’s when they’re at their best
• Don’t let them get old and stringy
• Check and harvest daily. Store what you don’t eat in the fridge
• Pods can also be blanched lightly and frozen for winter eating

Growing fresh runner and dwarf beans in Western Australia

Growing the crop


Times of planting and production in the different areas are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Planting and production times in different areas of Western Australia

Area Time of planting Time of harvest
Kununurra March to July May to September
Carnarvon March to August May to November

August to October

January to March

November to January

March to May

South-west October to January January to March

Plant every two to four weeks to obtain a succession of harvesting periods. Plant by hand or by machine, 3 to 4cm deep.

Depending on season, beans will emerge in 5 to 14 days. Do not thin the seedlings.

Climbing beans

Space climbing beans in single or double lines per row. In single lines, space at 15 to 25cm, with two seeds at each site and 1.0 to 1.3m between the rows. If planted in two lines per row, plant 0.6m between the lines and 1.5m between the rows, with two seeds planted every 30 to 40cm. About 40kg of seed per hectare is required.

Dwarf beans

With dwarf beans, aim for a plant population of 30 to 40 plants per square metre. About 45kg of seed will be needed per hectare. Plant rows 50cm apart with single seeds spaced at 7.5 to 10cm.

In Carnarvon, plant in rows 1.2m apart with two lines 60cm apart per row and two seeds planted every 15cm.

Beans for mechanical harvesting are planted with rows 30cm apart and 50 to 75cm between seeds in the row. Seeding rates are around 90kg/ha.


Most growers use overhead sprinklers in Perth and the south-west. This has the advantages of cooling plants in hot weather and increasing the humidity around plants. Trickle irrigation can also be used, especially in Carnarvon, and leads to large savings in water, weeding and labour. Growers in Carnarvon use a combination of low volume trickle watering (1.5 to 2.0L per hour per dripper) and black polythene mulch, 0.9 to 1.2m wide.

Beans require moist soil at all times but must not be waterlogged, especially for the first week after planting. Do not overwater for the first month after planting, as this can result in excessive vegetative growth.

Increase watering from two weeks before flowering to two weeks after flowering. As a guide, irrigate as shown in Table 2 from flowering onwards.

Table 2 Watering recommendations from flowering onwards with various irrigation systems

Irrigation system

Evaporation replacement (%)

Overhead sprinklers (Perth) 140 1 to 2 times daily
Overhead sprinklers (South-West) 90 Every 5 days (on average, apply 25mm)
Trickle irrigation (South-West) 80 Every 2 to 3 days
Trickle irrigation/polythene (Carnarvon) 50 Every 2 to 3 days


Nitrogen is the main fertiliser needed, although some nitrogen is supplied to the plants from Rhizobium bacteria in nodules on the roots. Plants short of nitrogen are stunted, with small pale green leaves. Excess nitrogen will produce too many leaves and lower yields.

Beans also need phosphorus and potassium. Plants low in phosphorus have small, dark green leaves turning to bronze, with some defoliation and poor flowering. Plants short of potassium have stunted growth, with curled yellowish leaves and scorched leaf margins.

To improve soil organic carbon levels, apply compost at 30 to 50 cubic metres per hectare sometime in the rotation. This will supply organic matter, add nutrients and help retain moisture in the soil.

Analyse soil and irrigation water before planting, plus one to two analyses of the youngest mature leaves during the first half of the growing season. This will enable some adjustments to the fertiliser program and provide information on nutrients that are deficient or toxic. Some of the suggested nutrients may be deleted or reduced if they are sufficiently high in the irrigation water and soil, including sources from compost and fertilisers from previous cropping.

Do not apply excess fertilisers, because nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are easily washed through sandy soils by rainfall and irrigation. This may lead to pollution of surface and groundwater.

In Perth and the Swan Coastal Plain, apply the following rates of magnesium and trace elements before planting:

  • 50kg/ha magnesium sulphate to supply magnesium
  • 20kg/ha manganese sulphate to supply manganese
  • 18kg/ha borax to supply boron
  • 18kg/ha iron sulphate to supply iron
  • 18kg/ha copper sulphate to supply copper
  • 18kg/ha zinc sulphate to supply zinc
  • 2kg/ha sodium molybdate to supply molybdenum.


  • On heavier textured soils such and loams and gravelly loams, phosphorus requirements should be applied based on soil test results and banded at sowing. Some potassium and a small amount of nitrogen may also be banded at sowing. Seek advice from DAFWA advisers or your horticultural consultant regarding a specific fertiliser program.


  • On sands with yellow subsoil, apply phosphorus before planting according to soil test. Phosphorus fertilisers may be broadcast and incorporated.
  • A simple fertiliser program on sands is to follow with weekly dressings of 50kg/ha urea and 70kg/ha of sulphate of potash.


In Carnarvon, the soil and irrigation water supply adequate levels of potash. Apply fertiliser as follows:

  • Apply double superphosphate at 1.5kg per 60m row and incorporate into the soil to 15cm before planting, if soil test phosphorus is less than 100mg/kg.
  • Apply urea at 1kg per 60m row one week after emergence and again at the same rate just prior to flowering. Sulphate of ammonia (2.1kg per row) can also be used.


Climbing beans require support from the four leaf stage onward, using one of the following systems:

  1. Place vertical stakes (25mm square and 2m long) every 30 to 50cm.
  2. Use ti-tree (Melaleuca uncinata) stakes, 2 to 2.25m high. Dip the bottom 45cm of the stake in tar to prevent rotting. The stakes form an inverted ‘V’ trellis and are supported by a central wire 1.6 to 1.8m high.

Where Fusarium disease has caused damage in previous years, dip stakes in a bath containing sodium hypochlorite (1% chlorine) for ten minutes, two weeks before use. Wash excess soil off the stakes before dipping them.

Four to six weeks after planting, it may be necessary to assist some of the plants to climb around the sticks in an anti-clockwise direction.

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