Growing yard long beans

How Long to Grow Green Beans?

Bush Bean Maturity Dates

Bush beans nearly always have shorter maturity dates than pole beans, especially when used as green beans. They typically are ready all at once and many don’t make very good dry beans. Here are a few:

  • Carson – 56 days.
  • Valentino – 53 days.
  • Alicante – 55 days.
  • Jade – 53-57 days.
  • Blue Lake – 53-58 days.
  • Kentucky Wonder – 65 days.

Pole Bean Maturity Dates

Pole beans were originally grown for storage as dry beans. Maturity dates below are for green, not dry, beans. They may have strings that must be removed. These make good green beans:

  • Cherokee Trail of Tears – 85 days.
  • Louisiana Purple Pod – 67 days.
  • Rattlesnake – 65-85 days.
  • Helda – 58 days.
  • Kentucky Blue – 57-65 days.

Temperature and Maturity

Temperatures can affect how long it takes beans to reach maturity. Beans germinate best at temperatures between 60°F (16°C) and 85°F (29°C) degrees. Colder temperatures may delay germination for as much as two weeks and may also increase maturity rates. However, very hot weather can affect flower development and pod set, which can also delay maturity.

Growing Conditions and Maturity

To ensure your beans mature close to the expected maturity dates, you need to give them optimum growing conditions. Beans like fertile soil that is not too high in nitrogen, which promotes leaf growth, not pod growth. Soil should also drain well as beans can develop molds and mildew if too wet. Always plant beans in full sun for best growth and development.

Green, Shell or Dry

Although you may be growing your beans primarily to eat in their immature state, that can be a narrow window as far as maturity goes. You need to pick every day or two to get the green beans. If you miss that stage, however, larger beans can still be cooked green if you slice them lengthwise. Many are also good for shell or dry beans.

Other “Green” Beans

In addition to the sort of beans we commonly eat green, other bean varieties are be used in the same way. Runner beans can be eaten green when young (the strings must be removed). The oriental variety known as the yard long or asparagus bean forms pods up to 30 inches long. They are cut crosswise into smaller pieces and stir-fried or sauteed.

New! Click or tap the image to view the new Growing Green Beans guide

By: Joseph Masabni, Assistant Professor and Extension Horticulturist

Green beans are a popular, warm-season, vegetable crop for home gardens. They grow well in most Texas soils. Like most vegetables, green beans grow best in well-drained soil and with plenty of sunlight.


Several bean varieties are recommended for planting in Texas:

Snap beans

  • Blue Lake
  • Derby
  • Early Contender
  • Goldencrop Wax
  • Greencrop
  • Kentucky Wonder
  • Tendercrop
  • Tendergreen
  • Topcrop

Pinto beans

  • Dwarf Horticultural
  • Luna
  • UI-114

Lima beans

  • Florida Butter
  • Florida Speckled
  • Fordhook
  • Henderson Bush
  • Jackson Wonder

Soil preparation

Before planting green beans, remove all weeds and trash from the planting area. Then till the soil 8 to 10 inches deep and rake it several times to break up the large clods. It is best to work the garden soil only when it is dry enough to not stick to garden tools.


In the spring, plant green beans only after all danger of frost has passed. In the fall, plant them 10 to 12 weeks before the first expected frost. Use ¼ to ½ pound of seed for each 100 feet of row of green beans. If possible, use fungicide-treated seeds to protect the seedlings from diseases until they are up and growing. Do not eat treated seeds.

Figure 1. Plant bush beans on rows that are 2½ to 3 feet apart.

For bush beans, plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart in the row (Fig. 1). The rows should be 2½ to 3 feet apart. After the beans have sprouted, thin the plants to 3 to 4 inches apart (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. After the bush beans are up, thin them to 3 to 4 inches between plants.

For pole beans, plant the seed in rows 3 to 4 feet apart. Plant them in hills about 3 feet apart in the row (Fig. 3). Place a 6- to 8-foot stake in the center of each hill. Plant three to four seeds around the stake, about 1 inch deep in the soil. As the bean vines mature, they will grow up the stake.

Figure 3. Plant pole beans in hills about 3 feet apart. Place a 6- to 8-foot single pole or stake in the middle of each hill.

Try to plant when the soil is moist enough to cause the seeds to germinate and emerge quickly.


Beans grow best when the soil is fertilized well. For an area that is 10 feet long and 10 feet wide, use 2 to 3 pounds of fertilizer such as 10-20-10. Spread the fertilizer evenly over the area then mix it in with the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.


Water the plants about once a week in dry weather. Do not let the soil dry out while the beans are blooming or the blooms will drop and yields will be decreased.

Care during the season

The roots of beans grow near the soil surface. When hoeing and pulling weeds, do not dig too deep, or the plant’s roots will be damaged. After the plants begin to flower and set beans, apply ½ cup of fertilizer for every 10 feet of row. Scatter the fertilizer between the rows. This will help the plants produce more beans. Water the plants after fertilizing.


Many insecticides are available at garden centers for homeowner use. Sevin® is a synthetic insecticide; Bt-based insecticides and sulfur are organic options. Sulfur also has fungicidal properties and helps in controlling many diseases. Before using a pesticide, read the label and always follow cautions, warnings and directions.


Diseases may be a problem during cool, wet weather. If spots appear on leaves or bean pods, treat the plant with an approved fungicide. Neem oil, sulfur, and other fungicides can be used. Before using a pesticide, read the label. Again, always follow cautions, warnings, and directions.


Green beans are ready to pick when they are about the size of a small pencil. Pull them carefully to avoid damaging the plant. Overmature beans are tough and stringy.

If beans are picked when they are ready, the plants will continue producing for several weeks.


You can store fresh beans in the crisper, in plastic bags or in other containers in the refrigerator. They usually can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.


Fresh green beans add color and variety to meals. Green beans are a fair source of vitamins A and C if they are cooked for a short period in a very small amount of boiling water. Cook them just until they are tender. Do not cook them too long or they will become mushy and lose their bright green color.

Fresh steamed green beans is an easy dish to prepare.

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New! Growing Green Beans

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Remove the plastic before planting or cut slits in the plastic and leave it in place all summer. Plant green bean seeds 1 inch deep in sandy soils and 1/2 inch. Count on about two months from the time you plant the bean seed until the How do you determine if your green beans are ready to harvest?.

With our Green Bean Guide, find information on growing green beans in your garden before pole beans in about 50 to 55 days; pole beans will take 55 to 65 days. Do not start seeds indoors; they may not survive transplanting. .. Both the wax and green beans have long runners growing upward like pole beans. should. Green beans thrive in average well-drained soil with a pH between and little space to grow and produce an abundant crop of fresh beans in How Long Does It Take for Pea Plants to Go From Flower to Mature Pod. Lay several green bean seeds from each variety you plan to plant on separate seeds can take more than two weeks to germinate and may rot before they do if.

Green beans are a moderately simple crop to grow in the summer and fall, Bush beans take less time to mature than pole beans do, but pole Apply a fertilizer to the soil before planting the seeds. . Snap the tip off of each green bean, and remove the long string from the front side of the bean. Green beans are one of the most popular vegetables to grow for year’s seed crop, the different varieties should be grown in beds that are. pole green beans. The vegetables are long and Large seeds and fast results make planting green beans a perfect activity for kids. Not to mention So take care in growing your plants and you should have great success!.

Green beans are a popular, warm-season vegetable for gardens. Green beans grow best in well-drained soil, with plenty of sun. Do not eat treated seeds. For an area that is 10 feet long and 10 feet wide, use 2 to 3 pounds of fertilizer. There are so many different varieties of green beans to choose from, but for. Growing up we had canned green beans, in all their slimy, salt-laden glory. Each plant will produce a handful of beans over a long growing season. of 50+ bean seeds would have cost less and yielded better results. They take very little from the soil, and they’ll give the land a chance to recover a bit.

Green Beans are easy to grow and nutrient rich. They also take longer to produce beans than the bush varieties. Cons: They will not produce beans for as long as the pole varieties. Each seed (bean) should be sowed inches deep near a stake, trellis, or fence that they can cling to and grow up. Read this article to learn more about how to grow bush type beans in the garden. Gardeners have been growing bush beans in their gardens for almost as long beans (where the pods are eaten), green shelling beans (where the general, bush beans take less time than pole beans to produce beans. Today, green beans remain one of my favorite crops to grow and eat. Green beans are both easy and quick to grow, which also makes them the Don’t be in a rush to sow bean seeds as planting when the soil is still cold and wet can lead to rot. The smooth pods are about 5 inches long and the plants are resistant to .

Beans should be ready to harvest as soon as 65 days after planting. as green beans, though types like garbanzos do take longer to grow prior to harvesting.

Full of beans: Alan Titchmarsh on planting green beans Both French and runner beans are frost-tender, so sow some seeds now on a When you grow climbing varieties the same plants should keep going for most of the summer. So take full advantage of this by growing a leafy crop such as lettuce or. Learn the correct way to growing green beans in your backyard. These beans are great producers but take a lot of work while harvesting. These beans need long hot summers (day and night) in order to thrive. if you are planting a variety of bean that will need a trellis to do that before you actually plant your seeds. Green beans–also called snap beans–are tender annuals best planted The pod size of snap beans can vary as well; some are just 3 to 4 inches long others are 6 to Do not soak seeds in advance of planting and do not over-water after sowing. . We love to share vegetable gardening tips that will take you from seed to.

How to grow French Beans successfully with instructions, tips and pictures. bean (also called green or snap beans) they are half hardy annuals and do not cope It found its way to mainland Europe in the sixteenth century and soon after The green beans are eaten along with their pods before the seed begins to bulge.

Get expert RHS advice on growing and harvesting French beans and Back; Take action . the usual green beans, there are cream, yellow, and purple French beans. ‘Golden Gate’:An attractive golden-yellow climbing bean which produces a heavy crop over a long Do now. Harvest beans; Keep plants well- watered. The green bean growing season is a long one. Pole beans tend to produce green beans pods a little later than bush beans do, but continue to supply a harvest for up to six weeks. Below a trellis, plant green bean seeds 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart. . How to Grow Spinach Even Your Kids Will Eat. Green beans grow well in long and narrow containers because green beans often grow as Seeds will not germinate well in over-wet soil, so take special care not to Bush beans should be ready to harvest only 50 to 60 days after planting.

Bush beans, also called snap beans, are by far the most popular homegrown beans. So, because green beans are the fourth most popular summer vegetable grown by home Take a few minutes before you plant your seeds and inoculate them by coating If the soil has no such bacteria, your beans won’t do as well. Prepare your soil before planting green beans seeds by adding organic compost. However, for best results, the container should be 12 inches or larger. Growing Green Beans Indoors Takes the Sting Out of Winter indoors, especially if you enjoy the flavorful addition to your recipes all year long. Plant a bean seed, and it will almost certainly grow and produce a generous crop biggest and best harvest possible, there are a few things you should know.

Growing Green Beans – There are more to green beans than you think. Seeds of pole beans should be planted 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart. When pods are large enough to eat, harvest by pulling the pods off the plant, taking Burpee’s Tenderpod, harvest at 50 days, has 5-inch-long green pods. French beans are picked when they are young and green, the beans are not removed French Bean seed should never be sown if the soil is wet and cold – never temperature and conditions before they can be planted outside, this will take. Growing green beans in the garden is one of the simplest things for beinning Your seeds should germinate in days, though if the soil temperatures are still . How long it will take your green beans to reach maturity will depend on type.

Do not soak or presprout green bean seeds before planting. The larvae are fat, dark yellow grubs with long branching pines. water, add fresh water, bring beans to boil, and simmer until tender, which takes several hours.

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Did you know that every last Saturday in July, a Green Bean Festival is held in Blairsville, Georgia to honor the green bean? They have green bean cooking contests, a beauty pageant, and even a tour of the local canning plant.

Wow! Who knew that a green bean was that special to some people that they had a day just to celebrate them?

Well, if you love green beans even half as much as the folks around Blairsville, Georgia do then you are probably interested in all there is to know about growing green beans.

So today I’m going to give you the information you need to successfully grow green beans right outside your backdoor.

Let’s get moving—

Green Beans Plant Info

  • Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Soil: Silty loam, sandy, PH between 5.5 to 7.5, well-drained, temperature between 15.5 to 29 degrees Celsius
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun exposure in well-drained soils
  • Planting: Seeded directly in the garden when the soil temperature is at least 15.5 degrees Celsius, 14 to 28 days before the last frost date and 80 to 133 days before the first frost date
  • Spacing: 6 inches between plants for pole beans and 4 to 6 inches for bush beans, 12 inches between rows for pole beans and 4 to 6 inches for bush beans
  • Depth: 1 to 2 inches seed planting depth
  • Best Companions: Corn, potato, eggplant, cucumber, catnip, nasturtium, carrot, celery, tomato, peas, broccoli, beet, strawberry
  • Worst Companions: Onion, scallion, leek, garlic, sunflower, pepper, basil, fennel
  • Watering: Water moderately to ½ inch of water per week, avoid watering the plant tops
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fertilizer one a month throughout the growing season
  • Common Problems: Bean weevil, stem nematodes, downy mildew, leaf and pod spot, chocolate spot, black bean aphid, bean seed beetle, bean rust, sclerotinia, cutworms, white mold, mosaic viruses
  • Harvest: When the leaves are dry, before the seeds bulge, continual harvesting is recommended for prolonged production

The Varieties Of Green Beans

There are four basic types of green beans. Within each type there are different varieties to choose from.

1. Bush Beans

The first type of green bean is a bush bean. Bush beans are shorter beans that only grow to be about two feet in height.

However, they don’t require any trellises because if planted correctly they basically stretch out and lean on one another for support.

And an upside to growing bush beans is that they do produce about 1-2 weeks faster than pole beans though they don’t produce as much as pole beans do.

Also, bush beans have many popular varieties such as Contendor, Blue Lake, Provider, and Tendergreen.

So I must admit, we grow a variety of green beans in our garden and bush beans is one of them. The reason we love bush beans is that you usually do not have to string them. The downside to bush beans is that they are very hard on your back when picking.

2. Pole Beans

The second type of bean is pole beans. Now these beans grow to be about 8-10 feet in height.

But these beans certainly need a trellis because of how tall they grow. However, most people grow these beans on teepees.

So they are obviously going to be much easier to harvest because they grow so tall, and they also are great producers as well. The varieties of these beans available are Rattlesnake, Fortex, and Kentucky Wonder.

3. Runner Beans

The third type of bean is a runner bean. These beans are great producers but take a lot of work while harvesting.

But don’t let that deter you because though they are a lot of work at harvest, we still grow them because of how great their production is.

So the most popular variety of this type of bean is the Scarlett Runner. But it is worth mentioning that if you do raise these beans that they will offer large pods though they do require stringing, and you will have to give them something to run up.

4. Yardlong Beans

This type of bean is one that you may not be very familiar with. It is actually an Asian variety of green bean. They are most commonly found in Chinese markets.

So the most popular variety of this bean is the Red Noodle. But if you are interested in raising this type of bean you must live in a very warm climate. These beans need long hot summers (day and night) in order to thrive.

How To Plant Green Beans

Green beans give a large harvest for the amount of work that they require.

So here is the skinny on green beans. They can be planted once your ground temperatures are above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Not sure when that is going to be? No worries, just use this calculator.

Now that you know when you should plant them, you have already done half of the work in planting beans. Basically, you’ll add 1-2 inches of compost to the soil where you are planting them and plant them as seeds. Yes, they are direct sow. Isn’t that great?

But it is worth mentioning that your soil pH level should be around 6.0-6.5. That is the acidity that makes them the happiest.

Then you will plant your seeds 2-4 inches deep. And be sure if you are planting a variety of bean that will need a trellis to do that before you actually plant your seeds.

And that is all there is to it. If you add the proper amount of compost to your soil you shouldn’t need to fertilize your beans any further after that. Beans are actually very light feeders so if you add too much nitrogen then you will cause a delay in their production.

So when you go to plant them you can just dig a shallow ditch in the dirt with a trowel or a hoe. There are no fancy tools needed to plant green beans in your garden.

And that is just how easy green beans are to plant and become a part of your garden.

Common Problems In Green Beans

Green beans require very little care. All they ask for is 1-1.5 inches of water per week.

And they do better if you can water them through a drip irrigation system verses an overhead watering system and garden hose. This is because dirt will not splash on them and helps them to avoid diseases from the dirt that splashes on them.

But green beans do still have a few common ailments that you may come in contact with during your time growing them.

1. Stem Anthracnose

Stem Anthracnose is actually a fungus. You will know your plants have it if you begin to see dark colored spots on them. This actually forms from your beans growing in overly wet conditions.

So you will be able to avoid this fungus by avoiding overhead watering. This keeps the dirt off of your plant and, in turn, avoids the fungus from latching on to your beans. Unfortunately, there are no treatments known at this time.

2. Bean Rust

Bean rust is also a fungus. You will know your plants have developed this disease because it will have developed rust colored spots.

Again, the only way to beat this fungus is to stop it before it starts. But you can accomplish this by rotating your crops. Unfortunately, if your plants do develop this disease you will need to discard them.

3. Mosaic Virus

Mosaic viruses are caused by many factors such as herbicide use, infections, or nutrient deficiencies. You will know your plants have this disease if they have unusual colored splotches on them. Like many of the other diseases, the only real way to beat them is to discard once your plants develop the disease.

4. Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew looks like it sounds. It is basically a white powdery film that develops on your plants. It is spread by wind and rain.

So the only ways to beat or avoid this disease is to avoid overhead watering, use high-quality seeds when planting, and also to use fungicide if your plants develop this disease.

Best Green Beans Companions

Companion planting is a great method to keep in mind when planting a garden. The reason is because there are certain plants that complement each other well when planted near each other. They are able to give each other a boost that they simply can’t get when planted near other plants.

But with that same thought process, there are also plants that should avoid each other in the garden. They drag one another down by drawing the same bugs and other common problems that could equate to a disaster for both crops.

Well, green beans are no different. They have friends and foes in the garden. So what are they? Here they are—

Best Companions for Green Beans:

  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbages
  • Lettuces
  • Peas
  • Parsley
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Summer Savory

Worst Companions:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Fennel
  • Sunflowers
  • Kohlrabi

Harvesting And Storing Green Beans

So you’ve planted your green beans and now they are producing like crazy. But now what?

Well, the fun is just beginning. Green beans are fairly easy to make grow but the harvesting is where the real work begins.

So when you harvest your green beans is going to depend on your personal preference. Around my house, I have some picky green bean eaters. When green beans are still young and tender is when I have to pick them if I expect my husband and boys to eat them.

See, as green beans get bigger and the beans fill out, the strings become more prominent and the outside of the pod gets a little tougher.

Now, some people love this type of bean commonly called a ‘shelly.’ But not around my house. If my husband or boys have a tougher skin or see a string then they pretty much turn their noses up.

So as I said, I pick my beans when the inner bean is still very small. Basically, when they are young and tender.

But as I was saying, you look at your beans and decide your own preference as to when you want to harvest.

And after you decide to harvest you just go along the row or teepee and gently pluck them from the plant. Once they have been picked you’ll bring them inside and rinse them.

Then my favorite part begins. You grab a large pot and a pan. You’ll need the pot to put the broken beans in and a smaller plan to hold handfuls of green beans in your lap. I usually put on a movie while I’m breaking beans so I can relax and be productive simultaneously.

So when you are set up you will break one end of the bean and pull the string down the side of the pod. (Unless you went with stringless beans. If that’s the case you’ll just break off both ends of the bean.)

Then you’ll break the other end of the bean and pull the other side’s string off. Then you will break the bean into 2 or 3 parts. Then toss them in the pot. And do this repeatedly until the whole harvest has been strung and broken.

After stringing is complete, you’ll wash the beans again in cold water to make sure there is no remaining dirt on them. Then it will be time to store them.

Storage Options

1. Into The Fridge

If you don’t have time to string your beans right after harvesting, no worries. All you need to do is leave the beans unwashed and place them in a storage bag or a grocery bag.

Then you’ll toss them in the fridge. They should remain in good shape for up to 7 days. And then you’ll process them as mentioned above when you are ready.

2. Into The Freezer

Many people actually do not recommend freezing your fresh green beans. Apparently, there have been some studies that show that green beans begin to lose certain nutritional value after being stored in the freezer between 3 and 6 months.

But if you would still like to freeze them then after you process them as mentioned above, you will steam them for 2-3 minutes. Then place them in a freezer sealed bag and toss them in the freezer until you are ready to eat.

3. Into The Canner

I usually can most of my green beans. So after you process them and wash them the second time you will tightly pack the raw beans into washed and sanitized quart jars. You will also need to place 1 teaspoon of canning salt in the bottom of the jar.

Then after the jars are tightly packed, you’ll want to fill the jars with water up to the neck of the jar. Then place a fresh lid and a ring on to the jar. Then you will pressure can the beans for 25 minutes under 10 pounds of pressure. If you are unfamiliar with canning, here is a great resource:

4. Into The Stomach

So you picked and processed your beans. But you don’t want to store them for later. You want to eat them now! I understand. Fresh green beans are so delicious.

Well, after you wash the beans for the second time you will place them in a pot where they are covered with water.

Now, I like a lot of flavor in my beans. So instead of just boiling them in water I add some stock or bullion to the water. I also add some fresh onion or onion flakes. As well as red pepper flakes, bacon, or bacon bits to the mix.

Then you will bring them to a boil and then allow them to simmer for about 1-2 hours until they are tender. Then you can add some butter to the finished product. They are so good!

So as you can tell there are multiple ways to store your fresh green beans and harvesting isn’t very difficult either. Green beans are truly a great plant to have in your garden.

Recipes For Your Green Bean Harvest

When you grow green beans, harvest them, and store them you have to know what to do with them once you have them ready for your consumption. So here are a few recipes to help you get started.

1. Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a favorite around many households. It is a delicious way to help your family have a little different twist on the traditional form of cooked green beans. Here is a great recipe.

2. Dilly Beans

Dilly beans are a delicious option for fresh grown green beans. When you get tired of canning regular green beans then you can always can these for a different twist.

3. Green Beans With New Potatoes

This recipe is great for a Sunday supper with the family all gathered around your kitchen table. It is very frugal and rather simple to put together. So if you need a dish that is delicious and will feed many then this recipe is for you.

4. Vegetable Soup

I love vegetable soup. I could seriously eat it on a hot summer day. It is healthy and delicious. So if you would like a tasty soup that will warm you up on a cold winter day or fill your stomach on a warmer day then you will love this one.

5. Fried Green Beans

This is a different recipe for green beans. But it sure looks tasty. If you are a fan of fried green tomatoes then you will probably love fried green beans too. So give it a try with this recipe.

Well, there you have it folks. All you need to know about growing your very own green beans. They are very tasty, easy to grow, and great nutrition for you and your loved ones.

So why not go for it and raise your own?

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If you’re hoping to grow more of your own food this year, green beans are a great place to start.

Although easy enough to pick up at the grocery store, nothing beats the taste and nutrition of homegrown veggies. And fortunately, green beans are one of the easiest veggies to grow!

In cultivation for over 7,000 years, there are a number of amazing varieties to choose from. And here’s the best part:

You can also plant them throughout the growing season for repeated harvests.

Quick to germinate, low maintenance, and great for canning and freezing, this prized legume is one of the most rewarding seasonal veggies to grow.

Here’s what you need to know to grow your own:

Which Type and What to Buy?

There are several types of legumes that fall under the common name bean, scientific name Phaseolus vulgaris. But here the focus is on the classic green bean, which happens to come in a number of colors like yellow, purple, and of course, green.

Plants also come in different habits, either pole or bush, and it’s important to know the difference.

Bush Beans

Bush varieties are compact, about 24 inches tall and wide. Although they require a good amount of space in your garden, they don’t need any type of support.

Blue Lake Bush 274 Seeds, available via True Leaf Market

Quick to mature within 45 to 60 days, they produce a dense crop in a short period of time, making them ideal for canning and freezing.

Provider Bean Seeds, available from True Leaf Market

They also perform well if summers are typically hot in your area.

Try the varieties ‘Provider’ or ‘Blue Lake 274’ to start, which are short but tender.

Pole Beans

Pole varieties are great if you’re dealing with limited garden space. However, as climbing vines that may reach five feet or more, they definitely require some sort of sturdy trellis or support.

With height on their side, they can be an enchanting focal point in any garden. There are an amazing number of DIY trellis ideas out there, including live teepees.

Just make sure to provide sturdy structures that are tall enough, and that don’t shade out any other sun-loving plants.

Blue Lake Pole FMK1 Seeds, available via True Leaf Market

They take a little longer to mature than most bush varieties, usually 55 to 65 days, and produce pods gradually throughout the season.

If your area tends to experience more mild summers, pole beans are a better bet than bush.

Kentucky Wonder Seeds, available from True Leaf Market

‘Kentucky Wonder’ and ‘Blue Lake Pole’ are popular varieties among seasoned growers.

Okay. Now that you know the difference between the two types, it’s time to get started!

Sowing Seeds

Green beans don’t love to be transplanted, so starting seeds indoors isn’t recommended. Getting a jumpstart on the growing season isn’t necessary, however, since plants mature quickly.

When your area is free from the chance of frost, it’s time to sow seeds. Before you do, though, grab your kids!

Large seeds and fast results make planting green beans a perfect activity for kids. Not to mention the awesome forts you can grow.

Sow seeds about 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart. When plants are a few inches tall, thin them to at least 18 inches apart for bush varieties and 4 inches apart for pole varieties.

Once in the ground, you can expect seeds to germinate within a week or so if soil is adequately moist and warm enough.

Take care that seeds don’t become too wet, as they may crack and not germinate at all.

Fertile, well draining soil is best, but this fast growing legume is pretty tough. Its quick seed-to-harvest cycle means you can experiment with planting it in different locations throughout the season to find out what works best.

If soil is especially poor draining, however, you will definitely want to amend it with compost.

Additionally, is ideal. Plants can tolerate partial shade, but you’ll find yourself enjoying fewer tasty pods.

To keep the harvest coming, sow seeds every two to four weeks, until two months or so before your area’s average first frost date.

When plants – particularly the bush type – start slowing down in productivity, get them out of the garden and into the compost bin and then sow more. This is a definite space saver.

Growing Healthy Plants

Once plants are large enough, add an inch or two of mulch. Not only does mulch retain soil moisture, but it also helps to protect green beans’ shallow roots, which can easily be damaged.

With that in mind, pull weeds before they become established. If they grow to be too large, uprooting weeds may do more harm than good.

Shallow roots also cause plants to be more susceptible to drought. Because of this, check the soil’s moisture level regularly and water during dry spells.

To check soil moisture, stick your finger in the soil. You should feel some moisture just a few inches deep. If you don’t, go ahead and water.

Green beans have complete flowers (with both male and female parts) and are considered self-pollinators. This means they don’t require pollinators, like insects, to produce pods. If you’re growing a balcony garden, this is definitely a bonus!

Since pollinators aren’t needed, poor productivity usually comes down to a lack of sun or nutrient imbalances in the soil. For instance, if you notice lush, green plants but few pods, there may be too much nitrogen in the soil.

Green beans, and legumes in general, are actually nitrogen fixers. They develop nodules on their roots that are filled with bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for converting unusable nitrogen into a usable form that other plants can take up through their roots.

Increasing nitrogen in the soil makes legumes amazing companion plants to a number of crops, especially heavy nitrogen feeders, not least of which is corn. The notorious three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) is just one example of how green beans in particular make a great neighbor.

Similarly, crop rotation is considered best practice with legumes, and most annual crops for that matter.

Making sure you don’t plant the same plants in the same spot year after year helps to ensure nutrient-rich soil. It also helps to limit the reoccurrence of diseases and pests that are likely to return.

Pests Love Them, Too

One of biggest challenges when growing green beans is keeping pests from eating them before you have a chance to.Deer and rabbits will munch on plants at any point in the season, if left vulnerable.

To protect them, consider a fence or garden cloches, which are simply small cages that can protect seedlings and small plants from pests and damaging frosts.

Garden Cloche Plant Protector Bell, available from Amazon

To reduce the formation of mold, water plants in the morning. Wet leaves and the coolness of night are a bad combination, providing ideal conditions for many types of diseases to form.

Also keep an eye out for Mexican bean beetles, slugs, caterpillars, and aphids. As soon as you see any of these critters, pick them off or blast them with the hose.

Remember that green beans are self-pollinating. So, you can essentially grow them under the protection of a floating row cover up until harvest, which is great protection from garden pests. Not enough air circulation, however, and you may actually encourage the formation of some diseases.

Overall, healthy plants will be much less prone to insects and diseases. So take care in growing your plants and you should have great success!

Nothing to Lose

Even if you have never grown a vegetable in your life, you stand nothing to lose by popping a few green bean seeds in the ground.

They are quick to germinate and mature, which will motivate you to keep an eye out for them!

Not to mention, if one crop fails, you can plant another. This is one plant that you have time to experiment with during the span of a single season.

Before you know it, you’ll be adding them to salads and stir fries. Need a little culinary inspiration? Try these recipes for sriracha tofu stir fry from Foodal, an easy roasted version from The Gingered Whisk, or a twist on a classic, Greek yogurt green bean casserole.

Have you grown green beans before? Share your favorite varieties with us, as well as all of the different staking options you’ve tried!


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Product photos via Panacea and True Leaf Market. Uncredited photos: .

About Amber Shidler

Amber Shidler lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and holds a dual bachelor’s degree in botany and geography. For four years she worked as a horticulturist, but is now a stay-at-home mom. With experience in landscape design, installation, and maintenance she has set her sights on turning her tenth-of-an-acre lot into a productive oasis. Amber is passionate about all things gardening, especially growing and enjoying organic food.

Chinese Long Beans: Tips On Growing Yard Long Bean Plants

If you like green beans, there’s a humdinger of a bean out there. Uncommon in most American’s veggie gardens, but a veritable staple in many Asian gardens, I give you the Chinese long bean, also known as the yard long bean, snake bean or asparagus bean. So what is a yard long bean? Read on to learn more.

What is a Yard Long Bean?

In my neck of the woods, the Pacific Northwest, a large majority of my friends and neighbors are of Asian origin. First generation or second generation transplants, long enough to enjoy a cheeseburger but not so long as to dismiss the cuisines of their respective cultures. Therefore, I am quite familiar with the yard long bean, but for those of you who are not, here’s the run down.

The Chinese long bean (Vigna unguiculata) truly lives up to its name, as growing yard long bean plants having pods of up to 3 feet in length. The leaves are bright green, compound with three heart shaped smaller leaflets. Both flowers and pods are usually formed in joined pairs. The blooms are similar in appearance to those of the regular

green bean, with the color varying from white, to pink to lavender.

More closely related to cow peas than string beans, Chinese long beans nonetheless taste similar to the latter. Some people think they taste a bit like asparagus, hence the alternate name.

Long Bean Plant Care

Start Chinese long beans from seed and plant them just like a regular green bean, about ½ inch deep and a foot or so out from each other in rows or grids. Seeds will germinate between 10-15 days.

Long beans prefer warm summers for maximum production. In an area such as the Pacific Northwest, a raised bed in the sunniest area of the garden should be selected for cultivation. For additional long bean plant care, be sure to transplant only once the soil has warmed, and cover the bed for the first few weeks with clear plastic row cover.

Since they like warm weather, don’t be surprised if it takes awhile for them to really begin to grow and/or set flowers; it can take two to three months for the plants to flower. Just like other climbing bean varieties, Chinese long beans need support, so plant them along a fence or give them a trellis or poles to climb up.

Chinese yard long beans mature rapidly and you may need to harvest the beans daily. When picking yard long beans, there’is a fine line between the perfect emerald green, crunchy bean and those that are becoming soft and pale in color. Pick the beans when they are about ¼-inch wide, or as thick as a pencil. Although as mentioned, the beans can attain lengths of 3 feet, the optimal picking length is between 12-18 inches long.

Packed full of vitamin A, the sheer novelty will have your friends and family begging for more. They can also be kept in the fridge for five days placed in a Ziploc bag and then in the vegetable crisper with high humidity. Use them as you would any green bean. They are awesome in stir fries and are the bean used for the Chinese green bean dish found on many Chinese restaurant menus.

Long Beans

General Information

Long Beans are an ancient vegetable, with wild varieties of these plants still growing in tropical Africa, where they were likely introduced from Southeast Asia. The long bean is also known as the long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. They have a very pronounced flavor and have a distinctly beany taste, and are not sweet like the green bean. Long beans work best briefly steamed, stir-fried, or braised, but also hold up well when added to stews. If you want them to be more juicy, blanch before stir frying. Long beans should be cut into 1-2 inch lengths for cooking. They should be stir fried or boiled, rather than steamed, which tends to make them too soft.

Long Beans, like other beans, belong to the family of plants known as legumes (Leguminosae or Fabaceae). They are not closely related to other beans such as pole beans, bush beans, snap beans or haricots (French beans), all of which belong to a different genus altogether. Long beans are more closely related to black-eyed peas, and may in fact simply be varieties thereof. However, in most recipes, long beans may be used in place of these other beans, although they are slightly less sweet and flavorful. Even when harvested, long beans are never stiff or crisp like green beans. They are most valued for their retention of color and texture when used in stews and other slow-cooked dishes.

Chinese and Southeast Asians eat the leaves and beans of the many types of long beans, including varieties with names such as Fowl’s Gut Bean, Asparagus bean and Yak’s Tail. Long beans are good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source of vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

Storing and Cooking Information

Handling: Break off dry ends. Rinse and shake dry. Snap in half crosswise or cut diagonally.

Storing: Store in the refrigerator, unwashed in a plastic bag for up to five days.

Freezing: Cut them to about 2 inches and then blanch them. Put them in freezer bags and place them in the freezer. When you’re ready to cook them, do not thaw first, but add them straight to your cooking pan frozen.

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