When to pick beans?

Green Beans – Picking Tips and Facts

Green beans (and yellow beans, string beans, runner beans, snap beans, lima beans broadbeans, etc.) are very easy to grow. They thrive even in poor soil. Whether you grow them yourself or pick them at a PYO farm, or buy them at the market, they’re available fresh almost everywhere.

Here’s what to look for!

When are they available?

Beans are a warm weather crop, and cannot tolerate any frost nor cold soil. In the U.S. green beans typically peak during July through October in the South, and in August and September in the North. But they can be ready as early as early June in many places, as they only take 45 to 60 days from the time the seed is planted!

Before you leave to go to the farm:

  1. Always call before you go to the farm – it’s hard to pick in a muddy field!
  2. Most growers furnish picking containers designed for green beans, but they may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to bring containers.
  3. Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you’d be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don’t forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs usually aren’t a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it has been rainy.

Tips on How to Pick Green Beans

  1. Most beans these days are “stringless”. That refers to a string, tough filament of the bean that runs along the outside from one end to the other. Some beans have two, one on each side; and some have one.
  2. I prefer to snap the bean off the plant just below where the stem attaches to the bean. If you do this, it will save time when you get home, because one end of the bean has already been trimmed. But this only makes sense if you will be using, cooking, canning or freezing the beans that day.
  3. If you won’t be using the beans the same day, then break off the bean from the plant along the thin stem that connects the bean to the plant.
  4. The beans snap off pretty easily. hence the name “snap beans”.
  5. Pole beans are the easiest to pick, because, since they grow up poles or twine, you don’t have to squat down or bend over!

General Picking Tips

Whether you pick green beans from your garden or at a Pick-Your-Own farm, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Look for beans that are :

  1. firm
  2. green (not yellowish – unless you’re picking yellow beans!)
  3. smooth, not wrinkly on the surface – that’s an old or dried out bean.
  4. not lumpy – those lumps are the beans that are developed – that’s an overripe green bean! Of course, if you want mature beans (not including the pod) then that’s a different story, but we’re talking about green beans here).
  5. The beans in the photo at right are, from left:
    – old and yellowing,
    – overripe and lumpy; and
    – dried out and damaged.
  6. Avoid placing the picked beans in the sunlight any longer than necessary. It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking. I prefer to bring a cooler with ice in it. Green Beans may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days

When you get home

  1. Put them in the vegetable crisper in the fridge, in a loose plastic bag.
  2. Now, get ready to can or freeze the extra green beans – It is VERY easy! Click on the links for easy instructions.
    How to can green beans
    How to freeze green beans
    How to make pickled green beans

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Growing green beans is one of those things you don’t understand until you have tasted real green beans. The things that come in a can at the grocery store don’t compare to the flavor of fresh homegrown green beans. So when I started gardening, growing green beans was on top of the list when making garden plans for the season.

Learning how to grow green beans from seed is not hard. Just a few simple steps and you’ll be eating fresh green beans in no time.


Varieties of Green Beans

Before we begin planting green beans, I feel like we need to talk about varieties first. There are several varieties of green beans that can be grown on the homestead or in the backyard vegetable garden. I’m not sure of the exact number of varieties, I do know there are well over 50.

Several green beans can be stringless. Meaning they don’t require removing the string during preparation. They can also vary in different sizes, textures and even colors.

Green beans fit into two categories: Bush Beans and Pole Beans. So what is the difference in bush and pole beans? The main difference between the two is support.

Bush Beans:

Green Bean Bush varieties will grow to 2-3 feet tall. These are great for small spaces and even raised beds. Bush beans produce all at once – usually in 5-7 weeks. So if you want to can green beans or freeze them, bush beans are a great choice.

Bush beans prefer to be planted in dual or linear rows to support each other. Trellising is not necessary for them. Blue Lake bush beans are my choice for my raised beds.

Since the rows grow together to support each other, the green beans are a bit difficult to find on the vine.

Pole Beans:

Pole bean varieties grow to about 5-6 feet tall. They have tiny tendrils that reach out and cling to a trellis, fence post or whatever they can grab and climb. Therefore, pole beans do have to be trellised in some way.

Since they are trellised, pole beans produce more than bush beans in less space. They are the perfect variety for vertical gardening.

Pole beans varieties don’t produce all at once though. Instead, they will continue to produce up until frost as long as you keep them picked. They are probably easier to pick than bush beans as well.

With vertical gardening you don’t have to bend over to pick and they are much easier to see on the vine than bush beans. So how do you know if you have pole beans or bush beans? A couple of ways to tell the difference. The seed packet will identify if the seed are a bush or pole bean.

If you don’t have a seed packet another way is to plant them and watch for the little tendrils that appear really early in the growing phase. If tendrils appear, add a trellis.

Last season I planted heirloom Blue Lake Bush beans and apparently had a couple pole beans mixed in the seed. In a section of my dual rows, I notice tendrils start wrapping around the Blue Lakes. Realizing what it was, I fixed up a trellis over these couple of bean plants problem solved.

How to Grow Green Beans From Seed to Harvest

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to start seeds indoors when you grow green beans. They prefer to be planted directly into garden soil since they don’t transplant well.

Do you need to soak green beans overnight? It is also not necessary to soak green beans overnight, but it will help to speed germination.

Depending on the variety, bush or pole – they are planted just a bit different.

Both pole beans and bush beans are planted pretty much the same. Green beans are light feeders and don’t require a fertilizer.

Prepare soil ahead of time. When planting, add a mature or aged compost and this should be all the fertilizer you need if your are starting with a healthy soil. I would highly recommend a soil test. You can go here to find your local extension office to help you with the process.

If your soil does need some organic amendments, one very good one is compost tea, you can learn how to make in this article.

If you need to know more about growing vegetables, here’s a great place to learn how start a garden. Once you have your soil ready, the work will be easier using just a couple simple tools needed for gardening, you’ll be all ready to put beans in the ground!

How to Plant Bush Beans

  • Bush beans should be planted in linear rows to support each other.
  • Place seed 1 inch deep into soil and spaced about 4 inches apart.
  • They will germinate in 7-10 days. You can speed this germination time up by soaking seeds overnight.
  • Since bush beans produce all at once, they are great for succession planting about 2 weeks apart. This will help to extend your growing season.

If you use the Square Foot Gardening method, you can get 9 plants per square foot.

How to Plant Pole Beans

  • Soil for pole beans should be well drained
  • Plant seeds 1 inch deep about 4 inches apart
  • Depending how you will be trellising, will depend on how to plant. They can be planted in rows with a trellis down the middle. Or, they can be planted in a teepee style.

To learn more bout teepee style planting, The Old Farmers Almanac has this great video. And of course, if you use the Square Foot Gardening method, you can get 8 plants per square foot.

When to Plant Green Beans

Green beans are not frost tolerant. So they need to be planted after threat of frost has passed. To find the last frost date in your area, take a look at the In most areas this is from late April to mid June.

Soil temperatures need to be at lease 60-65°F. If not, germination will be slower. Another way to speed germination of seeds is to wait until soil is at least 70°F.

How Long Does it Take For Green Beans To Grow?

There are so many different varieties of green beans to choose from, but for the most part it take they take 50-65 days to produce fruit.

A good reminder I didn’t think of early, is the days to harvest on the seed packet. This is from the day you plant them into the garden soil. This is if you waited until the soil conditions were warmed to about 60-65°F. If soils were cooler, it could take a bit longer for beans to be grow and be ready for harvest.

How Much Sunlight Do Green Beans Need?

You should grow your green beans in a place that gets at least 6-8 hours of full sun a day, 10 is even better. They don’t do well or may not grow at all in the shade. They are heating loving plant that enjoys full sun.

How to Water Green Beans

How much water does a green plant need per day? Beans develop fruit through a process called photosynthesis which takes a lot of both sunlight and energy gotten through water. Prior to blossoming, bean plants need 1 inch of water per week.

But once they start blossoming, they use about a 1/2 inch of water each day. This is for bean pod growth from the blooms. As a result, bean plants need or should be watered daily during this period. If beans become too dry during this time, they could experience blossom drop.

When watering green beans, try to avoid getting the leaves wet. This will prevent disease. Instead, focus the water to the root system and allow to soak deep into the soil. Here in Tennessee, we tend to have very dry summers and watering is completely necessary.

What is the best time to of day to pick green beans? Early morning is best. I like to have my green beans harvested and back inside before 9 am. This will ensure the pod is crisp and not wilted from the summer temperature.

A plant normally produces a 120:1 ratio. Meaning that for every one plant, it will produce about 120 beans. They normally grow in “pods.” So you’ll have about 20 pods per plant.

How can you tell when they are ready to pick?

There is a couple ways to do this. First look at the seed packet and see how many days from planting does your variety mature. How many days does it say or how long should your beans grow? This is the first way.

A second way is to look at the thickness of the bean pod itself. You’ll want to pick them when they are a bit thick but before they begin to swell. If you bend one in-half, and it “snaps” this is a good indication they are ready for harvest.

How do you pick green beans off the plant?

Since bush beans produce all at once, you can easily grasp hold of the entire pod with one hand, and hold the plant with the other. Gently pull the whole pod at once since it will not be producing more beans.

For harvesting pole beans, it is just a bit different. As I mentioned earlier, they will continue to produce right up until frost. So they need to be harvested in a more gentle manner. With a pair of sharp scissors or sharp point pruning shears , hold beans with one hand and cut them individually from the vine. This helps to ensure you don’t injure the vine and it can continue to produce until frost.

By the way, did you know that you can save seeds to plant next year? Take a look at this seed saving article from Lesa at Better Hens and Gardens. Saving seeds makes complete sense. You’ll not have to buy seeds next season.

Common Types of Bush Green Beans

  • Blue Lake 274 – Ready to harvest in 60 days, a dark green heavy yield plant. The pod grows to about 6 inches long
  • Cantare – Harvest in about 50-55 days. Superior producer of a very straight slim 4-5 inch pod.
  • Contender – Ready to harvest in approximately 50 days. Produces high yields of beans.
  • Empress – Ready to harvest in 55 days. A snap bean for fresh eating, freezing and processing, 5-6 inch pods
  • Burpee’s Stringless – Harvest in 45-50 days. A totally stringless bean that is about 5 inches long
  • Landreth Stringless – Ready to harvest in about 55 days. Pods are medium size about 5 inches long, bean is a rich brown or chocolate color.
  • White Half Runner – Ready for harvest in 60 days average. A heavy producer with pods about 4.5 inches long and a white seeds that have a sweet flavor.

Common Types Of Pole Beans

  • Kentucky Wonder – Grows in large clusters of 7-10 beans that are about 7 inches long. Can be harvested in about 65 days.
  • Rattlesnake Snap -Dark green pods that are about 8 inches long and have a purple streak that grows in it. They can be harvested in about 65-90 days.
  • Lazy Wife – Ready to harvest in 80-100 days. Pods grow to about 7 inches long and are completely stringless.

I mentioned earlier there are over 50 varieties of green beans that grow in all different sizes and colors. To learn what a great variety for your zone and area, I’d recommend requesting a few different free seed catalogs and read about all the different types. If there is a catalog that may cater to your specific region or area, I’d highly recommend you request it.

By the way, when you are ordering seeds, don’t get carried away and lose your budget. My first years of gardening, I want to order everything in the catalog. Take a look at these 5 Seed Ordering Tips to Save Time and Money will help a lot, I promise.

What Are Good Companion Plants For Green Beans?

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Marigolds

Keep green beans from Parsley and Lettuce.

Plant Markers I Use In My Raised Bed Garden

I thought this to be a good time share with you how I keep my plants marked in the garden. This helps to know what variety I have in each space. I’ve used paint sticks in the past, but they would rot and the name would fade before the season was over.

My friend introduced me to these waterproof markers and these simple little inexpensive T-type marker tags. They are nothing fancy, but work really well.

I have found these to be extremely helpful not only with vegetable gardening but also with flowers too. I’m building a native plant garden to attract pollinators and since I’m still learning my native plants, these are super helpful.

ishua 100pcs 2.36Sharpie Extreme Permanent Marker, Fine Tip, Assorted, Set of 4

More Garden Growing Tips:

  • Growing Potatoes, All You Need To Know
  • How to Grow Healthy Tomatoes Organically
  • Growing Cucumbers (Plant, Grow, Harvest)
  • How To Grow Cabbage In A Home Garden
  • How To Can Green Beans

Enjoy your harvest!

ishua 100pcs 2.36Sharpie Extreme Permanent Marker, Fine Tip, Assorted, Set of 4

Dianne Hadorn is the owner of Hidden Springs Homestead nestled in the hills of East Tennessee. She is a Master Gardener and enjoys helping others learn how to grow and preserve their own food and sharing tips for living a more frugal lifestyle.

If you are new to growing green beans then you might have questions about how and when to harvest them.

Green beans, whether you are growing pole beans or bush beans, are very prolific producers, and can continually produce throughout the season with the proper care.

At first, knowing when your green beans are ready to harvest can be very confusing, but once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature.

Here’s an easy guide for knowing how and when to harvest green beans.

When to Harvest Green Beans

Generally, pole beans should be ready to harvest from 50 – 60 days from the time the seedlings sprout, and bush beans should be ready in 50 – 55 days. The maturity time will depend greatly on what variety you are growing.

Some varieties grow much quicker than others so always refer back to the seed packet for information on your specific variety.

So, in just about two months after the seedlings emerge, you should begin seeing small green bean pods growing on your plants, like the one in the picture below.

This pod isn’t quite ready to be harvested yet, once you see little pods like this, begin keeping a close eye on your plants each day. The green beans will grow quickly.

The rule of thumb I use for harvesting most varieties of green beans:

The pod is ready to harvest once it reaches a length of four to seven inches long and the diameter is a little fatter than a pencil.

The ‘Early Contender‘ bush beans in the picture above are ready to harvest. They are not very long, but have fattened up to a size I like.

Remember, the harvest size can vary depending on the variety you are growing. Yard Long green beans can grow to a length of two feet or more!

It is best to harvest green beans as they begin to reach the appropriate size. This will help promote more blooming and more production from the plant as the season progresses.

Waiting until you have a huge mess of green beans to harvest all at once can lead to some pods becoming overly mature, tough, and stringy.

Harvesting the green beans early and often helps to ensure your green beans are tender and tasty, plus your plants provide a continual production all season.

How to Harvest Green Beans

Now that you have a good idea of what to look for when harvesting green beans, it’s time to go out and actually begin harvesting.

Harvesting green beans is pretty straightforward.

Once you have found a green bean you want to harvest, simply grasp it firmly up near the top where it connects to the vine.

You can use the other hand to support the vine while giving the pod a quick jerk to pop it loose with the other hand, or you can use your thumb to pinch it loose.

I prefer to pinch the pod loose, because the sudden jerk way can sometimes break the plant or snap the pod in half.

It may take a little practice, but after harvesting a couple you will have the hang of it. Soon you will be able to harvest several rows in just a few minutes.

As you can see, knowing when and how to harvest green beans is pretty easy. Enjoy your green bean harvest!

Try These Fabulous Green Bean Varieties!

Pole Bean Seeds

Bush Bean Seeds

Harvesting Green Beans at the Right Time for Peak Flavor and Texture!

There are several factors to consider when harvesting green beans. You’ll get the best flavor and texture if you pick you beans at the right time.

You should usually try and harvest your beans when the plants are dry. Let the morning dew evaporate before harvesting.

The bean pods do not need to reach a certain length before harvesting them. Some of the pods will be long and thin, others will be short and fat. The size variance will not affect the flavor of the green bean. The more important factor is texture.

The green bean pods should be firm, crisp, and show no visible bulges. A bulge will indicate that the green bean is over-ripe. It will still taste good but might have a limp texture. A perfectly ripe green bean will make a snapping noise when broken into pieces. This is why some folks call green beans “snap beans”.

As the plants will continue to produce green beans over a long period of time, great care should be taken to not damage the plant when harvesting green beans. Use one hand to hold the stem and use your other hand to pick the bean. The blossom end of the stem will usually still be attached to the bean after you pick it. If you don’t hold the stem, you risk breaking off other blossoms or branches or yanking the whole plant out of the ground by the roots. Take care of your green bean plants and they will take care of you.

After harvesting green beans, store them on the kitchen counter with the stems on. Once you remove the stems, keep them in the refrigerator.
The stems usually snap off easily. The long, fibrous strip that runs the length of the pod should also be removed. Some varieties of green beans do not have this fibrous strip. The beans can then be snapped into any size you like.

If you want to wait more than a few days before eating your freshly picked beans, blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Then plunge the beans into ice water for 3 minutes. This will help the beans retain their bright, green color. Place the cooled beans in an air tight bag and put them in the freezer. They will keep for up to 1 year.

Our favorite way to store beans is to can them. We put up 50+ quarts per year and during the harvest season, our pressure canner is constantly working. We pack clean jars with fresh beans that have been rinsed and drained. We pour boiling salted water over the beans and then attach the lids and rings and process in a pressure canner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you want dry shell beans, just leave the beans on the plant until they turn brown and dry out. When they are ready, you should be able to gently shake the pod and hear the beans rattling around inside. You can then pick the pods, shell the dried beans and store them in an air tight jar, bag or other container.

After the growing season is over, pull the green bean plants up by the roots and add them to your compost pile.

Now that you have a bunch of green beans, you should be ready for a few recipe ideas…

How to Grow Black Beans

Days to germination: 10 to 14 days
Days to harvest: 100 to 140 days
Light requirements: Full sun
Water requirements: Regularly, but not excessively
Soil: Well-drained and fertile soil
Container: Suitable for pots


The small black bean is particularly popular in Caribbean, Latin American and Mexican cuisines. It’s also sometimes called a turtle bean or a Tampico bean. These beans should not be confused with the “black bean” used in Chinese cooking, as it refers to fermented soybeans (or Douchi) in Asia.

For nutrition, the black bean is a very good source of fiber, protein, folic acid, iron and tryptophan. They are not eaten raw or fresh, only cooked once they have dried and cured (done at harvest).

Black bean plants are usually the vining type, but some varieties grow in a shorter bush form. Either way, your plants won’t usually grow taller than around 3 feet.

Starting from Seed

Like most other varieties of dry bean, the black bean doesn’t like to be transplanted so you are better off planning to sow them right out into the garden.

Your garden location should be in full sun, and you may want to add a product called inoculant to the soil when you are digging it up before planting. It’s a common additive when planting any legumes, such as beans or peas. While it’s not strictly necessary, you will see a big difference if you use it. It just helps the plant’s roots fix nitrogen better, and it is a natural product rather than an artificial fertilizer. Your local nursery or garden center should carry it in powdered form.

Soak your bean seed overnight before your planting day, which should be after your last frost date. Vining beans will need about 3 to 4 inches between them, and 6 to 8 inches of space should be left if you are planting bush varieties. Bean seeds should be buried about an inch under the soil. Bean seeds germinate very successfully, so you shouldn’t need to plant too many more seeds than you want final plants.

Vining beans will grow to several feet in height and will need support. Put a trellis or pole in place right when you are putting in the seeds so that you don’t damage the vines or roots later on. Your vines may naturally grip the supports, but you will likely have to tie up your vines to keep them upright.

Growing Instructions

Water your plants regularly, but don’t overwater. They will suffer if their roots are left wet for too long, which is why you need to choose a well-draining location to plant. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings.

If you decide to use any fertilizer, make sure to only use mixtures with low nitrogen content. Beans make their own nitrogen, and adding extra to the soil will leave you with extremely leafy plants and no beans. You probably don’t need to add any extra nutrients at all.

Black bean roots grow shallowly under the ground, so don’t be digging too heavily around your plants as you try to take out the weeds. Either pull by hand, or layer on some organic mulch.


Black beans will grow just fine in large pots, but you will need a number of plants to get a usable harvest. Most people will grow about 8 plants per person, so it may not be that convenient to have so many plants in containers.

Bush plants do best, but you can also grow vining bean varieties in pots as well. The containers should be at least 12 inches across and deep for each plant.

Like beans grown in the garden, inoculant can be very helpful and should be mixed in with the soil when you are planting your seeds. Add an extra layer of stone to the bottom of the pot to speed up drainage so the roots don’t sit in wet soil.

Pests and Diseases

Black beans may be susceptible to bean mosaic virus, though resistant varieties are available on the market. The symptoms are a generally stunted plant, and the leaves can be curled or puckered. The disease is spread by aphids, so you should take extra care to keep them off your black bean plants.

Aphids will wash off with a garden hose pretty easily, but that’s not really a long-term solution unless you want to squirt your plants every few hours. Pyrethrin sprays can keep them off your plants for longer, but will need reapplying after any rains. Buy a box of live ladybugs and let them loose in your bean patch, and that should take care of your aphid problem.

Other insects may attack black beans, such as various kinds of bean beetles, leafhoppers and flea beetles. Remove them by hand when you see them, and spray with insecticide to help repel them further.

Harvest and Storage

Black beans are left on the vine until they have dried, so you won’t have that much difficulty figuring out when they are ready to pick. The pods will turn yellow, dry and even split open when the beans are ready. If you bite into one, your teeth shouldn’t make much of a dent in it.

If you are expecting wet weather right around maturity time, you may want to pick your pods and let them finish drying indoors. Spread out the pods where it is warm and well-ventilated until they are fully dry.

For small crops of black beans, you can shell them out of their pods by hand but that can be very time-consuming if you have a large harvest. An easier method is to dump all the dried pods in a bag or pillowcase, and either step all over the bag or swing it against a wall a few times. Then you can just sift out the debris and collect the dry beans.

As long as they are thoroughly dry, you can store them without any special conditions for up to a year. An air-tight container works best to keep out any insect pests.

  1. Patchesthedrow Says:
    April 12th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I’m planning on returning the soil quality to my garden (plus I think I have some nightshade blight) and simultaneously growing plants for the winter, so this should help.

  2. Julie Says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Can you grow black bean bush beans for green bean harvest and still get black beans later in the season? Especially, in region 4?

  3. Kelly Says:
    July 23rd, 2014 at 8:11 am

    This is all good to know. I was curious about harvest time. I’ve got about a dozen plants around my mailbox.

  4. Gail K Dolly Says:
    December 23rd, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I plan on planting 24 plants (8 for husband, 8 for me and 8 for sharing) and am so happy that my favorite (and healthiest) bean will be available for me to grow in my raised beds. I had never read about black beans (just made them occasionally) but since my husband and I are on a new, healthy-eating lifestyle they certainly give you an enormous bang for your buck … they are among the healthiest beans I’ve ever researched! Thank heavens for black beans!

  5. justina Says:
    March 30th, 2015 at 8:33 am

    I live in florida and I have four black bean plants the leaves are not yellow or brown but they
    look like they are going to die the leaves are crumpled and sagging I give them just enough water to lightly moisten the top of the dirt and they get plenty of sun and I have never seen a bug on them.They are not mature yet so I have never had a harvest what is wrong with them?

  6. Mandy Says:
    April 23rd, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Justina…I live in central florida. I currently have 4 black bean plants growing. I had the same problem and sprayed them with some neem oil on the undersides of the leaves. Within a week they flourished and I have tons of beans growing.

  7. Emil Says:
    May 7th, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Hi Justina!
    Do you have them in a large pot, enough for the plants?
    Do you now if the dirt is good enough for your plant?

    The Castanospermum should not be in a hot or cold room.

    Some plants with long leaves needs to be sprayed with water, otherwise the top of the leaves can be dryed out.

  8. Emil Says:
    May 7th, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Hi again Justina!
    Wait a bit longer than just the top of the dirt to get moist.
    The rest of the dirt maybe still are wet when you water again. This can be your problem…

    Good luck!

  9. Erica Says:
    May 26th, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I am curious if I could can my black beans? This is my first year growing them and have only come across information on dry storage. I would love to can the black beans. Does anyone have any info on this process?

  10. Administrator Says:
    June 20th, 2015 at 7:55 am

    You could, but you would need a pressure canner.

  11. atians Says:
    July 28th, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Drying is an optimum method for storage. Why would you want to take up more room and energy by adding water before they are ready to be cooked? Just plan your meal ahead and soak the night before.

  12. Frannk Says:
    August 29th, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    you need to install these meshes judias my crops even if the fruit is very light

    This is the kind of meshes for beans that a farmer friend recommended me (down)

  13. Malcolm Lewis Says:
    September 28th, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I love this, I’m using it for background information for a science project. This is absolutely helpful!

  14. martha richardson Says:
    July 25th, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I took a handful of black beans and planted them in my garden, wow ! i’ve never grown beans before they have grown in a short time, i make a good black bean chilli, i’m also try out a jahpeno pepper.
    i’m maybe 60 days into my garden but the beans have gone wild.

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Harvesting Beans: When Do You Pick Beans

Growing beans is easy, but many gardeners wonder, When do you pick beans? The answer to this question depends on the kind of bean that you are growing and how you would like to eat them.

Harvesting Snap Beans

Green, wax, bush and pole beans all belong to this group. The best time when to pick beans in this group is while they are still young and tender and before the seeds inside are visibly evident when looking at the pod.

If you wait too long to pick snap beans, even by a day or two, the beans will be tough, coarse, woody and stringy. This will make them unfit for your dinner table.

Harvesting Shell Beans for Pods

Shell beans, such as kidney, black and fava beans, can be harvested like snap beans and eaten in the same way. The best time when to pick beans for eating like snap beans is while they are still young and tender and before the seeds inside are visibly evident when looking at the pod.

Harvesting Shell Beans as Tender Beans

While shell beans are frequently harvested dry, you don’t necessarily need to wait for them to dry before enjoying the beans themselves. Harvesting beans when they are tender or “green” is perfectly okay. The best time when to pick beans for this method is after the beans inside have visibly developed but before the pod has dried.

If you pick beans this way, be sure to thoroughly cook the beans, as many shell beans contain a chemical that can cause gas. This chemical breaks down when the beans are cooked.

How to Harvest and Dry Beans

The last way to harvest shell beans is to pick the beans as dry beans. In order to do this, leave the beans on the vine until the pod and the bean is dry and hard. Once the beans are dry, they can be stored in a dry, cool place for many months, even years.

Dry or dried beans–also called shell beans–are beans grown to full maturity and left in their pods to dry before being shelled and stored for later use. Dried beans can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year or more. (These beans also can be harvested at the green, shelling stage–when seeds are still tender–and eaten before they dry. Often these beans are called “shuckies.”) Many beans that can be eaten fresh and immature also can be grown to maturity and dried.

Beans are a tender annual best planted early in the season as soon as the frost has passed. Sow beans in the garden just after the average date of the last frost in spring. To get an early start on the season, sow beans indoors as early as 3 or 4 weeks before the average last frost date in spring for transplanting into the garden a week or two after the last frost. Beans will grow in the garden until the first frost in fall. But they will not set pods in temperatures above 80°F. Beans for shelling are sometimes harvested after the first frost, well after plants have dropped their leaves.

Description. Dry beans or shell beans are beans grown to full maturity, usually harvested in fall after the pods have matured and the leaves of the plant have dried and fallen. Beans grow either as bushes or vines. The size and color of pods and seeds can vary. Pods can be 3 or 4 inches to 12 to 14 inches long at maturity and vary in color during the growing season: green, yellow, purple, and speckled. Leaves are commonly composed of three leaflets and flowers are pale yellow or white. Beans for shelling commonly grow on bushes that are to 2 or 3 feet tall; some are pole beans that can grow to 8 feet tall or more. Dry beans require from 70 to 120 days to reach harvest.

Yield. Grow 4 to 8 bean plants per each household member.

Site. Grow beans in full sun. Beans will grow in partial shade but the harvest will not be full. Beans prefer loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Beans prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Prepare planting beds in advance by working in plenty of aged compost. Avoid planting beans where soil nitrogen is high or where green manure crops have just grown; these beans will produce green foliage but few beans.

Planting time. Beans are a tender annual that grow best in temperatures between 50° and 85°F. Beans will not set pods in temperatures above 80°F. Sow beans in the garden just after the average date of the last frost in spring when the soil temperature has warmed. The optimal growing soil temperature for beans is 60° to 85°F. Start beans indoors as early as 3 or 4 weeks before the average last frost date in spring for transplanting into the garden a week or two after the last frost. Start beans indoors in a biodegradable peat or paper pot that can be set whole into the garden so as not to disturb plant roots. Beans can continue in the garden until the first frost in fall. Dry beans are allowed to stay on the plant until leaves have fallen and pods have dried and withered.

Planting and spacing. Sow beans 1 to 1½ inch deep. Plant bush beans 3 to 4 inches apart; set rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Plant pole beans 4 to 6 inches apart; set rows 30 to 36 inches apart. Set poles, stakes, or supports in place at planting time. Pole beans also can be planted in inverted hills–5 or 6 seeds to a hill; space hills 40 inches apart. Thin strong seedlings from 4 to 6 inches apart. Remove weaker seedlings by cutting them off at soil level with a scissors being careful not to disturb the roots of other seedlings. Bean can be crowded; they will use each other for support.

Water and feeding. Grow beans in soil that is evenly moist. Bean seeds may crack and germinate poorly if the soil moisture is too high at sowing. Do not soak seeds in advance of planting and do not over-water after sowing. Keep the soil evenly moist during flowering and pod formation. Rain or overhead irrigation during flowering can cause flowers and small pods to fall off. Once the soil temperature averages greater than 60°F, mulch to conserve moisture.

Beans are best fertilized with aged garden compost; they do not require extra nitrogen. Beans set up a mutual exchange with soil microorganisms called nitrogen-fixing bacteria which produce the soil nitrogen beans require. Avoid using green manures or nitrogen-rich fertilizers.

Companion plants. Bush beans: celery, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, rosemary, strawberries, summer savory. Pole beans: corn, rosemary, summer savory, scarlet runner beans, sunflowers. Do not plant beans with onions, beets, or kohlrabi.

Care. Cultivate around beans carefully to avoid disturbing the shallow root system. Do not handle beans when they are wet; this may spread fungus spores. Set poles, stakes, or trellises in place before planting pole beans. Select supports that are tall enough for the variety being grown. Rotate beans to plots where lettuce, squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, or collards have grown in the past year or two.

Container growing. Dry beans are not a practical choice for container growing. They require a long season and many plants for a full harvest. Bush beans can be grown in containers, but you may need several containers for a practical harvest. Beans will grow in 8-inch containers.

Pests. Beans can be attacked by aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers and mites. Aphids, leafhoppers, and mites can be sprayed away with a blast of water from the hose or controlled with insecticidal soap. Look for eggs and infestations and crush them between your fingers and thumb. Pinch out and remove large infestations. Aphids can spread bean mosaic virus. Keep the garden clean and free of debris so that pests can not harbor or over-winter in the garden.

Diseases. Beans are susceptible to blight, mosaic, and anthracnose. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Keep the garden clean and free of debris. Avoid handling plants when they are wet so as not to spread fungal spores. Removed diseased plants; put them in a paper bag and throw them away. Beans are susceptible to many soil-borne diseases; rotating beans so that they do not grow in the same location more than every three years will reduce soil-borne diseases.

Harvest. Dry beans will be ready for harvest 70 to 120 after sowing when plants have matured and leaves have turned brown or fallen. To test for harvest, bite a couple of seeds; if they will hardly dent they are dry and ready for harvest. Harvest pods when they are completely dry. If pods have withered but are still moist, pick them and then spread them on a flat screen or surface in a warm, protected place where they can thoroughly dry. Plant also can be taken up whole and hung upside down to dry. Pods that are fully dry will split open to reveal the dried beans. Dry beans can be shelled by threshing in a burlap sack or by hand.

Varieties. There are many types of dry or shell beans. Horticultural beans or French flageolets are a type of dry bean usually eaten in the green-shell stage. Other dry or shell beans include cranberry, Great Northern, pinto, and red kidney.

• Soybean shell beans: Black Jet (104 days); Envy (75 days); Hakucho Early (95 days); Prize (85-105 days).

• Navy shell beans: Navy (85-95 days).

• White shell beans: Cannellini (80 days); Great White Northern (90 days).

Storing and preserving. Dried shelled beans can be stored in a cool, dry place for 10 to 12 months. Place well dried beans in a capped, airtight jar or in a fabric bag with good air circulation.

Common name. Dry bean, dried bean, shell bean, pinto bean, navy bean, horticultural bean, flageolet

Botanical name. Phaseolus vulgaris and species

Origin. South Mexico, Central America


Do you enjoy fresh green beans? Would you like to grow your own?

Well, growing green beans is simple, but learning when to harvest the green beans and how to prepare them for cooking is a different ball game altogether.

It’s not particularly challenging, but it does take some ‘know-how.’ If you’re interested in learning how to harvest fresh green beans and prepare them for cooking or canning, you’re in the right place.

I’m going to share the details you need to know. Here’s how to successfully harvest and prepare fresh green beans:

There are many different varieties of beans. In this article, I’ll mainly be referencing bush beans and runner green beans.

These are two of the more popular varieties of green beans. However, some of the rules given here will work well for other bean varieties too:

1. Healthy Plants Produce

The first step towards harvesting fresh green beans is to grow healthy plants. The basics to producing healthy plants are to make sure the plants have healthy soil to grow in, make sure they get the nutrients they desire, water the green bean plants correctly, and keep the weeds at bay.

Once you’ve done these things, you should feel confident your plants will produce many healthy green beans. Attracting pollinators to your garden will be of help as well.

2. Look Carefully

After some weeks have passed, you’ll begin to see blooms on your green bean plants. From those blooms, green bean pods will blossom.

The pods are a vibrant green color; therefore, they hide easily on the plants. Make sure you look carefully at each plant when searching for your beans.

One of my tricks is to move the plant around to where you can see the bottom of the green bean plant. Many beans will produce there, and you’ll have a greater chance of finding more beans on each plant.

If you have a large garden with multiple green bean plants, it’s easy to overlook them. Try your best to be as thorough as possible when examining the plants for green bean pods.

3. Pick at the Right Time

The last tip for harvesting green beans is to watch them closely and regularly. Green beans are better (in my opinion) when picked young. They’re more tender and have a better flavor.

However, some people like beans referred to as ‘shellies.’ These beans are the ones with the harder pods and larger seeds inside.

You may have to try both to find your preference, but as for me, I prefer the younger more tender beans.

How to Prepare Fresh Green Beans

Once you’ve harvested the green beans, the party is only beginning. You have to know how to process fresh green beans to enjoy their flavor at its best. Here’s how you do this:

1. Remove Unwanted Parts

Fresh green beans have certain unwanted parts on them. They have ends which will need to be removed, and some varieties have strings which will need to be removed as well.

The first step in preparing the green beans is to remove each of the ends. This will be the pointy segments on the beans.

Don’t take a great deal of the bean off when removing the ends. Only the pointy part which most don’t enjoy eating.

Once the ends are removed, you should notice strings which run down each side of the bean from end to end.

Sometimes the strings will peel off when removing the ends. Either way, make sure the strings are fully removed from the green beans.

If these strings aren’t removed, they’ll get cooked with the beans. They get stuck in your teeth and don’t taste good.

Be careful with this step of the process because it can impact the quality of your beans when cooked or preserved.

2. Break Them Down

After the beans have had the strings and their ends removed, it’s time to break them. If you leave a green bean whole, in most cases, they’ll be too big to eat.

Therefore, it’s important to make sure you break the green bean down where each bean is inside the pod.

Place the green bean between your thumb and index finger where you feel a bean inside the pod. Gently snap the bean, and it should break apart easily. Go against the direction the green bean pod was growing.

For instance, if the green bean has a curve and is curved downward, you’d want to snap upwards where the bean would face resistance. This makes it easier to have a clean break.

Be sure to remove any bad beans during this step of the process. If they’re discolored, have holes in them, or anything else making them look unappetizing, discard those parts of the bean.

3. Give Them a Shower

After all the beans have been broken, it’s time to place them in a sink with cold water. Move the green beans around in the water to loosen any dirt or bugs from the beans.

If your water turns a dirty brown color, drain the water, place the beans in the other side of the sink, refill with fresh water, and keep cleaning the beans.

Do this until you feel confident the beans are as clean as you can get them.

4. Prepare for Canning

With each of the following steps of the process, you must decide what you’re going to do with your green beans.

Have you harvested a great deal of them and need to preserve some for later use? Or do you have only enough for a meal?

In the event you harvested enough green beans to preserve them, canning them is a good idea. It requires mason jars, canning salt, a pressure canner, fresh lids, and rings for your jars.

If you have all of these materials, you can follow the process of canning green beans and enjoy fresh green beans all winter long without consuming freezer space.

5. Prepare for Freezing

Another option for preserving green beans for later use is to freeze them. This will require freezer space, but it doesn’t require any specialized equipment.

Once the green beans have been washed, boil a pot of water on the stove. Place the green beans in the pot of boiling water for one to two minutes.

Remove the beans from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and place them in a sink of cold water. After the green beans have cooled, drain them, and put them in a plastic freezer bag.

The bag should be filled approximately ¾ of the way full. Close the bag all the way except for the corner.

Begin pressing on the bag from the bottom upward. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible.

Once the air has been removed, seal the bag, label it, and it’s ready to go in the freezer for later use. Keep an eye on the green beans to make sure they aren’t freezer burnt.

6. Cook Them Up

If you’ve harvested enough green beans to make a meal, it’s important to realize fresh green beans take much longer to cook than canned green beans from the store.

There are many recipes for making fresh green beans. One of my favorites is in the crockpot. You place the green beans, two cups of water, onion flakes, and two beef bouillon cubes, and allow the beans to cook on high for approximately four or more hours.

Keep a close eye on them because cooking time will vary between crock pots depending upon how hot the crockpot gets.

Another option for cooking fresh green beans is on the stove. Place your green beans in a pot. Fill the pot with water until the green beans are covered. Add any ingredients you’d like such as bacon grease, bacon, onion flakes, sautéed onions, bouillon cubes, or apple cider vinegar.

Allow the green beans to reach a boil, turn the stove to medium-low, and let the beans cook for two to three hours.

Again, the time could vary depending upon the stove. Be sure to keep an eye on them, and when the green beans are tender, they’re ready to eat.

Finally, the method my mom prefers is to start the green beans on the stove at night. She allows them to reach a boil, but she’ll turn off the stove after they boil. She places a lid on the green beans and lets them rest until she’s ready to go to bed.

She puts the beans in the refrigerator overnight but will put them back on the stove early the next morning and bring them to a boil again.

This time she lets them boil for about an hour. She places the lid on the pot, leaves them on the warm burner (making sure they have enough liquid to handle the remaining heat), and lets them be until supper time later in the day.

She does the first step while cooking dinner the night before and finishes them up while she’s getting ready for work the next morning. It allows them to have fresh green beans in a convenient way for her.

Once you begin to eat fresh green beans, you’ll have a hard time returning to the ones you purchase from a grocery store shelf.

Well, you now know how to harvest green beans, how to prepare them, how to preserve them, and also how to utilize them.

Hopefully, this will help you enjoy more fresh vegetables in your diet and even inspire you to include green beans in your garden year after year.

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How To Grow Pole Beans

Pole beans are a garden favorite. These bountiful plants come in numerous varieties and are easy to grow. They’re also easier to pick than bush beans, because the vines grow straighter and taller on their staking support structures. Choose from our many seed varieties, and add some to your garden this year.

Plant pole beans when the danger of frost has passed. These warm weather vegetables need a soil temperature of 60 to 65 degrees. That could occur as early as April in southern climate zones and as late as June in cooler northern regions.

Don’t start them from seed inside, as beans don’t like to be transplanted. Never soak bean seed beans prior to planting, as it hampers germination.

A plot with full sun and rich, deeply worked soil is perfect for pole beans. The soil needs a pH level of 6.5. Avoid fertilizing by enriching the soil prior to planting.

Plant seeds one to two inches deep in rows that are six to eight inches apart. Space the rows 30 to 48 inches apart. Avoid crowding plants and allow for adequate air circulation.

Plant seeds every two to four weeks until early August to ensure a continuous harvest.

Pole beans can grow to be 10 feet or taller. Account for the space requirements of the staking support structures. Check their location, too, so they won’t later shade other plants from the sun.

Germination requires temperatures of 70 degrees to 80 degrees. Seedlings emerge in eight to 10 days. Depending on the variety, pole beans take 65 to 80 days to mature.

Support structures
Put the bean support structures into place before planting to avoid damaging the bean plants’ roots.

Poles are the most common, and roughened poles help the vines grow upward. Bean teepees are made from bamboo poles or saplings. Lash them together at one end and spread the untied ends out a few feet apart on the ground. Trellises are another simple way to support bean vines.

Talk to your Southern States dealer about the best planting methods for the seed variety and structure you’ve chosen.

Water early in the day and avoid getting the foliage wet. Pole beans require consistent moisture of about one inch per week, particularly during flowering and pod development. More watering is necessary during extremely hot and dry weather.

Retain moisture with straw, grass clippings or composted leaves.

Pole beans are ready to harvest one to two weeks after flowering. Harvest them when the pods are firm, smooth and crisp, but before the seed in the pod has developed fully. Be careful, though, not to break the brittle stems and branches.

They take longer to mature, but pole beans produce for several weeks. Regular picking keeps the plants producing.

Weeds, pests and diseases
Pole beans benefit from regular and shallow hoeing to control weeds.

Common pole bean pests are beetles, aphids, leafhoppers, seed corn maggot and spider mites.

Pole beans also are susceptible to diseases, typically wilt or bacterial diseases. Never work with wet plants. Doing so can spread diseases.

At the end of the season, rake up the plants’ debris. Crop rotation is essential to preventing diseases from lingering in the soil year-to-year. Buy new seed annually, too, to prevent seed borne diseases.

Discuss appropriate weed, pest and disease control products with your Southern States dealer.

Do you have pole bean stories? Tell us what works for you and what didn’t in our comments section below.

Many people feel that pole beans have a richer bean flavour than bush beans. The effort of trellising them is more than repaid by the ease of picking and their extended, abundant harvest. Pole beans are a good choice for small gardens because they use vertical space. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Pole Beans Guide and grow food.

Phaseolus vulgaris
Family: Fabaceae


We Recommend: Fortex (BN132). If you haven’t tried Fortex, we think you should. The elegant beans are long and narrow, and very tender with fabulous flavour.
For Urban Growers: Matilda (BN134). If your space is limited, grow up! Trellis these tall plants and enjoy lots of straight beans from productive plants.

Season & Zone
Season: Warm Season
Exposure: Full-sun
Zone: All zones

Direct sow from mid-May to the beginning of July. Try to plant during a warm, dry spell. Soil must be warm – if it is not warm enough, seeds will rot, especially our untreated seeds. Optimal soil temperature: 21-32°C (70-90°F).

Seeds can be started indoors, or sowed directly. Set seeds 7-10cm (3-4″) apart and 3.5cm (1½”) deep at the base of a support. Plants will climb by twining around almost anything. Try rough poles, lumber, re-bar, or build a strong trellis 2-2.5m (6-8′) tall. Seeds will sprout in 8-16 days, depending on soil conditions.

Ideal pH: 6.0-6.5. Well drained, warm soil in full sun is best. Use 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer for every wm (10′) of row. Too much nitrogen fertilizer is often the cause of poor pod set and delayed maturity. If beans flower but do not set pods, the cause can be zinc deficiency. Try spraying the plants with kelp based fertilizer. Wet leaves on crowded plants are subject to diseases. Thin plants to increase air circulation and avoid touching the leaves while they are wet.

Because pole beans are always climbing, there are always beans at different stages of maturity. It is important to keep picking regularly so the plant does not fully mature seeds and stop producing new pods. If pods get fat with seed, the plant will stop flowering. The smaller the bean, the more tender they are.

Seed Info
In optimal conditions a tleast 75% of seeds should germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years. Per 100′ row: 400 seeds. Per acre: 43.5M seeds.

Diseases & Pests
If beans flower but do not set pods, the cause can be a zinc deficiency. Try spraying the plants with Kelpman. Wet leaves on crowded plants are subject to diseases. Thin plants to increase air circulation and try not to touch the plants while they are wet.

Companion Planting
Beans fix nitrogen in the soil. Plant with Brassicas, carrots, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, peas, potatoes, radish, and strawberries. Avoid planting near chives, garlic, leeks, and onions. Pole beans and beets stunt each other’s growth.

More on Companion Planting.

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