When to plant beans?

  • Grow a bush bean that matures in about 45 days. If you have bean seeds left over from spring, they are still good to use. There are also probably still seed packs available in the garden center. At this time of year, they should be on sale.
  • Amend the soil with compost or composted manure, even if you already did so in the spring. You want to give your fall crop a good, quick start. A half-inch layer of compost worked into the soil should do it. These beans are going to take off and will need rich soil to feed them and retain water as they grow.
  • Water the soil before planting the beans. Soak it thoroughly. Having the bean seed on a moist bed will not only speed germination, but it will also cool the soil in the heat of the summer. Many seeds will not germinate if they think growing conditions are too hot.
  • If you’re planting in Zone 8 or above, add a layer of loose mulch. An inch of shredded straw will keep the soil cool, but allow the bean seedlings to emerge.
  • Initially, the temperatures will be hotter than beans prefer. Compensate with regular watering. Let the soil dry out between waterings, so the seeds do not rot, but don’t let it remain dry for more than a day.
  • Keep a vigilant eye for pests and disease. There are more pests in the area in fall and they are finding less succulent new plants to feast on, so your beans would be an easy target.
  • If the weather turns cold before you harvest, protect your beans at night with a row cover. You can also use woven fabric, plastic, newspapers, or old sheets. Just be sure to remove the covering in the morning, so your beans do not fry when the temperature warms up.
  • Pick your beans young and tender. If the weather cooperates, your bean plants will keep producing until killed by frost.


Phaseolus spp.

“Beans, beans are good for your heart, the more you eat… etc.”. Conveniently I have forgotten the rest of that ditty but it’s true that beans are good for your heart, bones and all over “well-ness”. They are also really good plants for your Yummy Yard because they are easy to grow and produce stacks of beans. They are a climber so are excellent where space is an issue!

Planting Schedule

Warm Areas: All Year

Temperate Areas: September to January

Cool to Cold Areas: September to January

Position, Position, Position

Full sun is the order of the day for beans but provide a bit of temporary shade cover in super-hot, dry, windy weather. As most beans are climbers (unless you go for the dwarf or “bush beans”), you need to think about that before you whack them in. They need support as they get up to about 2m high. A wire trellis, fence lines, frames or similar can be used to prop them up. Why not make a tee-pee, or an A-frame walkway to grow your beans along? They look awesome, the kids will love them and they’ll add some real height and interest to your Yummy Yard.

Talking Dirty

Like my ideal partner, soil for beans should be rich, deep, pH neutral and organic. Compost is perfect (not as a partner – as a soil improver) for soil preparation. You could also use an organic, complete pelletised fertilizer at planting time. Mulching your bed is really important but ensure the mulch doesn’t touch the stems of the beans, as this can lead to bad things happening! Soil needs to be well-drained but note that beans don’t really like sandy soils very much. So improve your sandy soil with nicely aged compost.

Feed Me

Feeding beans is totally unnecessary except for a wee bit of blood and bone sprinkled around at planting time. Make sure seedligs don’t come in direct contact with the Blood and Bone. Beans have a wonderful relationship with bacteria in the soil that enables them to ‘fix’ their own nitrogen from the atmosphere. Feeding beans with a nitrogen rich fertilizer can harm these bacteria and also reduce bean production… all in all a pointless exercise. Feed with a seaweed tea at flowering time to promote higher yields of tasty beans!

What about the Water?

The biggest water issue with beans is not so much under-watering but over-watering. That’s right, people are killing their bean stalks with love! Overwatering is a significant issue if planting beans from seed or when seedlings are very young. Leaves can become really yellow if drainage is poor and the plants are getting too much water so keep an eye on this. When planting seed, whack them in a damp (not soaking) soil, then leave them for a few days! Too easy! Soaking seeds of beans in water before planting is totally unnecessary and is a deadset waste of time and water.

Are We There Yet?

Depending on the varieties of beans you have planted, expect to be chowing down on bundles of beans between 12 – 14 weeks (10 weeks if you’ve gone the dwarf varieties). Pick bean pods when they are young, tender and at their tastiest. Do this before the seeds have swollen to make the pod lumpy and they’ll taste better. It’s best to harvest manageable numbers of beans regularly as this will promote more flowering and more tasty bean pods. I collect beans every three days… this seems to work out pretty well!

Pests and the Rest

Look, beans are dead simple to grow but it doesn’t mean that they are without their issues. We’ve seen that they don’t like too much water, dislike too much fertilizer and hate being touched by mulch. There are a couple of other things to keep an eye on, like fuzzy stuff on the leaves. This is probably powdery mildew and this can be caused by humidity, water on the foliage or poor air circulation. An easy solution is when you plant your beans to give them some “personal space”. We all need room to breathe, beans included. Try to avoid watering the leaves as another good preventative measure.

Halo blight is another funky fungal issue and first appears as leaf spots with holes. Leaves will eventually progress to becoming light green with dark green veins and it will eventually kill infected plants. The best thing to do here is to remove and destroy all infected plants (but not into the compost). Plant your replacement bean seeds in a different spot.

Hot Tip

Let’s talk green manures! Green manure is essentially a crop grown in a patch (or on a farm) that acts to improve the nutrient content and organic matter in the soil. Beans, peas, clovers, lupins and alfalfa are all legumes – plants that have a relationship with nitrifying soil bacteria. So growing any of them will assist in “fixing” atmospheric nitrogen and returning it to the soil. With legumous green manures, the idea is to plant seeds of these plants (they can be bought premixed) and let them grow until they begin to flower. I then whack them with the whipper snipper, and allow the slashed plants to lie on the surface of the soil or just tilled in. Do not plant in your green manure bed for at least 6 weeks after slashing. Green manures are a top, sustainable way of improving your soil.

Best of the beans: how to grow beans in your garden

Root trainers are widely available, but we find cardboard loo-roll inners make fine substitutes. They work perfectly for peas too. You can sow direct into the soil, but I find seedlings more resilient to pests and drought.

Thirdly, sow with consumption in mind. Successional sowing is the key to a steady stream of delicious beans rather than a long weekend of chutney making. Sow them in small batches, three weeks apart, and as one batch begins to tire, the next will be ready to replace it. For our family of three, I like a four metre double row of broad beans ready at a time, plus perhaps 20 plants each of runner beans and French beans. Borlottis are a little slower in their productivity and I generally only do an early sowing now and one in early June to give a staggered harvest. For spacing, whatever the variety of bean, follow the instructions on the packet and you can’t go wrong.

Lastly, harvest your beans when they are at their best: for all but borlottis, this is small, sweet and tender. Picked at this stage, they produce more the more you harvest them, but don’t kid yourself that these are bean-making machines designed for your dining pleasure; the secret behind their productivity is sex. The pods you snap from the plant hold their next generation – the more of those seeds that mature and are capable of growing into new plants, the more quickly the plant slows down production, having served its function of procreation. So, picking the pods early not only ensures the sweetest harvest, it also gives the plant an incentive to keep producing. Don’t worry about yield – the beans may be smaller, but the finer flavour and the extra productivity more than makes up for the weight of each harvest.

Borlottis can be harvested when the pods are large and turn a little paler (pop a pod to test them if you’re unsure), or they can be left to dry out on the plant before podding and storing for winter use.

Marked with a X

Bean fest: loo-roll inners produce seedlings with a strong root system

There are two other tips that we use at Otter Farm when growing beans. Many gardeners build circular tepees or long rows of inverted Vs with the canes tied at the top for the beans to grow up: this means that the beans hang hidden between the canes in the shade of the foliage, evading the picker’s eye, and with little sun or breeze to minimise disease. I prefer to cross the canes and tie them in the centre to form a row of Xs, which means the beans hang out in full view, exposed to the light and the breeze.

Disease is reduced, growth is encouraged and fewer beans are hidden from sight, which gives you every chance of picking them all at their best and encouraging more to follow.

Secondly, bare soil around the plants creates work for you. Weeds germinate and water evaporates which means you have to get busy with the hoe and the hose. Undersowing with trefoil, a low-growing legume, covers the soil quickly, retaining water and excluding weeds. As well as saving you work and looking beautiful, the trefoil also fixes nitrogen in the soil, which means your bean patch is being quietly, naturally fertilised for the next crop.

With the plants doing most of the work, I’ve time for an extra glass of cider in the sun.

Top varieties

Runner bean

‘Polestar’ is the variety to convince the haters. – tall, productive, with sweet, tender, stringless pods that are at their best (I kid you not) when eaten raw, straight from the plant. Even better than the excellent ‘Scarlet Emperor’. ‘Pickwick’ is a dwarf runner bean, excellent for a windy garden.

Broad bean

Try ‘Bunyard’s Exhibition’, a tall, early Victorian variety, as reliably productive as it is delicious; ‘Grando Violetto’, as tasty and productive as it is beautiful, with a flush of purple to the flowers and the beans; ‘The Sutton’, a dwarf variety, perfect for windy locations.

Dwarf French bean

‘Rocquencourt’ is a delicious yellow bean, that’s very cold-hardy so good to start and end the season with; ‘Purple Teepee’, a dwarf, purple-podded variety, productive, tasty and tender.

Climbing French bean

‘Eva’ is tasty with good disease-resistance; ‘Blue Lake Climbing’ is tall and productive over a long season. Tender even when large. ‘Blauhilde’, tall and very productive, with delicious, purple beans that turn green when cooked.


Usually available only as ‘Lingua di Fuoco’, which also comes in a dwarf variety for those with an exposed plot. If you are not familiar with borlottis, I urge you to try them. The glorious pods (and to a greater or lesser degree, the beans) are speckled crimson and cream and can be used fresh for hummus, in salads or added to soups and stews either fresh or dried. A must.

Reader offer

Go to Otter Farm and buy either pack for £10 incl p&p (saves £4)

The Tall Bean Collection: one packet of seeds each of Runner bean – ‘Polestar’, Borlotti – ‘Lingua di Fuoco’, Broad bean – ‘Bunyard’s Exhibition’, Broad bean – ‘Grando Violetto’, Climbing French bean – ‘Blauhilde’, Climbing French bean – ‘Eva’

The Dwarf Bean Collection: one packet each of Runner bean – ‘Pickwick’, Borlotti – ‘Lingua di Fuoco’, Broad bean – ‘The Sutton’, Broad bean – ‘Grando Violetto’, Climbing French bean – ‘Rocquencourt’, Climbing French bean – ‘Purple Tepee’

View the variety of beans available at the Telegraph Gardenshop >>

French Beans Plant Stock Photos and Images

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  • Green french beans plant in vegetables garden
  • Green french beans plant in vegetables garden
  • Mature pods of green or French string beans Phaseolus vulgaris variety Narbonne
  • Bush beans
  • Selection of various beans (borlotti,broad,French,runner). These have been saved to plant for the following season.
  • Royal Burgundy bush bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) plant in flower growing in a country garden in June summer Wales UK KATHY DEWITT
  • closeup of unripe green beans yet on the plant
  • Overhead view of Dwarf French Beans Purple Queen in flower growing in vegetable garden supported by string and bamboo canes, summer, England, UK
  • French beans picked from a British garden
  • Beans grows in the garden close up
  • Climbing green French beans
  • closeup of unripe green beans yet on the plant
  • Salicornia in a French fish shop – Trouville, Normandy, France
  • The background of red beans.
  • White color flower beans on green leaf background
  • Fresh green beans on the old wooden table.
  • Fortex french / filet pole beans growing on a trellis in Bellevue, Washington, USA. The exceptionally long, medium-green pods grow to over 10 inches
  • Green beans, growing on plant in vegetable garden.
  • Espresso in a glass cup with coffee beans
  • Green french beans plant in vegetables garden
  • Green french beans plant in vegetables garden
  • French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) plant showing roots in soil in glass-sided tank
  • Bush beans
  • Selection of various beans (borlotti,broad,French,runner) saved to plant for the following season and stored in packets with name and date.
  • Fresh vegetables, green beans, zucchini, freshly picked in the garden
  • closeup of unripe green beans yet on the plant
  • Overhead view of Dwarf French Beans Purple Queen in flower growing in vegetable garden supported by string and bamboo canes, summer, England, UK
  • French beans picked from a British garden
  • Green beans
  • Basket of french beans in the garden
  • closeup of unripe green beans yet on the plant
  • Violet green beans flowering in the garden. French beans, string beans with flowers.
  • Background of white beans.
  • Some french beans macro detail in square composition
  • Fresh green beans on the old wooden table.
  • Organic green beans picked fresh from garden allotment, Italy
  • Woman planting French climbing beans in allotment
  • Espresso in a glass cup with coffee beans
  • Phaseolus vulgaris. Climbing french bean ‘Blauhilde’ in a vegetable garden. UK
  • Green french beans plant in vegetables garden .
  • Golden Beans
  • Bush beans
  • Close up woman hands harvesting beans
  • Fresh Green beans in the garden
  • White color flower beans on green leaf background.
  • Overhead view of Dwarf French Beans Purple Queen in flower growing in vegetable garden supported by string and bamboo canes, summer, England, UK
  • Dwarf beans in a British garden
  • Green or French bean seeds for planting
  • Home grown French beans growing on canes in garden
  • Green beans hanging vertically from the plant
  • Violet green beans flowering in the garden. French beans, string beans with flowers.
  • The background of red beans and a wooden spoon.
  • Some french beans macro detail in square composition
  • Fresh green beans on the old wooden table.
  • Thin French Green Beans (or Haricots Verts) with Basil Leaves on a Plate in White Background
  • Five dishes containing dried food: Mung Beans, Black Barley, Pequin Chiles, Adzuki Beans, French Green Lentils
  • Espresso in a glass cup with coffee beans
  • Phaseolus vulgaris. Climbing french bean ‘Blauhilde’ in a vegetable garden. UK
  • Oceania, French Polynesia, Taha’a. Woman spreading vanilla beans out to dry in the sun.
  • Dwarf French Beans ‘Delinel’, Phaseolus vulgaris, Fabaceae.
  • Bush beans
  • Close up woman hands harvesting beans
  • French beans sprout with two leafs in vegetable garden
  • White color flower beans on green leaf background.
  • Overhead view of Dwarf French Beans Purple Queen in flower growing in raised bed in vegetable garden, supported by string and bamboo canes, summer, UK
  • Dwarf beans in a British garden
  • French beans
  • Piking of green beans ‘Oxinel’ under a greenhouse // Cueillette de haricots verts nains ‘Oxinel’
  • French beans
  • Violet green beans flowering in the garden. French beans, string beans with flowers.
  • The background of red beans, pods, and a wooden spoon.
  • Fresh Green Beans vegetable on wood table
  • Fresh green beans on the old wooden table.
  • Long Beans.These long beans are similar to French and can be prepared and cooked in the same way.
  • Home Grown French Bean with Bamboo Support
  • Espresso in a glass cup with coffee beans
  • Climbing french bean ‘anellino di brescia’ in a vegetable garden. UK
  • Purple french bean pods maturing on plant.
  • French Beans Sclerotinia White Mold Leaf
  • Bush beans
  • French climbing black beans growing on an allotment
  • French beans plants growing on English vegetable farm
  • A tightly packed kitchen garden with cavolo nero, kale, french beans and sweet corn – John Gollop
  • Young French beans and white onions growing in raised beds in domestic vegetable garden, Cumbria, England UK
  • Fresh French Green Beans on white background
  • Green beans peppers at the local farmer’s market.
  • Piking of green beans ‘Oxinel’ under a greenhouse // Cueillette de haricots verts nains ‘Oxinel’
  • Green bean in the garden
  • Violet green beans flowering in the garden. French beans, string beans with flowers.
  • Red beans on white background.
  • Phaseolus vulgaris . Green vines and leaves creeping on the vertical support.
  • Fresh string beans in man’s hand. Green plants on the background.
  • Stack of Green Beans arranged for Sale
  • Home Grown French Bean with Bamboo Support
  • Espresso in a glass cup with coffee beans
  • Phaseolus vulgaris. Gardener picking french beans from an english vegetable garden in August. UK
  • Purple french bean pods maturing on plant.
  • French Beans Sclerotinia White Mold Leaf
  • Green leaves of beans close-up .Texture or background
  • French climbing black beans growing on an allotment

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Search Results for French Beans Plant Stock Photos and Images

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The germination process through the flowering reproductive stage of the bean plant is a fascinating glimpse into the plant kingdom’s cycles. Understanding the life cycle can help you become a better gardener.

Life Cycles and Stages of the Bean Plant

There are four stages in the life of a bean plant:

  • The seed is the capsule in which the new plant is housed.
  • Germination is the process in which the baby plant emerges from the seed hull.
  • Leaf growth begins when the seedling grows its true sets of adult leaves (as opposed to the immature initial leaf structures).
  • Flowering stages reveal that the plant has fully matured and is ready to begin reproducing.

Bean Seed Stage

Beans produce a variety of seeds, each concealed inside a pod. As the pod matures on the plants, it dries and splits open in the sun. The seeds will eventually fall out of the hard, dry, pod to the earth – or gardeners can remove them for storage or planting later.

Bean seeds are actually comprised of two halves called cotyledons. Each cotyledon contains a food source for the emerging plant. New bean plants can actually live off of the stored food in the cotyledon for several days, if necessary, until they can reach nutrients in the soil.

Green Bean Example

For example, tiny flattened beans, like miniature green peas, emerge from the green bean pod. Those are the immature seeds, because most green or snap beans are harvested before they grow tough though Italian varieties of green beans are harvested with more mature seeds.

Germination Stage

Germination refers to the seed as it begins to sprout. Bean seeds germinate, or sprout, when water dissolves or cracks open the hard casing around the seed or embryo. Warmth speeds the process along. The bean will send out a tiny (embryonic) root called a radicle.

Casing Split and Root Growth

After the casing splits, the first thing to emerge from the bean seeds are the roots. Slowly, roots unfurl from the seed, reaching out for moisture and nutrients. Roots look like white threads as they grow out from the bean seed.

Amend Soil During Germination

Like all vegetables, beans need nutrient-rich soil. When starting a vegetable garden, it is essential to amend the soil and continually replenish its nutrients. Planting bean seeds in good garden soil amended with compost helps the roots find available nutrients immediately. As the roots descend, they pull water and nutrients from the soil into the seed itself. Slowly, the seed receives what it needs to enter the next stage of its life cycle: leaf growth.

Leaf Growth

After the seed germinates and the roots grow, the bean plant begins to push out a single stem. As the stem emerges from the soil, two little leaves emerge. The first leaves to emerge from a bean plant do not look like the typical bean plant leaves. They’re rounded, and help the plant grow quickly into a strong, mature plant.

  • These leaves (also termed cotyledons) emerge above the ground, as opposed to below the soil surface which is common in other plants, and are connected to the seed.
  • A stalk (hypocotyl) sets the seed and cotyledons firmly into the soil.
  • The first pair of leaves provide photosynthesis for the seedling. They drop off as soon as the mature leaves are produced.

Within the leaves are special cells containing chlorophyll, which transforms sunlight into usable energy for the plant. As the plant receives warmth, moisture, sunlight and carbon dioxide, it is able to transform these elements into nutrition for growth and maintenance. New leaves emerge, and soon an entire plant is formed.

Flowering Cycle

The end of the bean plant’s life cycle is flowering. Flowers are the reproductive portion of the plant, and plants begin reproducing as soon as they are able to do so. The time is takes a bean plant to flower varies according to the types of bean, but generally within six to eight weeks of germination you’ll begin to see flowers on the bean plant. As the flowers are pollinated or fertilized, seed pods develop.

Bean plants flower and set mature seed pods at the same time. This is common in the legume family of plants. Seed pods mature and are picked for food by people or left on the plant to mature and dry in the sun. Dry bean pods yield beans for storage or recipes, or the pods naturally split over time and drop the beans onto the ground. That returns the life cycle of the bean plant to its starting point once again, seeds, and the cycle begins anew.

Gardening With Legumes

Legumes are a great addition to any garden as these plants not only produce food crops, they also fix nitrogen into the soil to improve the earth. Add a few beans to your patch and watch the magic happen above and below the soil.

Types of Fresh Beans

  • Winged beans (Goa beans, asparagus pea): Winged beans are grown abundantly in Southeast Asia. All parts of the plant are edible, not just the pod and inner seed. The shoots, flowers, root, and leaves can all be eaten raw or cooked, and all have high protein content: 10 percent to 20 percent. Typically six to nine inches long, the pods have a distinctive shape, with four sides that flare into serrated ridges or “wings.” The pods are green and shades of purple-red. The beans within are starchier than green bean seeds.
  • Yardlong beans (Chinese long beans, asparagus beans): Originally from Asia, these mild-tasting, thin, green beans can measure up to 18 inches long. When young and tender, long beans are good for stir-frying. They can also be eaten raw in salads or as crudités.

Shell Beans

Shell beans are mature seeds (beans) whose pods are usually no longer edible, but the beans are still fresh and have not been dried. Though shell beans can be used interchangeably with dried beans in many recipes, keep in mind that shell beans keep the same bulk whether they’re raw or cooked, whereas dried beans swell up, so you’ll need to adjust recipes accordingly.

  • Cannellini: This is the fresh form of the dried white kidney bean traditionally used in minestrone.
  • Cranberry beans: These beans—so named because of the red markings on both the white pods and the beans themselves—are occasionally available fresh. They are usually served as a side dish or added to soups and stews.
  • Edamame (fresh soybeans): Edamame are a specialty soybean grown specifically to be picked and used in their immature stage so that they can be eaten fresh. Distinguished by their small, fuzzy, dark green pods, fresh soybeans have a mild flavor, along with a higher protein and fat content than other beans. The fat is unsaturated. The protein is complete—meaning that it provides the essential amino acids needed in one’s diet—so soybeans are equivalent to meat in terms of protein quality.
  • Fava beans (broad beans): Fava beans have been a staple food in many countries for thousands of years. In fact, they were the only beans eaten in Europe before the green bean was introduced there in the 1400s. Fava bean pods can grow up to 18 inches, and are about an inch wide. Young favas can be shelled and eaten raw or cooked, but more mature favas must be both shelled and skinned (the skins around each individual bean are much too tough to eat). (Note: fava beans and some other beans can cause a serious adverse reaction in people with an inherited enzyme deficiency called G6PD deficiency.)
  • Lima beans: The most common shell bean in the United States, limas are named after the capital of Peru, where they have been cultivated since ancient times. Nearly all of the U.S. domestic crop is marketed frozen or canned, but you can sometimes find fresh limas sold in their pods. Dried lima beans come in two varieties: the largerFordhooks(also called butter beans) andbaby limas, which are not really young lima beans but are a smaller, milder-tastingvariety.

Fresh shell beans are generally available for only a few months of the year. Lima beans, cranberry beans, and edamame are typically in markets from mid-summer through early fall. Fava beans are available from late spring though early summer.

Bean classification: Beans can be divided into two main groups: those that can be eaten pod and all and those that are dried.

Beans are legumes whose seeds or pods are eaten, but are not classified as peas or lentils (which are also legumes). For the record, legumes are plants with double-seamed pods containing a single row of seeds.

Beans can be divided into two main groups: those that can be eaten pod and all, called green or snap beans, and others that are shelled for their seeds and eaten either fresh or dried, called shell or dried beans.

Green beans are the immature pods of the most tender bean varieties. Green beans are fleshy and entirely edible.

Green beans are sometimes called snap beans because of the sound their fresh pods make when broken in half. Green beans are called string beans if they have a fibrous string that runs down the side. Most modern green beans are stringless.

There are dozens of varieties of green beans. Green beans are the most widely planted bean type. Green beans include the haricot vert, scarlet runner bean, winged, and yard-long bean. Snap beans are not always green. They can also be yellow or purple. Yellow snap beans are sometime called wax beans for their waxy color.

Beans that grow past the tender pod stage to maturity can be picked for just the seed inside. Beans grown for their seeds to be eaten fresh or dried are called shell beans or shellies.

Fresh shell beans are beans that swell in the pod to their maximum size but have not yet started to dry. Shell beans eaten fresh before they dry include the azuki, butterbean, chickpea, cranberry, fava, flageolet, lima, scarlet runner, soybean, winged, and yard-long bean.

Dry beans are beans left to mature and then dry on the vine. The seeds of dried beans are sometimes called soup beans. Dry beans are shelled and then usually soaked in water before cooking. Dry beans include the black or turtle bean, Great Northern, kidney, cannellini, navy, pinto, red, and white bean.

A glossary of specific bean varieties and broader bean classifications:

Vigna flower; flower of the Azuki bean

Azuki Bean or Adzuki Bean (Vigna angularis): small, somewhat square bean shelled at plump green stage or allowed to dry on the vine and shelled; small red bean dried. Slightly sweet tasting. Used by Chinese and Japanese cooks in steamed rice dishes. Also used to make red bean paste. Annual native to Asia and related to the southern pea. Pods grow 4 to 5 inches (10-12.5 cm) long. Requires 120 warm growing days. Climbing bean.

Black Bean or Turtle Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): medium-size, jet-black dried bean used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines. Earthy, meaty flavor and a mealy texture. Used in soups, stews, salads, and bean dips; served with pork, rice, and greens. See Dry and Horticultural Beans.

Bush Bean: is a bean growing term. Bush beans are determinate plants, meaning they grow to a certain size and then blossom, fruit, and then stop growing. Bush beans grow in a bush-like form to about 15-24 inches (38-60 cm) tall. Bush beans produce edible pods within 60 days and the harvest usually lasts just two or three weeks. After two or three heavy pickings, bush beans are finished. They will then go into decline at which time they can be pulled up and composted.

Butterbean or Sieva, Civet, or Seewee Bean (Phaseolus lunatus): a creamy yellow (butter-colored) bean similar to a lima bean but smaller. Blotched seeds turn dark when cooked. Popular in the South. Climbing bean.

Chick pea or Garbanzo Bean (Cicer arietinum): short, swollen pods about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long contain 1 or 2 wrinkled buff-colored seeds. Seeds have a firm texture and nutty flavor. Use raw in soups, stews, and salads, and roasted and eaten as a snack. Also called ceci. Originally from southeastern Asia they are a staple in Mediterranean countries and India. Rich in protein and starch. Look more like vetch than peas or beans. Prefer dry heat. Bush bean.

Cranberry Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): plump, whitish-green pods with wine-colored streaks grow to about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and ½ inch (1.3 cm) wide. Shelled beans can are mottled with reddish markings. Use fresh or dried. Add to stews and soups, especially Italian minestrone, or boil and serve as a side dish. Flavor reminiscent of chestnuts.

Dry and Horticultural Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris): eaten green or dried for winter use; beans developed for green or dry shelled seeds; bred to be shelled when their large seeds reach full size. Believed to be the ancestors of snap beans. Young pods can be eaten as snap beans. Many varieties range in color from white to yellow, red, pink, brown, speckled and black; some may be splashed with crimson or maroon. Best known dry beans are kidney, pinto, navy, and black turtle beans. Seldom grown in home gardens since they are inexpensive commercially grown. The French flageolet is a horticultural bean grown in home gardens.

Fava Bean or Broad Bean (Vicia faba): large, flattened, light green pods grow 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) long and have a white-woolly lining. Eat the entire pods raw when half-grown with oil and salt or cooked like snap beans. Older pods are shelled; moist green beans inside should be peeled. Add to soups and stews or dress with butter or oil; serve cold as a salad dressed with vinaigrette. Require 70 days that are cool but frost free. Harvest in late spring and early summer. Some may be allergic to the mature seed. Bush bean requires support.

Flageolet (Phaseolus vulgaris): small, creamy-white to pale-green seeds of a thin, flat, French shell bean with inedible green pod; pods grow to about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. A variety of haricot bean developed in France in 1872. Braise or add to soups and stews or eat cold as a salad with lemon and oil. Available dried.

Great Northern Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): medium to large, flat, kidney-shaped, white shell bean with mild flavor. Used dried in soups, stews, baked bean dishes, and salads.

Green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): edible long, slender green pod bean, also called string bean because of a fibrous string that runs down the side. Modern hybrids are stringless.

Haricot Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): general term for a wide variety of beans that originated in America and brought to Europe in the sixteenth century, including the red kidney bean and predecessor of the flageolet. Haricot often refers specifically to the small white bean used for baked beans.

Haricot Vert (Phaseolus vulgaris): the French phrase for “green bean.” A slender (⅛ inch/0.3 cm in diameter) stringless bean, sweet and tender, with very small seeds. Use fresh: steam briefly then sauté in butter or oil or steam and dress with vinaigrette and serve chilled or at room temperature. Also called French green bean and French bean.

Kidney Bean or Cannellini Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): kidney-shaped bean of a common shell bean, either red or white skinned with cream-colored flesh and bland flavor. White kidney beans are called cannellini beans. Meaty flavor and mealy texture. Use in salads and in simmered dishes such as soups, stews, and chili. Retains shape and texture cooked.

Lentil (Lens ensculenta); flat, disk-like seeds of a leguminous plant used dried. A lentil is not specifically a bean but is often lumped with beans. Lentils come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Puy lentil has a dark green skin with blue marbling. The orange lentil, also called Egyptian lentil, is a dehusked brown lentil. Green lentil, also called continental lentil, is larger and slightly flatter. Dhal or dal is the general Hindi term for lentils. Add to soups and stews; boil until tender, drain and dress with vinaigrette for a cold salad; or boil until tender, drain and reheat with oil, butter, or bacon fat for a side dish.

Lima Bean or Butter Bean (Phaseolus lunatus): large, flat, kidney-shaped, light-green seeds that mature to creamy-yellow can be eaten raw after shelling; waxy texture. Also used dried. Add to soups and stews; or boil until tender, drain and dress with vinaigrette and serve as salad. Larger than butter beans but often crossed with butter beans.

The lima bean is sometimes called Madagascar bean. Native to Peru and named after the capital there, but pronounced “LY-muh.” Both climbing and bush forms.

Mung Bean or Green Gram (Vigna radiata): small cylindrical olive-green seed used mostly for sprouting (edible bean sprouts) or for grinding to bean meal; green pods can be used as snap beans or mixed with green seeds shelled from fully grown pods. Bean is commonly green but also brown and black varieties. Favored in Indian, Chinese, and Asian cookery. Slender-podded relative of southern peas. Tolerate high heat and humidity and require a long, warm growing season. Bush type.

Navy Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): small, oval, kidney-shaped white bean; a haricot bean. Use in soups, stews, baked beans, or marinated in salads. The name is believed to have come from its importance to the navy’s shipboard kitchen stock. Also called Boston bean and Yankee bean.

Pinto Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris): medium-sized, flat, oval seed, pink to beige with mottled brown spots; a variety of kidney bean. The name in Spanish means “painted” or “spotted.” Dried and used in southwestern and Mexican soups, stews, and chilis. Creamy texture when cooked; delicious puréed. Native to India where it is called toor dal. Also called crabeye bean and red Mexican bean.

Pole Bean: is a bean that grows on a vine which should be trained vertically on a pole or trellis. Pole beans grow quickly into large, full-bodied plants. These plants produce in about 60 days and will bear for several weeks. Young pole bean pods should be picked frequently so that the plant will remain productive. These plants are classified as indeterminate, because their size and period of harvest vary.

Purple Snap Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): a snap bean with a velvety skin which is dark, dark purple. When cooked, this bean turns green.

Red Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): a medium-sized, kidney-shaped bean with a dark red skin and flesh. Used dry.

Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus): flat, broad, green pod and small red-streaked beige-colored seeds with purple and black markings; similar but more flavorful than the snap bean. Steam and serve hot with butter or oil, or cold with vinaigrette. Add to soups or mixed vegetable salads. Harvest when pods are 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) long before strings develop in pods. Plant looks like a pole snap beans with scarlet flowers. Climbing or “runner” bean requires pole or fence; has bright scarlet flowers. Also known as Green Bean, Italian Romano Bean, Stick Bean.

Snap Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): bean harvested while immature and pod is edible. Snap beans include green or string bean, Italian Romano bean, yellow wax bean, and the purple-podded bean. Pods range from 5 to 12 inches (12.5-30 cm) long and are oval, round, or broad and flat and green, yellow (wax beans), or purple. Most are stringless; heirloom varieties have strings and fiber. Use steamed, braised, sautéed, stir-fried, or pickeled. Use in soups or mixed vegetable combination. Bush and pole types.

Soybean or Soya Bean (Glycine max): pods are tan to black with soft outer fuzz; two to four beans inside from pea to cherry sized, can be red, yellow, green, brown, black, or mottled. Can be harvested green or left to dry; require soaking for several hours and cooking for 4 hours to be digestible; dry seeds are black or yellow. Use as you would lima beans or fava beans; shell and boil just like English peas. Native to eastern Asia; require 120 warm, frost free days to mature.

White Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): a generic term for ivory-white skinned kidngey-shaped beans; delicate bland flavor. Varieties include marrow bean, great Northern bean, navy bean, and pea bean. Also called white navy bean, pea bean, or haricot. Used in baked beans.

Winged Bean (Psophocrapus tetragonolobus): green, purple or reddish pods to 9 inches (22.5 cm) long with 4 fluted wings along the length. Edible pods are high in protein with a flavor similar to the cranberry bean and a starchy green bean texture; pods can be steamed; roast ripe or dry seeds to make them digestible. Native to the Old World tropics; does not fruit until early fall and requires frost-free harvest period. Climbing type.

Yard-long Bean or Asparagus Bean or Chinese Long Bean (Vigna unguiculata): thin, green pods 18 to 24 inches (45-60 cm) long can be eaten like a snap bean or shelled. Use fresh in stir-fries or steamed. Slightly milder than a snap bean with a crunchier texture. Climbing bean.

Yellow Snap Bean or Wax Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): a snap bean with a yellow color and somewhat waxy texture.

Growing beans tips: How to Grow Beans.

Growing fresh runner and dwarf beans in Western Australia


Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) originated in Central America and belong to the pea (Fabaceae) family. They require warm temperatures for growth and yields. The immature pods are eaten as a fresh vegetable. They contain good levels of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Two types of fresh beans are grown, with production divided between the climbing or runner bean and the dwarf bean, which has a number of names, such as French, bush, snap or stringless beans.

Dwarf beans are lower yielding, more difficult to pick and have a shorter bearing season than runner beans. However, dwarf beans do not require supports, have earlier maturity and are usually stringless and of good quality. They may also be harvested by machine.

Beans are a quick maturing crop but need considerable labour for picking.

The industry

The main production areas for runner beans are Carnarvon and Perth, with small areas in the south-west and Albany.

The main growing area for dwarf beans is Gingin and Broome, where beans are harvested by machine. Dwarf beans are also harvested by hand in Perth and the South-West. Production occurs throughout the year and demand is highest in the cooler months.

Fresh bean production has declined in recent years due to competition from frozen-packaged dwarf beans.

Other types of beans, such as butter beans, are grown in small quantities. Italian or borlotti beans are grown for the mature seeds that are used in soups and stews. Mung beans are grown under hydroponic-type conditions for their sprouts, which are used in salads.


Use well drained, uncompacted soils with a pHCa of 5.5 to 7.0. Apply lime at 2.5 to 5.0t/ha at least three months before planting if the pHCa is less than 5.3.

Beans are very sensitive to high salt levels. High salinity causes a scorch on the edge of the leaves, yellowish leaves and poor growth. The soil should have a low salinity with an EC25 (1:5) less than 15mS/m.

Beans may also be affected by high boron levels in the irrigation water and/or soil. Toxicity symptoms include yellowish leaves and small, crinkled pods.

Water quality

Beans have a lower salt tolerance than most vegetable crops. The salinity of the irrigation water should be less than 100mS/m (550mg/L total salts) for highest yields and quality.


Optimum air temperatures for good yields and quality are 16°C to 30°C. A frost-free period of 120 days is required. Where temperatures exceed 35°C, pollination of flowers may be poor and beans may be short, flat and curled with many second grade and reject beans. Temperatures below 10°C during flowering and pod setting may result in curling and russetting of pods.

The optimum soil temperature for germination is 24°C, with a minimum of 15°C and a maximum of 35°C.

Plant beans in a sheltered area. Winds damage leaves and destroy flowers, and pods are deformed when they rub against supports, leaves and stems.

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