How to Grow Beans

All About Beans

Pole beans, bush beans, dry, lima, snap, waxed. There are so many varieties of beans, each one with so many reasons to love it! And the best part about them all is they're super easy to grow. Most beans are meant to be harvested and eated fresh. Dry beans are meant to mature and dry on the vine, to be stored for later, and need extra time to cook and prepare. Pick a few to start or experiment with them all. You can't go wrong with beans!

With all beans, just be sure to rotate your planting locations each year to maintain optimal soil and seedling health.

How to Plant & Grow Bush Beans and Pole Beans

How to Grow Bush Beans

Reaching approximately 2 feet in height, bush bean plants are self-supporting and easy to grow in a garden, a raised bed, or containers.

Bush beans are very quick to mature, making them ideal for short growing seasons like those found in the north. A mature plant will produce quite a heavy harvest of impressive, 6-inch pods. 

1. Sowing Seeds: Plant bush bean seeds directly in the garden, about a week or so after all threat of frost has passed and soil temps are at least 65F.

2. Growing: If you want a large crop for generous amounts of fresh eating, freezing, and canning, plant seeds all at once.
One of the coolest things about bush beans is that they let you stagger their harvest so you can enjoy them throughout the entire growing season - though the length of time will depend on your local growing season. To stagger harvesting, simply direct sow a crop every two weeks. When one is finished, the next one will be right up.

3. Harvesting:

Harvesting Bush Beans: (You might know them as Snap Beans.) Snap beans will be ready to pick about 50-60 days after they're sown. You'll know they're ready because they'll be about as thick as a pencil and their sides will be curvy thanks to all the beans inside. 

Harvesting Dry Bush BeansWhen growing dry bush bean varieties, leave the beans in their shell to dry after the pods reach maturity. Once dry, the beans can be shelled and then stored for a year or more in a cool, dry place.

Harvesting Wax Bush BeansGolden Wax bush beans are perfect for canning and freezing, so don't be afraid to go a little overboard with this heavy yielder. 

How to Grow Pole Beans

Pole beans grow as vines, and they can reach height upward of 10 feet or more! It's important when growing pole beans to establish a trellis or teepee shape support structure. This takes a bit more work in the beginning than planting bush bean varieties, but you might prefer pole beans because they they take up less ground space, and the upright style of harvesting can be easier. 

  1. Soil: The plants like moist soil, but go easy, as overwatering can cause the seedlings to rot.
  2. Sowing Seeds: Lima beans don't tolerate cold or transplanting very well, so direct sow them when soil temps are at least 70F, and well after all threat of frost has passed. They do love the warmer days of mid-summer and prefer lots of sunshine, so be sure you plant in a spot that gets the most direct exposure. 
  3. Growing: Lima blossoms tend to be a bit delicate, so take care not to disrupt them too much when weeding as they might fall off. 
  4. Harvesting: Once harvesting begins, these beans should be picked every few days. If they're left on the vine too long they will become brittle and bitter.

Be sure to read the detailed growing directions on your seed packet - these will give you helpful instructions, specifically for the variety that you are growing.

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