Whether you're an experienced gardener or one who's just starting out, green beans are an ideal choice for your vegetable garden. They're easy to grow and second only to tomatoes in popularity. Plus, green beans come in a range of plant sizes, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding room for this nutritious crop in your garden.
Different Types of Green Beans
Green beans can be pole beans or bush beans. Pole beans are easier to harvest, while bush beans yield well and generally require less work. Which type of green bean you choose depends on your yard space and summer temperatures.
- Spacing: Pole beans grow to a height of 5 or 6 feet, and bush beans grow only a foot or two. Bush beans are usually planted in rows, and pole beans are frequently planted around a trellis.
- Climate: Pole beans generally do better in areas with cooler summers, and bush beans do well in hotter summers.
Planting Green Beans
Green beans should be planted in the spring, well after the danger of frost has passed, and need plenty of sun and soil that's well drained. Seeds should be planted about 1 inch deep. Plant bush beans 2-4 inches apart and in rows at least 18 inches apart. Pole beans need to be 4-6 inches apart in rows at least 30 inches apart. You can also plant pole beans in hills with four to six seeds, 30 inches apart.
Caring for Your Seeds
Plant your green bean seeds just before a heavy rain, or water them after planting. It's important to keep the seeds watered and hoe frequently to keep weeds out of your garden. Your beans should grow quickly, with the first ones sprouting in about 55 days for bush beans, and an extra week or two for pole beans.
Harvesting Your Green Beans
It is best to pick green beans when the pods are firm and fully grown, but before you can see the bean bulging in the pod. Also, make sure they're dry when you pick them.
Storing your Green Beans
As a way to keep your green beans fresh, store them in plastic bags in your vegetable crisper.