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How to Grow Beans

by a Friendly Gardener
Farm Market Beans

Want your garden full of beans? Considering how many different types of beans there are, that wouldn’t be a very difficult feat to accomplish. There are so many various kinds of delicious beans, that choosing may very well be difficult unless you have a favorite. Likewise, there are various ways for differentiating bean types:

  • Pods versus seeds
  • Fresh pods or fresh seeds versus dried seeds
  • Bush versus pole

Green Beans

How to Grow Green Beans

If you have decided to grow green beans, the final category “bush versus pole” will facilitate your gardening endeavor. Let’s consider

  • Bush beans are relatively easy to grow and have a quick growth rate. Most varieties of bush beans will grow from one to two feet tall. Once the seeds have been sown, your beans will probably be ready for harvest after approximately two months and should last about three weeks.
  • Pole beans may be vining beans or runner beans with the plants growing anywhere from eight to ten feet tall. They should have some type of support such as a tower, trellis, netting, or teepee. They will be ready after about three months from seeding. The harvesting period will last from six to eight weeks.

Green beans are a vegetable that should be grown in warm weather. Seeds should be planted after the final estimated spring frost and not if the soil is still wet and cold because this can lead to rot. Ideally, the soil temperature should reach 70° Fahrenheit before you begin sowing seeds. Most beans should be direct seeded in your vegetable garden because they germinate quickly and are not responsive to transplanting.

Variety of green beans

Green beans are pretty low maintenance once growth has been established. They are prey to slugs and Mexican beetles. These beetles resemble ladybugs with an orangish-red coloring and black spots. Eggs and larvae will be yellow. You can use row covers to avoid damage. Pick the beetles off of the plants and destroy them. They may also be subject to fungal infections, so avoid walking among your bean plants when you have wet weather.

Providing consistent moisture will guarantee you a quality harvest. If it doesn’t rain often in your area, water at least once a week in the morning so that foliage can dry before evening. A layer of mulch will help you maintain moisture as well as impede weed growth.

Green beans in a wood basket

How to Plant Green Beans

If you have opted for bush beans, sow the ben seeds about one inch deep into the soil bed and place them two inches apart in a row. Rows should be spaced 18 inches to 2 feet apart for optimum growing space.  Once your plants have begun growing well, make sure to thin them to approximately six inches apart. Bush beans are a good choice for succession planting if you’d like to prolong the harvest. This can be accomplished by planting every two to three weeks up until roughly two months before the estimated first frost of autumn.

Green bean growing

If your garden space is more adapted to pole beans, you will need to prepare your structure before you plant your seeds. Whether you choose to use a trellis, teepee, or other, they should be erected before seeding. Seeds should be sown about one inch deep in the soil bed and three inches apart if you plan to use a trellis.  These, too, should be thinned to six inches apart, once growth is established. Should you prefer a teepee structure, your poles should be a minimum of seven feet tall. Six to eight seeds should be planted around each pole used.

Green beans need at least eight hours of direct sunlight daily. The soil needs to be somewhat fertilized and to drain well. Raised soil beds are a good choice for green beans as are containers and pots. Bush beans will require a rather large window box or a round container that has a diameter of 15 inches minimum. Pole beans will need a bit more space with a pot that has a diameter o around 18 inches. Containers should be filled with a mixture of compost and potting soil.


Harvesting Green Beans

Green beans, yellow peppers and zucchinies

The more beans you harvest, the greater your harvest will be. Pick your beans every several days. If you have too many to eat, you can pickle them, freeze them, or share them. The green bean pods can be harvested at any size, but the ideal length is four to six inches. They should appear to be smooth, and the beans inside should be small in size. Overly mature pods should be removed. Plants should switch from pod production to seed production and your harvest will decrease.


How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans

Fresh frozen green beans from your garden can be used all year long for casseroles, side dishes, or even soups. To freeze your fresh green beans:

  1. Wash the beans in cold water and snap or trim the ends off.
  2. Leave the beans whole or cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Now blanch the green beans by placing them in boiling water for approximately two minutes. Remove them and place them in ice water. When they are cool to the touch. drain them and pat them dry with paper towels or a clean cloth.
  4. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze them until they are frozen solid.
  5. Place them in containers or plastic freezer bags and return them to your freezer.

Cut up green beans with a knife

Note that green beans can be frozen directly without blanching but they will not retain their natural color and may become a bit tougher than with blanching.


How to Grow Vanilla Beans

If you are a home baker and would like to grow your vanilla as opposed to store-bought vanilla extract, why not try growing your supply of vanilla beans. The Vanilla bean plant is a vine that flowers and are related to the orchid family. It is a plant that is native to Mexico.

These are climbing plants that love humidity and bright, but indirect, sunlight. They need warm temperatures and generous watering. If you can guarantee the correct growing environment, you can grow your vanilla bean plant right at home.


Since the vanilla bean plant needs three to five years to flower, there is no sense in beginning from seeds.

  • Purchase a plant from a reputable nursery.
  • Transplant your plant to a more permanent container that is larger than the original pot. Fill this pot halfway with orchid potting mix. Place the plant in the pot and fill the rest of the pot with soil. If your plant is root bound, pull the roots gently free before placing them in the soil.

Vanilla Flower

  • As a climbing plant, it will need support. Place a stake in the pot next to the plant at its base. If you have purchased a larger plant, you can use more than one stake or a piece of lattice.
  • Water the plant and attempt to keep the top layer of soil moist, but do not soak the entire pot. Mist your plant every other day for humidity.
  • To guarantee that your plant blooms and consequentially produce vanilla pods, it will need bright light. Low light is not sufficient for the plant to produce the vanilla bean pods.
  • During the spring and summer, fertilize your plant every two weeks with orchid fertilizer.
  • The plant will also need to be pollinated. This can be done by hand by removing pollen from another flower with a toothpick and placing it on the stigma of the vanilla bean plant during the morning hours. The plant’s stigma has a shield. Push the shield gently back and apply the pollen to the column beneath. Put the shield back in its original position.
  • If you have succeeded in pollinating, pods should begin to form in a week. Nine months later, you will be able to harvest your vanilla beans.


How to Sprout Mung Beans

If you’d like to grow your bean sprouts at home for your salads and stir fry, nothing could be easier. To grow your mung bean sprouts, you have several options:

  • A sprouting basket or colander
  • Cheesecloth
  • Jar or closed pot
  1. Buy your Mung beans and remove any bad ones. Wash them thoroughly. Place them in a bowl and cover them with water. Close the bowl with a lid and let the beans soak during the night.
  2. The next day, strain the beans and rinse again with clean water. Place the beans in your cheesecloth or colander and place them in a bowl. Cover the bowl once more. They should be kept in the dark.
  3. In the evening, remove the mung beans in the cloth or colander and rinse again with clean water. Remove any excess water if you are using the cloth. Place back in the bowl and cover. The sprouts should already be visible.
  4. The next day rinse and repeat the procedure at least once and preferably morning and evening.
  5. On the third day, your sprouts can be harvested, or you can leave them for one more day should you prefer. In either case, rinse thoroughly!

Green bean seeds

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