Green beans are one of the top delights of a vegetable garden. Freshly picked off the vine, their taste is crisp, crunchy, and filled with flavor. Green and yellow beans are easy to grow and need minimal care, making them an ideal choice for beginner gardeners. Both bush and pole beans grow readily in the garden and containers. They just need lots of sun and water, and they'll produce abundant harvests.
Pole Beans Or Bush Beans, Which Do I Plant?
Pole beans produce long vines that must be trellised or trained to go up fencing and supports. They mature over a period of 6-8 weeks, and you'll need to harvest regularly to keep the vines producing.
Bush beans are compact 2-foot tall plants that don't need a lot of support. This type produces all of its pods at one, so you need to do big harvests 2-3 times before the plants slow down. Once they start producing beans, they will do so prolifically for 2-3 weeks. Bush beans mature faster than pole beans, too.
Both bush and pole beans grow well in containers, although pole beans are a better option for this type of gardening. The one that is best for your garden depends on your space, taste, and harvesting preference.
How To Grow Beans Step By Step
- Sow seeds outside in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. Some people start them indoors, but it isn't necessary as they are fast growers.
- Plant the seeds in full sun, 1" deep and spaced according to the seed packet recommendations. Spacing varies greatly between pole and bush beans and their varieties.
- Water the soil thoroughly and keep it well-watered. Beans do not do well in drought or overly dry conditions. They need approximately 1-1.5 inches of water per week.
- If you've planted pole beans, set up the trellis before planting or soon afterward. Doing it later may disturb the shallow root systems of the bean plants. Make sure you check how tall the pole beans grow and provide an adequate trellis system. As the bean plant grows, train the tendrils to go up the trellis. Here are some excellent trellis ideas. You can also plant pole beans at the base of corn, where they'll use the corn stalks as a natural trellis.
- Weed regularly, so the beans don't have to fight for nutrients and water from the soil. Instead of pulling up weeds, cut them with scissors at soil level. Beans have extremely shallow roots, and you might accidentally take up the plant with the weed.
- Keep a close eye out for the Mexican Bean Beetle and aphids. The bean beetles are incredibly destructive and will eat all, and I mean all, the foliage off your plants. They're easy to spot, though, as the eggs are bright yellow and laid out in rows on the underside of bean leaves. Do regular inspections of your plants to catch this problem early.
- Bush beans are generally ready for harvest in 50-60 days, while pole beans take 60-90 days. Pick both types when they are young and tender before their seeds begin to bulge inside. When beans are left on the vine too long, they become tough and less flavorful.
- Use scissors to snip the beans off; don't yank them. Yanking the beans off the plant usually pulls the plant right up out of the ground.
- Harvest every day or every other day in peak season to encourage the beans to grow more.
The Best Pole Beans
- Kentucky Blue - A prolific producer of long, green ,stringless beans. The perfect bean for eating fresh.
- Blue Lake - This variety gives huge harvests of crisp, green stringless beans. They are perfect for pickling!
Spectacular Bush Beans
- Tendergreen - An early-producing heirloom variety, this bush produces abundant harvests of tender green stringless beans.
- Golden Wax - This popular, classic bush bean grows long, straight yellow beans.
- Dragon Langerie - A stunning long yellow bean with deep crimson stripes. This pole bean is a Dutch heirloom and the pods are flat, brilliantly colored, crisp, and delicious.
- Royal Burgundy - As the name suggests, this bean royalty. The pods are deep purple while the inside flesh remains bright green. Stunning in salads.