Here’s how to grow green best in your backyard garden! From snap beans to string beans, we enjoy growing all types of beans. Learn our tips and tricks to help you have a super productive green bean harvest!
How to Grow Green Beans
- How to Grow Green Beans
- Choose Which Type of Green Beans to Grow
- When to Plant Green Beans Outside
- How to Take Care of Green Beans Throughout the Growing Season
- How Long Does it Take Green Beans To Grow
- When to Harvest Green Beans
- How to Harvest Green Beans
- How to Store Fresh Green Beans from the Garden
- Our Favorite Recipes Using Green Beans
The first step in growing this delicious vegetable is to decide how and where you want to plant the beans. Green beans like a sunny spot and well-draining soil. They need at least six hours of sunlight per day, so don’t choose a shady area.
Beans like a slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.5. Soil that is too acidic or alkaline can affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, which can result in stunted growth and poor yields. Make sure to test your soil so you know if you need to change the pH.
We like this 3-1 Soil Tester you can get on Amazon.
There are a few ways you can grow green beans, including planting them directly in the ground, growing them in raised beds, or growing them in containers.
Here are some of the pros and cons of each type of growing method.
Planting green beans from seed directly in the ground
I grow my green beans both in the ground and also in raised beds in my own garden and there are advantages and disadvantages to both growing methods.
Planting directly in the ground can be more cost-effective than building raised beds, especially if you already have good soil.
If you have a lot of space in your garden, planting directly in the ground can allow you to plant more green beans and potentially increase your overall harvest.
Planting in the ground allows for more natural water retention in the soil, which can be helpful in hot and dry climates.
If you have heavy or poorly drained soil, planting directly in the ground may not be the best option. Additionally, planting green beans in the ground can make it more difficult to control soil quality and nutrient levels.
Growing green beans from seed in a raised bed
It’s easier to have better soil control when you grow vegetables in raised beds. You can add compost and other organic matter to improve soil fertility, drainage, and aeration.
Since raised beds are typically raised 6-12 inches off the ground, growing green beans in this way can be easier on your back. Planting, weeding, and especially harvesting green beans takes a toll on your back after a while!
Raised beds can provide better drainage than planting directly in the ground, which can be helpful if you have heavy or poorly drained soil.
However, growing in a raised bed can require more maintenance. Because raised beds are usually filled with a mixture of soil and compost, they require more frequent watering and fertilizing than planting in the ground. They can also be more prone to drying out quickly in hot weather. So make sure you have a watering plan in place.
How to grow green beans in a pot
You can also grow green beans in large containers, but you have to choose your container carefully. Green beans need a container that is at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide to allow for proper root growth. It also needs drainage holes to prevent water from pooling and causing root rot. Large grow bags can work quite well for growing green beans in a pot.
Some green bean varieties are better suited for container gardening than others. Look for bush varieties, as they don’t need as much vertical space as pole varieties.
Remember, green beans need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, so make sure your container is in a location that receives plenty of sunlight.
Container-grown plants tend to dry out more quickly than plants grown in the ground, so make sure to water your green beans regularly. Remember, green beans like well-drained soil, so keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
Container-grown plants also need regular fertilization to thrive. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer according to the package directions.
Related reading: How to Make Watering Your Garden More Eco-Friendly
Choose Which Type of Green Beans to Grow
Once you’ve decided where to grow your beans, you need to deicde which type of beans to grow.
There are two types of green beans: bush beans and pole beans. Here’s what you need to know about both of these types of beans when you’re trying to decide what to grow in your home vegetable garden.
What are Bush Beans?
Compact and self-supportive bush beans are more manageable if you’re looking for a large harvest at once. Bush beans are ‘determinate’ since they will produce and set fruit all at once. You can continue encouraging fruit by picking it early and not allowing it to mature.
Bush types of beans are well-suited for small gardens or container gardens, but I like to grow them in the ground in my large garden as well. They’re a good choice if want a large harvest over a short period of time.
Some popular varieties of bush beans include:
Blue Lake bush beans are a classic variety that are known for their tender texture and excellent flavor. They produce long, straight green beans with pods that are about 5-6 inches in length. They are resistant to bean common mosaic virus and have a relatively long growing season.
Contender bush beans are another popular variety that produces a high yield of tender, meaty pods. They have a compact, upright growth habit and are resistant to many common bean diseases. They produce pods that are about 5-6 inches in length.
Provider Bush is a classic bush bean that produces an abundant early harvest of beans that are 4-5 inches in length. They are resistant to many common bean diseases, including powdery mildew and bean common mosaic virus. The pods are tender and have a sweet, mild flavor. Provider Bush beans are a great choice for fresh eating or for use in canning or freezing.
Tendergreen bush beans are a popular variety that produces a heavy yield of sweet, tender pods. They are a good choice for gardeners who want to can or freeze their beans. They produce round, straight pods that are about 5-6 inches in length.
Maxibel beans are bush filet beans, great if you love making French beans like Haricot Vert. They produce very straight, dark green, 7 inch pods on 22–26 inch tall sturdy bushes.
What are Pole Beans?
Pole beans are tall, climbing plants that can grow up to 10 feet high. They require a trellis, fence, or other support to climb on. Pole beans produce beans continuously throughout the growing season, making them a good choice if you prefer a continuous harvest of fresh green beans over a longer period of time.
Many pole beans are also dual-purpose and can be left on the vine to completely dry out to become dried beans for easy storage. A lot of people prefer growing pole beans because they think they stay cleaner since they grow up high out of the dirt.
Kentucky Wonder is a pole bean that has been a popular heirloom variety since the late 1800s. It produces long, slender pods that are about 7-8 inches in length. The pods are tender and have a rich, meaty flavor. Kentucky Wonder is a great choice for canning, freezing, or drying.
Dragon Tongue is a bush bean that produces beautiful yellow and purple striped pods. The pods are tender and have a slightly sweet flavor. Dragon Tongue beans are excellent for eating fresh or for use in salads.
Rattlesnake is a pole bean that produces long, green pods with purple streaks. The pods are tender and have a slightly sweet flavor. Rattlesnake beans are a great choice for fresh eating or for use in stir-fries.
Cherokee Trail of Tears is a pole bean that was originally grown by the Cherokee people in the southern United States. It produces long, dark pods that turn purple when cooked. The pods have a rich, nutty flavor and are excellent for use in soups or stews.
When to Plant Green Beans Outside
Green beans love warm weather and full sun. You should plant green bean seeds directly in the soil after the danger of frost has past. Additionally, it’s helpful if the soil temperature is in the 60* and air temperatures are consistently in the 70s.
You can grow earlier or in cooler weather use row covers and a frost blanket at night to hold in warmer temperatures. Raised beds will help with drainage and warming the soil to plant your green beans seeds sooner.
Do you know your last frost date? If not, look it up at this handy frost calculator.
How to Plant Bush Beans
Bush beans will benefit from being planted back to back in a double row. They don’t have to be trellised, but it can help and this planting method is one way to get around using trellises.
To plant bush beans, sow the seed 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows that are spaced 18-inch apart. If using the square-foot gardening method, plant them 4 per square foot.
How to Plant Pole Beans
Pole Beans must be trellised, so install your support system before planting your seed. Installing it first will allow better contact with the trellis, and you will not damage the roots when installing posts later.
When planting your pole beans, plant the seeds 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. If using the square-foot gardening method, plant 8 per square.
Leave space where you can walk through daily and move tendrils out of the walkway and onto the trellis system. Leaving a path through will help you find and pick each bean pod.
How to Take Care of Green Beans Throughout the Growing Season
Watering Requirements for Green Beans
Green beans need consistent moisture to grow and produce well. Water your plants deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather and soil conditions. Make sure the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering, as this can promote disease, instead water as closely as possible to the base of the plant.
Mulch Your Green Beans
Using mulch is one of the best things you can do in your garden. Mulching around your green bean plants can help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the soil temperature consistent. Use a layer of organic mulch, such as straw, grass clippings, or leaves, about 2-3 inches thick.
The Best Fertilizers for Green Beans
Green beans are not heavy feeders and do not require a lot of fertilizer. However, they do benefit from a well-balanced fertilizer that provides adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
It’s important to use organic fertilizers in moderation and follow the application instructions on the package. Over-fertilizing can lead to nutrient imbalances, plant stress, and even damage.
It’s also a good idea to test your soil from time to time to ensure that your plants are getting the nutrients they need. That said, there are several types of organic fertilizers we recommend for growing cucumbers. Here are some of our favorite types of organic fertilizers for green beans:
Compost is a nutrient-rich organic matter that can be added to the soil to improve soil structure and fertility. Green bean plants benefit from compost as it provides a slow release of nutrients and helps retain moisture in the soil.
The really great thing about compost is that you can make it yourself. That means it’s free! It also helps reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.
Worm castings are a rich source of organic matter and nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They also contain beneficial microorganisms that can help improve soil health and plant growth.
If you have a worm composting system, worm castings are another type of free organic fertilizer for your garden!
Learn how to start worm composting here.
Fish emulsion is a liquid fertilizer made from fish byproducts that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace minerals. It is a quick-release fertilizer that is easily absorbed by plants. Mix fish emulsion with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to your green beans every two to four weeks throughout the growing season.
Blood meal is a fast-acting organic fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. It can be used to give green beans plants a quick boost of nutrients during the growing season. Use blood meal sparingly, as too much can burn your green bean plants. Mix blood meal into the soil before planting or use it as a side dressing throughout the growing season.
Good Companion Plants for Green Beans And What to Avoid
Because beans fix their own nitrogen in the soil, they are great companion plants for a lot of vegetables. There are also quite a few plants that will benefit the beans. Here are a few of our favorite companion plants for beans.
Carrots and green beans make great companions, as they help each other grow by providing shade and moisture to the soil. Plus, carrots can help deter bean beetles and other pests.
Radishes can help break up compacted soil and improve soil aeration for green beans. They also help deter bean beetles and other pests.
Growing green beans with corn is a classic companion planting combination used by the Native Americans. If you’ve heard of the Three Sisters growing method, you know what I’m talking about. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which benefits the corn, while the tall corn stalks provide support for the beans to climb. Three Sisters gardens are a lot of fun to grow so learn how in this post.
Marigolds are known to repel pests such as bean beetles and aphids, making them great companions for green beans.
There are also a few plants you will want to avoid planting near beans.
Common Bean Pests & How to Protect Against Them
Pests can make growing a garden difficult but with some preventative measures and treatments, you’ll have a successful harvest.
Mexican Bean Beetle
Spraying with neem oil will deal with an infestation, but if Mexican Bean Beetles are an issue, interplant potatoes amongst your green beans. The green beans will help the potatoes by repelling Colorado Potato Beetles, and the Potatoes will repel the Mexican Bean Beetle.
Leafhopper damage shows up as brown or yellowing leaf tips. They suck the sap, draining the nutrients of the plant. You can treat by spraying with neem oil, insecticidal soap, or soapy water. I also like to set out yellow sticky traps to catch them.
Aphids, like leafhoppers, suck the green bean sap and cause Mosaic Virus, killing the green bean plants. If you notice aphids, apply foliar and spray them with soapy water. Be sure to get the stems and undersides of the leaves.
Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails leave large, irregularly shaped holes on leaves. They leave behind a shiny mucus trail you can see, but you probably will not see them during the day.
Sprinkling coffee grounds, eggshells, wood ash, or diatomaceous earth on the soil around the stem can help prevent and kill snails and slugs. You can also bury a saucer or cup with beer for the slugs to drown in.
The best way to eliminate them is to pick them up at night. While gross, wearing a glove helps with the ick factor. Just pick and drop them into soapy water.
How to Protect Against Plant Diseases
There are a few bacterial and fungal diseases that can attack green beans. The best way to prevent problems is to look up resistant varieties, water at the ground level (avoid overhead watering), and mulch your soil to prevent the ground from splashing onto leaves and fruit during rain or watering.
Humid conditions cause bacterial blight. You’ll know your plants have blight if you see brown or black spots, then leaves dropping, followed by the green bean plant dying. Remove any plant with damaged leaves, and you may want to work through your beans, thinning out the leaves and even plants. Next year you should double your spacing to allow for better air circulation.
Mosaic Virus is a death sentence. You will notice your plants are infected by downward cupping and mottling. There is no treatment, and if you discover it, you will want to remove and burn the plant.
Do not add the diseased plants to your compost pile or feed them to your animals. The easiest way to avoid it is to choose a naturally resistant seed.
If you smoke cigarettes, you will want to not smoke in the garden, and you will want to wash your hands before gardening and after smoking due to the many viruses found in tobacco.
This fungal disease can cause a powdery white coating on leaves and reduce yields. You can prevent it by providing good air circulation and avoiding overhead watering. If you notice any mold on your green bean plants, cut the damage away and foliar spray your green beans with milky water in a 1 to 10 ratio. Be sure to spray all of your beans.
How Long Does it Take Green Beans To Grow
Bush beans take 50-65 days to produce a harvest, while pole beans take 60-75 days to make a crop.
Many varieties of pole beans are also dual-purpose, meaning they can be harvested as green beans when they are young and tender, or left on the vine to mature and dry for use as dry beans.
If you want to let your green pole beans dry, you’ll need to leave them on the vine until the pods turn yellow or brown and feel dry and papery to the touch. You can then harvest the pods and shell out the dry beans inside.
It’s important to note that when you let green pole beans dry, the flavor and texture of the beans will be different from when they are harvested as young, tender green beans. Dry beans have a nutty, earthy flavor and a chewy texture, and they are a great source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
If you do decide to let your green pole beans dry, be sure to allow them to fully dry on the vine before harvesting to ensure the best quality beans.
When to Harvest Green Beans
Start checking your green bean plants for pods once they reach maturity, which is usually around 50-60 days after planting for bush beans and 60-70 days for pole beans. Look for pods that are about the size of a pencil and have a smooth, firm texture.
Make sure to harvest green beans regularly to encourage the plant to continue producing new pods. Pick the bean pods every 2-3 days to ensure that they don’t become too mature and tough.
Also, it’s a good idea to pick green beans in the morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler as this can help prevent moisture loss and wilting of the beans. Additionally, cooler temperatures can help preserve the flavor and quality of the beans.
How to Harvest Green Beans
It’s easy to harvest green beans, but if you grow a lot of them it can be very tiring on your back. For best results, hold the stem of the pod with one hand and gently pull the pod off the plant with the other hand. Be careful not to damage the plant or the other pods on the plant. If the pod is difficult to remove, it may be too mature and tough.
How to Store Fresh Green Beans from the Garden
After harvesting, store the green beans in the refrigerator or use them immediately. If you have more beans than you can use, consider blanching and freezing them for later use. To store in the fridge, place the dry beans in a plastic bag, and seal it tightly. You can also wrap the beans in a paper towel before placing them in the plastic bag to help keep them fresh for longer.
Place the bag of beans in your crisper drawer or in a cold spot in the refrigerator. Green beans will stay fresh for up to 5-7 days when stored in the refrigerator.
It’s important to note that green beans are sensitive to moisture and ethylene gas, which can cause them to spoil quickly. Therefore, it’s best not to wash green beans prior to placing them in the fridge. Also, store green beans separately from fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, such as apples, bananas, and tomatoes.