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Green beans refer to warm-season vegetable crops famous in several home gardens. You can find this plant being grown and cultivated in a lot of soils in Texas.
Similar to many vegetables, expect the green beans to grow well in areas with great drainage capability. The plant also needs to receive a lot of sunlight.
Quick Facts About the Green Beans
- Botanical Name: Phaseolus vulgaris
- Type of plant: Annual, vegetable
- Size: 2 to 3 feet wide / 2 to 15 feet tall (varies based on type)
- Sun exposure: Full sun
- Type of soil and pH level: Moist, loamy, and well-drained; acidic, preferably 6.0 to 6.2 pH level
- Hardiness zones: 2 to 11 USDA zones
- Bloom time: Summer, spring
- Native area: Central America, South America
- Toxicity: Toxic to people and pets
Short Description of Green Beans
Also known for its botanical name Phaseolus vulgaris, green beans can be defined as an annual, young and tender veggie. Many people also call it snap or string beans. Green beans grow with ease in a vegetable garden, allowing them to produce huge amounts of yield that you can easily care for and harvest.
Various kinds of delicious green beans can be grown and cultivated in containers and gardens. It is possible to group these varieties based on their edible parts (pods vs. seeds), based on their growth habit (bush beans vs. pole beans), and how you eat them (fresh pods vs. fresh bean seeds vs. dried seeds).
The usual green beans are a few inches long and are either flat or round in shape. The best time to plant green beans is usually around the spring season. Expect the flowers to come out around two months after you plant the beans. Also, note that while a lot of green beans are green, they also have red, purple, streaked, and yellow varieties.
Bush Beans Versus Pole Beans
Two of the most common categories or groups where green beans belong to are bush beans and pole beans. Let’s get to know more about the pole and bush groups or categories and their differences in this specific section.
The bush beans have compact growth, allowing them to reach around two feet tall. They do not also need additional support from a certain structure, such as a trellis. The good thing about bush beans is that they are easy and quick to grow.
If you sow the bush bean seeds during the late spring, expect the harvest season for the bush beans to start at around 7 to 8 weeks. It could also last for about 3 weeks. One more fact about bush beans is that they tend to need less maintenance compared to pole beans.
Bush beans also frequently come simultaneously, so consider starting the planting every couple of weeks to enjoy a continuous harvest.
As for the pole green beans, expect them to appear as climbing vines capable of reaching around 10 to 15 ft. tall. This makes the pole beans different from the bush beans as the pole beans need staking or trellis.
Also, compared to bush beans, pole beans are capable of yielding a higher number of beans for a longer period. Most pole beans are also disease-resistant. For the pole beans to grow, they need the vines. Expect the pole beans to produce for one month or so if you continue harvesting.
Green Bean Varieties
Aside from the mentioned groups categorized based on their growth habit, you can also find several green bean varieties that you can plant in your garden. Generally, every time you see the “green bean” label in a seed, take note that what it means is that it is a cultivar, which is recognized as the French bean or common bean.
Other green beans plant varieties and species you can grow in your garden are the following:
It is a type of bush bean that has 5-inch, dark green, and uniform pods. This species has the advantage of being disease-resistant. These beans grow up to 18-inch upright. Expect it to mature within 55 days.
Blue Lake Pole
This famous Pacific Northwest variety is capable of growing beans up to 7 ft. tall. This type of bean has pods that can grow up to 6 to 7 inches and are famous for canning. It is possible for the Blue Lake Pole to mature in 75 days.
This French bean features bright yellow pods that you can expect to give out their optimum flavor when they reach around 4 to 4 and 1/2 inches long. This popular type of bush beans is also productive and vigorous, capable of growing a max of 20 inches while boasting of its excellent disease-resistant capability. It can also mature within 60 days.
This type of bean is lilac-colored and boasts of its 20-inch bush bean growth capable of holding 5-inch pods. The Celine tends to mature in 55 days.
This is another type of bean featuring green pods that also have some purple flecks. You can enjoy the pods as snap beans while they are still young. You can also choose to pick them once they are ripe and shelled. Expect this plant to reach 24 to 30 inches and mature within 60 days.
This species is famous for being an heirloom pole bean, reaching around 6 to 8 ft. tall. This bean has flat and straight pods in silvery green that are around 6 to 8 inches long. The maturity of this species is usually within 70 days.
It refers to bush beans recognized as uniform and productive plants that also have tender pods in deep emerald green. These pods can reach the ideal growth of 6 and ½ inches. The entire green beans will also mature within 54 days.
General Planting Tips
As vegetables that thrive during the warm weather, it would be ideal for you to plant the green beans, whether the pole or the bush bean, after the last spring frost that has been anticipated. Avoid rushing the process of sowing the seeds since rotting may occur if you plant them at a time when the soil is wet and cold.
The goal should be to start seeding once the ground temperature is already 21 degrees C. One more thing to remember is that most bean varieties allow direct seeding in containers and garden beds. The reason is that they germinate and grow quickly plus you can’t expect them to respond well to transplantation.
It is also advisable to choose a planting site that can receive a minimum of 8-hour sun daily. Make sure that the soil you use is well-drained and moderately fertile. The best choice would be raised bed gardens but you can also grow your green beans in a pot or planter.
It is also important to note that the process of planting green beans may differ based on whether you use the bush bean or the pole bean types.
Planting Bush Beans
- Sow seeds around 1-inch deep. Ensure that there is enough space in between each seed and row. The plant seeds should be around 2 inches apart in rows that are also 18 to 24 inches apart.
- Thin to about 6 inches once the green bean plants start to grow well.
- Do succession planting every 2 to 3 weeks. It could also be until around 2 months before the anticipated first frost in the fall. Doing this should help support a long harvest season.
- If you are planning to use a container for planting your bush beans, the best choice would be a pot that has a diameter of at least 15 inches. Another alternative is a big window box that is around the same diameter.
Planting Pole Beans
If you decide to grow beans that fall under the pole beans variety, then note that they require a solid and stable structure as a means of supporting the heavy vines. In that case, you need to erect a sturdy teepee or trellis for the seeds first before planting them. Once you have set up the structures, you can follow these steps to start planting the pole beans:
- Sow seeds. Make sure that they are around 1-inch deep.
- If you are using a trellis, then they should be around 3-inch apart, thinning the space to 6 inches eventually.
- If you are using a teepee, make sure that the poles you use are 7 feet tall at the very least. Plant around 6 to 8 seeds surrounding the beans pole base.
It is also possible to grow the pole beans over a tunnel designed for it as it works in integrating a kind of vertical appeal to your garden. It makes it a great hang-out and bonding spot during the summer.
If you plan to use a container or pot for your pole beans, make sure to use one that has a diameter of at least 18 inches. Fill each pot with compost and a high-quality potting mix.
Growing Green Beans: How to Care for your Plants?
What’s so great about green beans is that you can easily care for them. Once you have already planted the beans, they only need light care and maintenance to thrive – among which are the following:
Green beans can survive in organically rich loamy soil with a pH that is slightly acidic, preferably around 6.0 soil pH level. Ensure that there is also proper drainage to support the healthy and good growth of the beans.
Before planting, get rid of all weeds. This should help in preventing any competition for moisture and nutrients. While the beans are already growing, weed the area surrounding the plants carefully as the roots are still shallow, making them prone to damage.
Also, note that green beans are capable of fixing their own nitrogen, which means that rich and normal soil is capable of producing quality plants without the need for any fertilizer. Note, though, that pole beans need supplemental compost midway throughout their growing season if they continue to produce crops.
Another important requirement when it comes to growing green beans is full sunlight, preferably 6 to 8 hours of full sun daily. With that said, ensure that this plant can easily access direct sunlight within the specified period.
Avoid too high temperatures, though, as it may only result in the blossoms falling from the plant. If the heat is too extreme, it would be best to use row covers as a means of giving the plants sufficient protection.
You also have to provide your green beans with sufficient water. Just make sure that you combine this with well-drained soil to ensure that the green beans won’t rot nor create mildew.
The plants specifically need around 2-inch of water weekly. Ensure that the water is directly applied to continue nourishing your plant.
To find out whether the green bean is already in need of water, stick one finger around an inch deep into the soil, close to the plant’s base. You need to water it if you notice that it is already dry.
In the case of supplemental watering, a drip irrigation system is advisable. This is so you can prevent soil from being splashed to the leaves, resulting in certain ailments.
Humidity and Temperature
Green beans tend to germinate well if you maintain an air temperature of around 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Soil temperature that’s under 60 degrees may cause the seeds to experience slow germination, making them prone to rotting.
It is also advisable to put the small seeds beneath grow lights to prevent them from becoming leggy. Also, keep in mind that green beans stop flowering when exposed to extreme summer heat but you can deal with that by keeping the plant well-watered.
By doing that, you can expect it to continue flowering during cool temperatures. Furthermore, green beans will most likely grow in every humidity condition provided you water them properly.
Since green beans are classified as legumes, they are capable of fixing nitrogen. That said, avoid using a fertilizer rich in nitrogen. The best fertilizer to use would be that with a 10-20-10 formula. This should help feed your plant as it grows.
If you are growing pole beans, then note that they tend to produce over a long time. With that, it would be much more beneficial to use compost’s side-dressing midway throughout its growing season.
Caring for your green bean plant also involves the application of mulch. Mulching is necessary as it aids in maintaining the warmth of the ground. The mulch is also what you need to prevent the roots from drying out.
With the shallow roots of the beans, you can also use mulching to retain their coolness. It is what will help in preserving its moisture.
Harvesting Green Beans
Your green bean plants will be ready for picking and harvesting once their sizes are similar to a tiny pencil. To harvest, pull them carefully, so you can lower the risk of you damaging the plants. Also, be extra careful when dealing with overmatured beans as they tend to be stringy and tough.
It is also advisable to harvest green beans in the morning, specifically at a time when the level of sugar is at the highest. Pick them while they are still tender and young prior to the full development of the seeds inside.
Another wise tip when harvesting green beans is to do it daily since more frequent picking of the beans can also translate to more growth. Choose sizable and firm beans that you can easily snap.
Cut off or snap beans from the plant, taking extra care to avoid tearing them. Ensure that you pick the beans at the right time as this can help in the continuous production for a few weeks.
When it comes to storing your freshly harvested green beans, note that you can use plastic bags, crisper, or any other container that you can put in your refrigerator. Store the beans in your fridge for around a week.
It would also be best to use an airtight and moisture-proof container that you can put inside the fridge. Note, though, that green beans tend to become tough over time if you do not store them properly.
Another important fact about green beans is that you can keep them fresh for around four days. Alternatively, you can blanche or freeze them right away after the harvesting process. You may also can or pickle beans.
Common Problems, Diseases, and Pests
While generally easy to grow, maintain, and care for, you should still remember that green beans are not immune to pests and diseases. There is still a chance for either the bush or the pole beans to experience some ailments and get infested by certain pests as you grow them.
This is a fungal disease, which becomes apparent if you notice your plant showing dark-colored spots. Stem anthracnose often develops when you grow your beans in a condition or environment that is overly wet.
To prevent this fungal disease, you should try to avoid overhead watering. It can help ensure that the dirt will stay away from the plant, thereby preventing the fungus from sticking to the green bean plant.
Several factors can cause this virus to penetrate the plant – among which are the use of herbicides, nutrient deficiencies, and some infections. One sign of this ailment is the presence of unusual colored splotches. Just like other ailments, discard any plant that contracted such a disease.
Powdery mildew appears as a white powdery film you can see in the plant. In most cases, the rain and wind can spread it. Beating or avoiding this problem is possible if you do not do overhead watering.
Make sure that you use high-quality green bean seeds once you start planting. The use of a fungicide may also be necessary if you notice that your plant already developed the disease.
Another fungal disease that may affect this plant is bean rust. It is characterized by rust-colored spots appearing in the plant.
It would be best for you to stop the development of bean rust before it even starts. This is possible if you rotate the crops. However, if the plant already has the disease, discarding them would be the only viable way to beat it.
Aphids refer to soft-bodied sucking insects carrying plant diseases. These insects tend to eat the leaves of plants while excreting honeydew along the process. This may further attract other insects as well as ants.
Examine the underside leaves for the presence of aphids. If they are present, you can control them easily by using a strong stream of water to knock off the aphids from the plants.
Thrips may also cause damage to the pods, leaves, and flowers of green beans. Note, though, that thrips are very small, so you may not be able to find them easily.
One way to protect your plants from these pests is to maintain your garden well. The reason is that thrips also tend to overwinter in plant debris and weeds.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do green beans need a trellis?
It depends on the variety. If what you are growing are the pole beans, then a trellis is necessary. You need this as a form of support as this type is recognized as a climbing vine capable of growing really tall.
How long do green beans take to grow?
This also varies on the species or variety you decided to grow. In most cases, though, the usual length it takes to grow the green beans is around 50 to 65 days.
What month do you plant green beans?
Just like other types of beans, green beans are classified as frost-sensitive. This means that it is advisable to plant them during the spring, specifically after the frost has passed. The usual month when the planting of green beans happens is in April.
It is also okay to plant these beans during the fall, around ten to twelve weeks prior to the expected first frost. This proves that green beans are easy to grow
What is the best way to grow green beans?
To grow green beans, the best soil for it would be a compost mix that has some leaf mold added or integrated into it. Choose a nice and loose one that does not have plenty of clay so you can avoid issues with drainage and clumping.
You may also want to use good potting soil to grow green beans in a container. To succeed when growing this plant in a pot, ensure that your choice is well-draining while also being open for excellent air circulation.
Planting and growing green beans in your vegetable garden is definitely a rewarding experience. It assures you that you will always have a ready supply of this easy-to-grow and tasty veggie that can provide you and your family with a high level of nutrition.