How to Grow Beans: Everything You Need to Know

How to Grow Beans

Beans are one of the easiest and most rewarding garden vegetables to grow and are great for plots, both big and small. Most beans will need a structure to climb, or a trellis, while a few varieties, like the Bush Bean, will grow without one. Pole beans require vertical space to climb and climb up to three meters or more if allowed. Other varieties, like the Bush Bean, grow on small shrub-like plants that stay closer to the soil and do not trail or climb but instead stay fairly compact and low.

When to Sow

Growing beans from seed are easy and fun. You can plant your beans directly into the soil outside on the last day of frost or any day after, and they will quickly germinate, showing small leaves in as little as 2-3 weeks.

Soil Type

Beans enjoy a soil mixture that drains well but also contains organic matter. Loamy soils, or soils that have compost mixed in, are perfect for your beans to grow because they allow them to feed off the nutrients stored within. If your soil drains too fast or is too sandy, add some compost to the soil to retain more moisture. Similarly, if the soil is too dense and muddy, mix in more loamy soil or potting soil to drain quicker and allow for better aeration.

Spacing for Bush Beans and Pole Beans

Once you have prepared your soil and the frost has passed, you can plant your beans. All types of beans can be spaced the same distance apart.

  • Bush Beans: Space 3 inches apart and in rows 18-24 inches apart.
  • Pole Beans: Requires a trellis to grow vertically. Space 3 inches apart and in rows 18-24 inches apart.

Trellis for Pole Beans

It is important to have the right structures in place for your beans to climb if they need to. Overhead runners or trellises are the best and easiest structures to erect and should be ready before sowing so that your plants have something to train on as soon as they are ready. Once your beans are planted, make sure to water them thoroughly and keep an eye on them to ensure that they do not dry out. Once they have germinated and are showing leaves, make sure to water them regularly when needed.

Maintenance and Fertilizer

Bean plants can benefit from occasional fertilization but do not require it. If you choose to fertilize, select a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5-10-10 or something similar to that. Most vegetable fertilizers are safe to use on beans, but make sure to not over-fertilize.

Companion Planting for Beans

To encourage growth and healthy bean plants, companion planting is also another option. Planting beans close to Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Peas, Radishes, and Tomatoes helps to encourage growth and offers protection from some common diseases and insects that can affect your bean plants.

Harvesting Beans

When it is time to harvest, you want to look for bean pods that are firm and fleshy looking and pick them gently from the plant to ensure that the plant is left intact to produce more pods. The pods are picked before they have matured so that the beans inside are still fleshy and soft. Once harvested, the bean pods can be stored fresh for 4-5 days in an airtight container or canned or preserved for year-round enjoyment.

Try our Bean Varieties

Interested in growing beans at home? You can find our seeds at the links below.

Bush Beans

Pole Beans

  • Blue Lake Pole Beans: Prolific producer of tasty 5-7″ long beans.  It tastes great cooked or fresh. This variety will keep producing so long as you keep the vines picked.

We’d Love to Hear from You.

Have any questions or tips on growing beans? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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