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Growing Beans

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on November 15, 2010

There are lots of kinds of beans, but green beans are a good example of how to grow the whole family of beans.  There are bush beans, which are similar to little shrubs, and pole beans, which are like ivy and need poles for support.  You can grow both kinds or only one and get as many beans as you can eat in a year.

small bean plants

Planting: Beans are warm weather crops so you plant them after the danger of frost has passed.  In my area of Texas, that is around April 15th.  Tax day is better spent in the garden, anyway.  Follow the usual tilling practices to prepare a place for the seeds to grow.  For bush beans, plant them in rows about one inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart.  Rows should be around 3 feet apart.  When the beans sprout, thin to one every 3 to 4 inches in the rows.

Pole beans are planted in rows but are about 3 feet apart.  You hill up the soil and place a stake in the center.  Plant 3-4 seeds around the stake, about one inch deep.  The beans will naturally wrap around the stake as they grow.

Watering: As with all seeds, bean seeds need to be watered in and keep moist so they will germinate.  Do not make the soil soggy, just moist.  They will need to be watered frequently as they grow.  Drip irrigation works best.

Water one inch of water at a time.  That promotes root growth.  Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate and put out one set of true leaves.  After that, water two or three times a week.  Do not let your vegetables wilt from lack of water, but do not drown them, either.

Fertilizer: Use 2 to 3 pounds of 10-20-10 fertilizer per ten foot of row.  It is best to spread this before planting, then work it into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.  Once the plants begin to have beans, put an additional 1/2 cup per ten foot of row and leave it on the surface.  It should be placed between the rows, then watered in.

Harvesting: Pick beans when they are about the diameter of a pencil.  Pull or cut them off the vine carefully so you do not damage the plant.  Beans that are allowed to get too big get touch and stringy.  Beans will continue to produce as long as the beans are picked every day or so, as soon as the pods are big enough.  Beans will keep a week in the refrigerator, but are best when freshly picked.  Beans are also good canned or pickled.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Recycled gifts November 15, 2010 at 9:30 am

Excellent post. I had issues previously of over watering things, a lesson well and truly learnt!

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Eliza November 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

This is a nice post, I hope it helps people plan which seeds to get for their spring gardens. We had very good luck with our beans this year (especially with weirder ones like yardlong beans and hyacinth beans).
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Steve November 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Another post I just read got me to thinking that it’s an excellent idea to start growing my own produce at home. This is great information, but forgive me for my ignorance, do you think it would be fine to grow beans in pots and containers?

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Stephanie Suesan Smith November 15, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Most vegetables grow well in containers.

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DIY Store November 16, 2010 at 10:49 am

That’s a really comprehensive guide, which I have now passed to my mum as she is obsessed with growing her own! Thank you very much

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Stephanie Suesan Smith November 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Sign up for my mailing list and get an even more comprehensive guide to gardening from the ground up.

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Austin from Electrician November 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I agree, tax time in Texas is a lot better out in the garden! I start my beans and other plants inside and usually end up planting mid-March.

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