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.
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.
For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from Amazon.com or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!