7 tips for choosing, growing and harvesting beans

June 30, 2015

Beans are not only delicious, they also boost soil nitrogen—an element essential for plant growth. Here are a few tips on growing beans in your vegetable garden.

7 tips for choosing, growing and harvesting beans

1. Choose short or tall snap beans

Choose short or tall snap beans.

  • Bush-type snap beans yield their bounty for a shorter time than pole beans—usually for about three weeks in the summer. Because of their shorter maturation time—about 55 days, or almost two weeks earlier than pole beans—it's a good idea to plant them successively so you'll have a constant supply of beans throughout the summer.
  • Pole beans usually start producing after 65 days and then continue to provide fresh beans for up to 12 weeks.You have to plant them only once.

2. Beans like it hot

Sow bean seeds only when the soil is very warm.

  • Try this toe-tingling test: If you can walk barefoot in the soil without feeling the cold, it's ready.
  • Don't bother to start beans ahead of schedule indoors.
  • Plant seeds directly in the garden three weeks after the last frost, planting them five centimetres (two inches) and 15 centimetres (six inches) apart.
  • Install a trellis as you plant pole beans.

3. The secret of long snap bean production

Keep 'em picked!

  • If you take their pods away, beans feel obliged to make more flowers—and thus more beans.
  • Pole beans should be harvested every two days, and bush beans should be picked twice a week.
  • Leave shell types like 'Great Northern' and pinto beans on the plant until the foliage begins to wither. Then harvest whole plants and hang them upside down in a warm place.

4. Keep the leaves dry

Instead of wielding a hose or watering can when watering beans, place a soaker hose between the rows—or simply poke more holes in an already leaky hose.

  • Never pick snap beans that are wet from dew or rain.
  • Jostling a wet plant can spread the spores that cause one of the many fungal and bacterial diseases that attack most types of beans.

5. When to pick shell beans

  • Pick shell beans when the pods are plump and tightly closed, looking as if the beans inside are ready to burst out.

Shelled, fresh limas should be bright green, favas light grey-green, and soybeans yellow-green; cranberry beans should have bright red markings.

6. Grow a bean tepee for the kids

Train your pole beans on a tripod constructed from three metre bamboo poles tied at the top with cord.

7. Trellis pole beans the easy way

  • Make a string trellis by attaching strings to wood spikes just outside the planted row and looping them over a cross pole held up by posts at the ends of the row.

When the season is done, you can simply snip the strings to take down the trellis.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu