How to Grow Green Beans

Green beans are a staple in most households. Because they are so easy to prepare, they are considered a go-to side dish. Canned green beans lose most of their nutrition, but fresh green beans can be expensive per pound.

Learning how to grow green beans, however, makes fresh bush or pole beans very affordable.

Green beans are most nutritious when they are young. It is during this time that they are full of nutrients that our bodies need. These vitamins and other tidbits of nutrition include being rich in vitamin C, folate, and fiber.

Green beans are also a great source of silicon needed for healthy skin, hair, and bones.

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What are the Types of Green Beans?

Unlike most vegetables, green beans have two types of plants; bush beans and pole beans. While they produce the same kind of vegetable, the two grow differently and have slight differences in the care they require.

Pole Beans

Pole beans are grown vertically. They need a plant trellis, plant tepee, or another form of support to grow. Once pole bean seeds germinate, they are typically ready for harvest in around eleven weeks.

Blue Lake Pole Bean Seeds, 50 Heirloom Seeds Per Packet, Non GMO Seeds

Blue Lake Pole Bean Seeds

Unlike bush beans, pole beans will typically provide a more extended harvest season, lasting up to eight weeks.

Bush Beans

Bush beans grow fast and cap between 12-24” in size. From the time the seeds germinate to harvest is usually around eight weeks.

Blue Lake Bush Green Bean Seeds, 50 Heirloom Seeds Per Packet, Non GMO Seeds

Blue Lake Bush Green Bean Seeds

And unlike pole beans, they do not typically need much support as they grow in a large bush rather than a vertical pole.

Harvest seasons for bush beans are considerably shorter than for pole beans lasting only around three weeks.

Where Do Green Beans Grow Best?

Green beans grow best in warmer climates. If you are in a cooler environment, you will want to check the USDA Plant Hardiness Map to ensure they will successfully grow in your area.

They do not do well in cold, wet soil, so no matter where you are, you will want to wait until you are sure the last frost of the year has passed before putting them in the ground.

The best way to gauge if your green beans are ready to be planted is to check the soil temperature. Green beans tend to grow best at soil temperatures of at least 70°F. If you wait for this to happen, you will be sure the soil is warm enough to avoid seeds that fail to germinate.

How to Plant Green Beans

Unlike most seeds, green beans should be planted directly in the ground instead of being started indoors and transplanted. They are one of the few vegetables that do not take well to be transplanted. Since green bean seeds germinate so quickly, there is no need to start indoors.

When you plant bush beans, plant each seed approximately 1” deep, leaving 2-3” between each seed. There should also be roughly 18-24” between each row of green beans to allow them plenty of room to spread out.

As they begin to germinate, thin the seeds out, leaving only the most robust plants. For bush beans, opt more for the 24” option since they will grow outward more so than pole beans.

Green bean plantings can be staggered every 2-3 weeks to provide an extra-long harvest. Stop planting around two months before the first frost is expected.

To plant pole beans, have your support ready to go and fully installed before you plant. Doing so will ensure your plants have the support they need as they grow. Plant pole beans 1” deep and 3” apart. As the seeds begin to germinate, thin them out until you are at a distance of 6” apart.

Green beans need lots of sun and moderately well-draining soil. If the soil nutrition is not great, that is okay. One great thing about planting green beans is that they can actually improve the ground they are planted in! Green bean plants often do not even need fertilization until they are growing leaves and pods!

Green beans are at risk for fungal diseases and damage from slugs or Mexican beetles. To prevent these, do not overwater and check your plants every few days for these insects.

While overwatering can be a concern, they need to be watered consistently, especially when there has been little to no rain. They do best when watered in the early mornings, so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall. To help keep their moisture levels consistent and help prevent weeds, use mulch or straw around the plant base.

When Are Green Beans Ready to Harvest

Green bean pods can be harvested anytime. However, they are most commonly harvested when they are 4-6” in length. Due to the nature of the green bean plant, they will continue to form new pods even after prior pods have been harvested.

As mentioned earlier, for pole beans, this can continue for up to 8 weeks and bush beans for up to 3 weeks. However, if you notice pods that are over mature, remove them immediately. Leaving them on the plant will cause your harvest to slow or stop altogether.

Green Beans: Quick Care Guide

Common NameGreen Beans, French bean, haricot, string bean
Botanical NamePhaseolus vulgaris
Germination Time8 to 10 days
Sun ExposureFull sun
WaterAbout 1 inch per week
Temperature70 to 90 degrees
Soil TypeWell-draining soil
Soil pH
FertilizerDoes not need

And for more information about vegetables for your garden, learn more right here: