Green beans are easy to grow, whether you plant bush beans or pole beans. By staggering the planting times, you can harvest beans into early autumn. This article tells you how to select, plant, maintain and harvest green beans.
Beans at a glance
As with other types of beans, green beans are an annual vegetable that is directly sown into the garden in spring when the soil has warmed (with the exception of broad beans, which require cooler temperatures). Beans need full sun and well-drained soil mixed with moderate amounts of compost. Beans are available in a wide range of sizes, colours and tastes.
Green beans are especially popular among home gardeners because they are a short-season crop that grows nearly everywhere. Green beans are grown for the pod, which can be round or flat. Most varieties mature in 75 to 85 days.
There are two types of bean plants. Bush-types are self-supporting and grow 45 to 60cm tall. Pole-types have vines that need poles or a trellis for support. Pole beans bear over a longer period of time than bush beans. They also yield about three times as much as bush beans. As they are grown vertically, they require less space than bush beans, and when it comes to picking they are easy on the back.
Because beans enrich the soil by adding nitrogen, you should grow beans in a different location in your garden every year to distribute that benefit evenly. As a member of the bean family, beans should not be grown where alfalfa, other beans, including edamame beans and broad beans, or peas were grown the year before.