We love to grow green beans! They’re are a staple in our garden and our pantry. They are easy to grow, harvest, and preserve. Can’t beat that!
I love having my pantry shelves lined with foods that we’ve grown and canned. It’s just so rewarding to feed my family a meal that we’ve been a part of from the small seed all the way to the plate.
Green beans also happen to be on my easy to grow vegetables list (like yellow squash and cucumbers). Aside from bean beetles (which can be controlled naturally), we haven’t had a lot of trouble out of beans.
They’re very prolific so we can get a large harvest out of a small space. 10-15 plants per household member is a good goal. I always shoot a little higher, the more plants, the merrier!
We’ve grown both bush and pole versions of green beans. Bush beans produce a larger harvest but take up a lot of space whereas pole beans are grown vertically so you can pack a ton in a small area.
We also prefer the stringless varieties. It is just easier to snap them without having to string them as well. I don’t know about you but stringing beans is just not my idea of fun!
We have several varieties that we like to grow which include Antigua, Blue Lake, Provider, Kentucky Wonder, Rattlesnake, and our favorite, Dragon Tongue.
You can purchase some of these varieties and any heirloom seeds you need for your garden from our friends at Seeds for Generations. Bonus: You’ll be supporting a family owned small business!
We’ve grown green beans in raised square foot garden beds and in rows in the ground. They worked great both ways. In a raised bed, you can grow them with the square foot gardening method for a higher yield.
You will also not have to bend over as much to harvest and work the bed. In rows on the ground, you can work around each plant and inspect them for pests easily.
We choose an heirloom variety so that we can save seeds for the next year. To do this, we choose the healthiest looking plants and allow the bean pods to stay on them until they dry out.
Once they dry, we remove the seeds and let them air dry until we are sure all of the moisture is removed. This ensures that they’ll be ready for storing until the next year and won’t rot.
Easy to Grow Green Beans
How to Grow Them
Soil: Green beans do well in soil around 6.0-7.0 PH which is fairly neutral. You can have your soil tested to see where your PH level is. Once you know, you can use natural additives to adjust as needed.
Preparing your beds with rich organic compost is always a great idea. I suggest that you continually feed your soil with composted manure, broken down wood chips, and very composted leaves every year.
Adding worms to your soil also helps with the organic environment.
When and How to Sow: Green beans seeds can be planted anytime after the last spring frost as long as the soil temperature is above 48° F. Plant seeds 1″ deep and 6″-10″ apart for pole beans or 3″-4″ apart for bush beans. Rows should be 2′ or more apart.
For square foot gardening, 9 seeds per square foot can be planted (that’s 135 bean plants for a 3’x5′ bed!).
One of the great things about green beans is that they grow relatively fast. You can expect to start harvesting in 50-65 days from planting. Beans should be harvested when they are around 1/8″-1/4″ in diameter.
The plants will continue to set beans after each picking well into the season.
Mulch: Once they beans set true leaves, we like to mulch them to help with water retention, pest control, weed control, and soil temperature. Aged wood chips, old hay (but not moldy), and straw are good options for mulching.
Water: When you sow your seeds, you’ll want to water them lightly. As they grow and set flowers, increase to moderate watering. Once they are maturing and you’re harvesting, you will want to water heavily.
Remember yo water at the base of the plants and not over head. This will help prevent the foliage from getting wet which encourages disease and fungus. This is best practice for most plants in the garden, not just beans.
Support: When you plant your green bean seeds, you need to know how they will grow and if they’ll need support. You can choose between pole beans and bush beans.
Pole bean vines can get as long as 10-15 feet so they need a pole or a trellis to climb as they grow.
We’ve used sticks and cattle panels arched for growing pole beans. Both methods worked well for us. Bush beans will grow to around 2 feet tall and do not need any support.
They will just get bushy and can easily be worked without any special supports at all.
Plant in Succession
For continued harvest throughout the entire season, green beans can be planted every 2 weeks in secession. You will end up with quite the bumper crop of beans!
Green beans really are easy to grow and preserve. They can be frozen, pickled, freeze dried, or canned. We prefer to can our green beans and line our pantry shelves with those beautiful jars full. Green Beans are one of my top favorite foods to preserve!
What is your favorite type of bean to grow?
You can purchase green bean seeds here:
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Jim Allen says
Thanks for the article. Beans are one of my favorite things to grow, since they grow quickly. I’m in an area with a shorter growing season, so this helps. In addition to regular green beans, I like dragon tongue beans for something different.
I’ve heard a lot about the Dragon Tongue beans. I may give them a try.
Great article! My family eats a ton of green beans. Normally we just plant the typical green bush types but this year we are trying out the dragon tongues just for something fun and different.
I want to try those too. Maybe next year. 🙂
Hello, I’ve never had any luck with green beans.. I’m doing a 3 sisters circle this year hoping. My Grandma always made it look easy.. I have high alkaline soil so I have Raised beds now.. any suggestions, planted too soon, not enough water, too much water?? What’s the secret??
Green beans prefer neutral or near neutral ph. I’d try a soil additive to help balance the ph. Good luck! 🙂
I haven’t had much luck with beans. I tried growing corn, zucchini, and beans together like I read somewhere but I think the zucchini might have shaded the geans too much. It was cool to see the beans climb up the corn stocks, the few that I got. I am going to try to make a bean teepee for my grandchildren. I am also going to try bush beans. Maybe those will grow better. Do they grow well in containers? Thank you for posting.
Good luck with them this year. That may have just been too much shade. They’ll grow in raised beds but I’ve never triend them in containers.
Are dragon tongue beans needing to be on a trellis?
Thanks for ur article!! I have planted both pole beans and runner beans this year. Do u have any experience with runner beans? I’m wondering if they need as much vertical support as the pole ones??
Usually a runner beans does ok without support but they do get kind of tangled up so a support helps keep them more accessible.