Last summer my mom suggested that I grow green beans along the chain link fence by my driveway. I thought that was a great idea so I gave it a shot last fall. Green beans have quickly become one of my favorite things to grow ever since.
I highly recommend growing green beans. In fact, I think they might be the easiest thing I grow in my garden. Extremely low maintenance and so good at surprising you with a large production…there are always more green beans hiding there than you realize. Plus, green beans are so versatile you can pretty much have these tasty beans with every meal!
Here are a few things I have learned from growing green beans.
To start, it is important to know the difference between pole and bush beans. Basically pole beans are vines so they need something to grow on like a trellis or, in my case, a chain link fence. Bush beans do not vine out, but they get bushy (hence the name) and need a little more space to spread out.
Bush beans generally flower and grow fruit all at once, so if you are growing several plants be ready to do some preserving with your harvest. From my experience, pole beans seem to have a more continued growing season. Right now with my spring season pole beans I have new buds, beans ready to be harvested, and pods that have gone to seed…all on the same plant.
I definitely recommend planting beans from seeds. Remember that science experiment in elementary school when you put a seed in a bag with a damp paper towel and watched the seed sprout and start to grow? Well that seed was generally a bean seed. They are pretty fast, and pretty pro at sprouting, so it’s almost a waste of money to buy transplants.
You can sow the seeds directly in the ground. Bush beans need a little more space than their fellow pole bean friends, so be sure to think about that when planting them. Also, bush beans do really well in containers. I generally just plant pole beans, but this spring I planted bush beans in a container and they did great so I will definitely be doing that again in the fall.
In Central Texas you can plant beans in the spring and the fall. For your spring garden, it is recommended to plant March-April. And in the fall, it is recommended to plant the end of August/early September.
Also in case you were wondering about the different varieties, so far my favorites have been the Contender (bush) and Kentucky Wonder (pole).
The first season I grew green beans I waited a little too long to harvest the beans. The tastiest green beans are the ones that aren’t too big and do not have too many “curves.” Meaning, the actual bean that is growing in the pod is not too large and mature. As the green bean grows, the pod gets tougher and the beans get harder which make it a little less pleasant to eat, so pick them sooner rather than later.
Next season you should definitely experiment with planting some green beans. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed!
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