Growing green beans at home is a great way to get all-year-round access to these culinary pieces. Green bean plants are usually in the form of low-growing bush species or high-growing pole species.
Eating these vegetables fresh requires the farmer to pick the pods young and soft, even before the maturation of the seeds inside. So, one would need to pick fresh vegetables before the plants stop fruiting.
Bean plants grow annually and thrive best in spring. So, before spring approaches, set your planting pot or prepare your garden to dig in your first or next batch of homegrown green beans.
How To Start Growing Green Beans
Typically, green beans are grown in the garden soil directly, as transplanting can damage their shallow roots. However, if you must raise them indoors for transplant in the future, ensure that it’s first in a quality biodegradable pot. And as such, you can bury the entire pot when they are ready to be transplanted.
- Prepare for seeding. Check the soil temperature to ensure it ranges between 49 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Your green bean plants will also produce the best yields between 65-80 degree-Fahrenheit in temperature.
Check that your garden soil has good-draining soil, and if planting indoors, use a quality garden bed with a functional irrigation system.
- Sow the seeds. As discussed earlier, it’s much advisable to plant bean seeds directly rather than inside a pot. Their fragile roots don’t like to be transplanted, so you’d take extra efforts to grow them in two different locations.
Conversely, growing your seeds initially in a container allows you to shower enough attention and care to your delicate seedlings.
- Support growth. If you are using pole beans, you need to drill in a pole beside the plants as a support system while they grow. As the bean seedlings emerge, you should begin to wind them up the poles in a way that they’ll continue growing towards that direction on their own. Ensure the pole is long enough and not too close to the roots, so it wouldn’t press over and kill them.
- Give adequate space. Beans will always need space, irrespective of what kind of green bean plants you’re growing.
For bush green bean seeds, bury the seeds about 1-1½ inches into the soil, about 3 inches apart from each other. And on the other hand, pole green beans can take 3-4 seeds in a spot about 4-8 inches apart.
Tips For Growing Healthy Green Beans
Green beans will become healthy and harvestable if they are provided just the nutrients and resources they need to grow. The following elements are essential in growing green bean plants:
- Soil pH. Green beans thrive in slightly acidic soils of around 6.0 pH. Usually, beans fix their nitrogen, and so fertilizers may not be needed if the soil is rich enough.
- Sunlight. A minimum of 10 hours of sunlight is needed for proper green bean growth. Full sunlight also keeps the plant fairly dry and less liable to diseases. Nevertheless, too much heat can kill the plants, so it’s best if you use row covers to protect your plants from heat.
- Watering and drainage. Beans need enough water and a good drainage system to eliminate excess moisture that can cause rot.
- Nutrients. As discussed above, with rich soil and good pH levels, bush bean plants are good enough. But, pole green beans that produce continuously need fertilizers to grow optimally.
- Mulching. The temperature requirements of green bean seedlings may cause the soil around it to dry out quickly. To keep the soil’s moisture locked and with a constant heat flow, you should cover the soil with suitable materials.
Harvesting Green Beans
Harvest green beans when they are long enough, firm but still young and tender. Early harvests promote spouting, as the plant may stop fruiting if the fruits spend too much time and ripen.
The harvest time for green beans differs from species to species, as bush beans take around 50-55 days, while pole beans take about 55-60 days. Don’t wait for the pods to ripen and harden before harvesting; you need them green and fleshy anyways.
And, you shouldn’t wait for all your pods to ripen before harvesting. Naturally, some pods will emerge and begin to grow before the others. When you notice them getting longer and almost with visible seeds, pluck them immediately.
However, you have to take extreme care, harvesting the beans. Harvest the beans one at a time to avoid destructive harvesting.
Grasp the bean from the top, from which it connects to the vine. You can support the vine with your other hand before quickly but gently jerking off the pod to loosen it. Sometimes, jerking may also hurt the plant or snap the pod in half. So, I recommend you pinch it off if you are not great at popping the pod off.
Storing Green Beans
There are several ways to keep green beans edible for long. However, if you have fresh beans off the farm and plan to eat them in a few days, here are some ways by which you can preserve your beans:
- Refrigerating fresh beans
If you are consuming the green beans in a few days, refrigeration can keep them firm.
Wipe off excess dirt from the green beans, ensure not to rinse them, so they’ll not soak up moisture.
Slide a paper towel into a resealable plastic bag and add in the beans. Try to force out any air from the bag before sealing it. Place the beans, sitting upright, and store for about seven days.
- Freezing the beans
Blanch the beans to keep them from bacteria and sogginess. Depending on the beans’ size, boil them for 2-3 minutes before dipping them into a bowl of ice; ensure they become fully cooled.
Place the beans flat in a plastic bag and force out excess air before sealing it shut; you could use a vacuum sealer.
Label the bag with the weight, quantity, and freezing date of the green beans with a permanent marker – freeze for up to 8 months.
Growing green beans involves simple steps that will become even easier if you understand the basics.
Consider your garden as a little investment that’s worth the kind of materials you put into it. Use healthy seeds, biodegradable pots, quality soil, and bountiful attention.
Ultimately, these crops are an amazing delicacy and worth the efforts to grow them for an all-year-round vegetable supply.