As the weather gets warmer, I am sure many of you are excitedly thinking about planting your garden.
I know I am!
Green beans are one of my favourite things to grow; not only are they so easy to grow, but they also produce like crazy all summer long!
With green beans, there is no need to start them indoors. You can just plop those seeds right in the ground.
There are so many varieties to choose from, whether you are looking for a determinate, bush style plant or an indeterminate vining plant.
There are also some amazing color options to choose from! I love having a mix of yellow wax beans, purple runner beans, and of course good ol’ green beans. You can even find some interesting looking speckled varieties.
I find my yellow wax beans, a bush variety, tend to produce earlier in the season than my runner beans. My runner beans absolutely take off about half way into summer and are heavy producers the rest of the season.
I love the fact that the wax beans and purple runner beans are so tender and have smooth skins; the scarlet runner beans have little hairs on the skin which collect dandelion seeds or whatever else is blowing around in the wind.
Once you are beyond the risk of frost, you can start planting!
The night before you plan to plant your seeds, soak them in lukewarm water overnight. This will give them a head start on germination and you will see green shoots pushing through the soil more quickly.
Make sure the soil is moist, but not wet. You do not want to rot your seeds!
Green beans are amazing companion plants as they add nitrogen to the soil. You can plant them with heavy feeders such as eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. Pumpkins, squash, and corn also benefit from companion planting with green beans (check out the “3 sisters” for more info on that).
Care & Maintenance
Bush beans can support themselves and will not need any extra help.
Runner beans, however, need a trellis to support their every-growing vines. You can take advantage of vertical growing space to maximize your harvest per square foot. Get creative! The foliage is lush and green and looks amazing to use on archways or as part of your landscaping.
Be very careful when watering!!! One of the easiest mistakes to make when growing beans is improper watering. Their leaves are prone to leaf rot if they are touched when wet.
I make sure to water at the base of the plant without getting the leaves wet. If it has just rained, I wait to harvest beans until the leaves have dried.
This is the fun part!
You can start harvesting the beans at any size, really, but if you wait until they are store-sized you will get more bang for your buck.
The yellow wax beans have a green twinge to the young beans and turn a bright yellow when they are ready to be harvested.
The purple runner beans have a green twinge as well, turning a deep purple when they are ready. Oh! And did I mention that they turn from purple to green when they are cooked? Super fun!
When my garden is in full swing, I can harvest a heaping basket every-other-day. It is such a satisfying feeling to cook meals from garden to table. And to have enough to either preserve or share with others.
If you do not keep on top of harvesting almost daily, you will have some beans get too ripe and they will be tough and stringy. I choose to leave a number of beans on the plant to mature for seeds.
That reminds me, another reason I love green beans is for how easy it is to save seeds for the next year! After the ripe beans have fully dried on the stalk, it is a fun and easy process of shelling the seeds.
Make sure the seeds are fully dry and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark room for the winter.
I have been saving bean seeds for about 5 years or so and have very good germination results, so that saves a few bucks on re-buying seeds every spring.
Once the growing season is finished, I leave the beanstalks over winter. I find it much easier to pull them out in the Spring after they have fully dried out.
And of course, the last step is adding all the dead stalks to my composting to use in the garden later.
Do you have any extra tips on growing green beans? Drop a comment below!