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How to Grow and Care for Green Beans


Green beans are a home garden staple.  While that may seem to be a little challenge to grow, they are worth the effort.  But before we can move on to how to grow green beans, we first need to look at the varieties available.

Green beans can be referred to as string or snap beans.  They also come in pole or bush growing varieties.  Pole beans are those that grow like a vine and require a trellis or stake.  On the other hand, bush beans do not require support and grow into a short, and bush like plant. 

While the name of this vegetable may indicate the color of the pod, believe it or not you can find beans that are not only green but red, purple, yellow, and even variegated. 

Now that you have the basic information about green beans, let’s move on to planting.

Green beans can be planted in the traditional garden space or a container garden.  We will cover both approaches.

When it comes to planting green beans in your garden space, soil preparation is everything.  The first step of this process is to remove any unwanted plant material and turn the soil.  This can be done in early spring before you are ready to plant. 

As far as when to plant your green beans, you will need to pull out your calendar.  Green beans need to be planted after your local frost free date and/or 10 to 12 weeks prior to your first frost date.  Once you have that date, you can plan your planting schedule.

On the day of planted green bean planting, soak your green bean seeds for 30 minutes.  This will give your seeds a little jump start in the germination process.  While the seeds are soaking, begin the process of marking the garden space. 

The spacing of green beans though is not universal.  It is based on the type of green bean you are planting.  If you have picked pole beans then you will need to plant your seeds so that they are 4 to 6 inches apart.  On the other hand, if you are planting bush beans then you will need to space the seeds so that they are 6 inches apart. 

Now that you know the spacing, the next step is to know the depth.  Both types of beans require a planting depth of 1 to 2 inches.

After you have marked your spacing with powdered milk and have planted the seeds, you will need to water in the seeds.  The key to this step is to make sure that the soil is evenly moist but not soggy.  A soggy soil will cause the seeds to rot.  To aid in the watering process, allow the top layer of soil to dry out between watering.

Prior to your seeds germinating, make sure that you set up your trellis if you are growing pole beans.  It will be much easier to train them to grow up the trellis when they are small.

Once the green bean seeds have germinated, watering will become easier.  The plants themselves will droop when they need to be watered. 

You can expect to begin to harvest your green beans between 50 to 85 days but throughout the growing season you will need to fertilize your plants.  The best approach is to side dress your seedlings with well seasoned compost once a month.

Now that we know how to plant green beans in the ground, let’s take a look at how to grow them in a pot.  While you can grow both types in a container garden, it is much easier to control the growth with a bush variety.

To begin this process, you must first prepare your container for planting.  This means you will need to sterilize the container by cleaning it in bleach water and then rinsing it in clear water.  Once the pot is dry, add your drainage material and a good, all purpose potting soil and compost mixture.  While you could just plant your bush bean in a container by itself, why would you want to do that?  This is a great time to use companion plantings.  In the case of bush beans, a good neighbor is the marigold or catmint.  Both of these are known to keep away the flea beetle and the Mexican bean beetle, which plague the bush bean.

Once you have your design laid out, you are ready to plant as described previously.  After everything is planted, gently water in the seeds and move your container to a sunny location.

While growing green beans is not very difficult, there are a few things that you can do to make it even easier.  First, only plant your beans once the weather has warmed to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of days and it is past your local frost free date.  Second, when you water make sure that you water evenly.  This will allow your plants to grow more uniform.  Third, make sure to plant your beans the proper distance apart.  This will allow for proper air circulation, which means your leaves can dry and reduce the chances of developing a fungus problem.  To make sure you have beans all season, stagger your plantings.  Keep weeds and other plant debris away from your bean plants.  This will reduce the chances of developing a pest and/or plant disease problem.  Want more beans but do not want to plant more, pick your beans often.  This will encourage the plants to continue to bloom and produce.  Finally, make sure your rotate your crops.  This type of problem pops up all the time.  While rotating your crops may seem a little foolish, it is a great technique to follow to keep pests and plant diseases at bay.  The simple act of planting in a different location in your garden can be all that is needed to squish a problem you had last year. 

Growing green beans can seem to be a challenge but they are really an easy vegetable to grow and better yet one you can get your kids involved in.  As gardening luck would have it, pole green beans are a great plant to use when it comes to making a teepee for your children to sit under during those hot, summer days.  To begin this process, one needs to first prepare the garden space as describe before.  Once that is done, take a piece of string and make a circle that is the size of the teepee you want.  After you have the layout, go back over it with powdered milk.  Next, mark the proper spacing for pole beans and begin the planting process.  Water in your seeds and place a “pole” near the location of each bean seed.  When doing this latter step, make sure that the “poles” can lean in the center.  After you have them arranged in the center, tie the “poles” off so that they are stable.  Now all you have to do is wait for your seeds to germinate and train them to grow up the poles.


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Check Light Availability

Most shrubs can grow in both sun and shade to varying degrees.

Many flowering shrubs, however, tend to need some sun to flower.

Be sure to double check the amount of light you have available to the shrubs you are planning to plant so you are happy with the outcome.

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