How to Grow Green Beans
I don’t know why more people don’t grow beans.
They are a super easy crop.
BONUS: they can practically be grown straight up – so they don’t need much space at all. You can literally grow them in the back 4 inches of a raised bed garden. Just give them something to climb.
By the way, it’s not too late. You can still get a nice crop of beans this year. Get the seeds in the ground this week & water like crazy.
And they will give you beans until Christmas.
OK… maybe not Christmas, but the beans will keep coming long after you are sick of picking (and snapping) beans.
HOW TO GROW BEANS – DIRECT SOW
To grow beans, start with some seeds.
These germinate quick and are easy to grow, so you don’t need seedlings (the baby plants).
There are so many varieties of beans to choose from. If you want my advice – chose a stringless variety. That’s all I’ve got. Stringing beans is miserable.
And if you don’t get all the strings out you could choke someone.
Roma is naturally stringless and delicious. Roma beans are the flat wide beans. If you prefer long skinny beans, there are plenty of stringless varieties to chose from. Ramano, Slenderette, and Blue Lake are all tasty string-free beans.
Your next decision will be bush beans or runners.
The bush beans (Roma are a bush) will stay in compact little ‘bush’ on the ground. The runners will take off for the next county and need something substantial to climb.
HOW TO GROW RUNNER BEANS – BUILD A SIMPLE TRELLIS
If you are growing a runner variety, you will want to give them something to climb. White half-runners are a great example. They are a delicious bean but will need something to ‘run’ all over or they will be all over your garden.
WARNING: White half-runners are a string bean. Which is a pain. You will need to remove the strings before cooking, freezing or canning.
Dig a trench in the ground and drop the seeds in (12 inches apart).
I use cattle panels for a trellis. These are 16 feet long and are sold at Tractor Supply for $19.99. I love using cattle panels in the garden. They can be used for anything that climbs (cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, etc).
Notice the straw in the center of the cattle panel trellis? This will prevent weeds from growing in the center of your bean patch. I hate weeding (more on avoiding weeding here).
Once the trellis is set and the seeds are planted, a little time will provide you with plenty of beans.
HOW TO GROW BEANS – PICK LIKE MAD
It won’t be long before your plants are dripping with beans.
Be sure to pick the beans when they are young and tender.
Old beans are hard and tough and impossible to right. No amount of cooking, boiling or blanching will make an old, hard bean into something edible.
Pick when young to avoid strings. There is nothing worse than trying to eat a pot of beans filled with strings. They get caught in your teeth. They get caught in your throat. If you are eating a bowl of beans with strings – you better hope someone at the table knows the Heimlich maneuver.
Even stringless varieties will get hard and somewhat stringy if left on the vine too long.
Picking beans when they are young will also encourage the plant to make more fruit. Picking often is the secret to lots of beans. The more you pick, the more beans the plants will produce.
If you have a garden sink, it makes fresh beans even easier.
I can dump a bushel of beans into the sink, wash them with the hose and take them back to the house in a colander.
Once I’m in the kitchen, I can snap off the ends & cook them. It’s easy and I don’t bring bugs into the house.
HOW TO GROW GREEN BEANS – PROBLEMS & PESTS
The real enemy to the green bean grower is Beetles. Apparently, beetles like to eat green bean leaves. Mexican beetles & Japanese beetles both can plague green bean plants.
To keep the beetles off of your plants dust them with a little DE (Diatomaceous Earth). I use DE a lot in my garden. It is safe and does a good job of keeping the pests away. Be sure to wear a mask so you don’t inhale it. It needs to be reapplied after rain or watering. More on DE here.
HOW TO GROW GREEN BEANS – PRESERVING
When the beans are ‘on’ you can find me cooking them, freezing them and canning them.
Here are my favorite green bean recipes:
- How to Safely Can Green Beans here.
- How to Cook Fresh Green Beans here.
- Green Bean & Tomatoes here.
- The Best Green Beans here.
For regular updates be sure to join the email list (for free) here.
Learn more about becoming a member here.
What’s with the Memberships?
Trying to clean up your diet & get healthy? Want to grow your own food? Renegade real food meals, groceries from your yard, bread-making like your great-grandma, videos, insider tips and more. Joining is cheap & your pants will thank you. – Learn more here.