10 Easy Tips For Growing Green Beans

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Growing green beans (sometimes referred to as pole beans, snap beans, string beans, or bush beans) is quickly becoming a very popular vegetable in the vegetable garden. There is a good reason why – green beans are very easy to grow and prolific producers. Most green beans are ready to pick 45 to 60 days after germination, making them a favorite for a quick and steady harvest. If you love green beans and are interested in growing them in your vegetable garden, here are a few tips for growing the best green beans in town.

Growing Great Green Beans

    Pole Green Beans

  • Green beans grow best in full soil and warm soil that has reached between 65°F and 70°F.
  • You can soak most green bean seeds overnight in a small dish of warm water. This will help speed up the germination process.
  • Plant your green beans in fertile, well-drained soil to suppress the chances of root rot.
  • Choose disease resistant varieties of green beans to prevent diseases such as rust, powdery mildew, and curly top virus.
  • Maintain good spacing around green beans to increase air circulation and decrease chances of powdery mildew. Pole beans can be planted at a spacing of 2-1/2 feet, while bush beans should be planted at 3 foot intervals.
  • Water your green beans at ground level using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system. This helps to keep plant leaves dry and prevent diseases.
  • Scarlet Runner Beans

  • Never walk around or work on your green bean plants when they are wet. Working around the wet leaves can promote the spread of disease.
  • Fertilize green beans using organic methods such as compost, fish emulsion, compost tea, or other organic fertilizers.
  • When growing pole beans, give the vines some support using a trellis, stakes, or pole for them to climb up. Letting them sprawl across the garden is a sure way to promote disease and lower production.
  • Always harvest green beans often. Picking green beans often helps to promote more growth and increased yields.

Grow Awesome Green Beans In Your Vegetable Garden!


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Comments

  1. I’ve been outside getting the garden ready most of this week! I had to take a minute and check out this post though. My plan is to grow a lot of green beans this year. It’s by far the most eaten veggie in our house. I’d like to can and freeze enough to last us through the winter. These tips are very helpful. Do you have any idea how many plants I should grow to feed a family of 3 through the winter? We usually eat green beans at least 2x a week. Thanks!!
    .-= Jackie Lee´s last blog ..You Can Not Be Thin If You Feel Fat =-.

    • Hi Jackie, It’s really tough to judge how much green beans you need to last. I would suggest growing about 18 to 20 green bean plants to be able to last through a winter. That may sound like a lot but if you use a teepee system you could grow about six plants per teepee using three. The great thing about the teepee system is they do not take up much space.

      Remember to pick them often and it will continue providing pods much longer. Depending on the variety you are growing, you can pick pods as soon as they get crispy and have a clean snap when snapped in two.

      I hope this helps and can’t wait to hear about your green beans!

      Tee

  2. Barbee Butts says:

    Hello! I just found your link from Kenny’s Veggie Gardening Tips and I have a question about the second photo in this great article.

    What is the variety of bean in that (second) photo? The flowers are awesome. I am a big fan of those vegatable plants that add beauty to my garden as well as bounty to my dinner table thus I would be VERY interested in getting my hands on those beans w/ the beautiful flowers!!!!

    In my serach, the only red flowered bean I have found was called “Scarlet runner” and the description said the resultant fruit was inedible/toxic. Whaaaaa???

    Any help would be appreciated…love your bullet points on beans, especially the spacing tips. I have had problems w/ spider mites in the past and hope better spacing will control that too.

    Sincerely, barbee

    • Hi Barbee, Thank you so much for stopping by and saying hello! I’m glad you enjoyed my guest post over at Veggie Gardening Tips. Kenny runs a great website over there! Now, to your question – that picture is indeed Scarlet Runner beans and they are very edible. I’m not sure where you saw that information, but the pods are definitely edible. I’m not sure about the flowers being edible though. You can purchase seeds here – localharvest.org or at most other popular seed companies on the web.

      I think you will love the bright red flowers of the Scarlet Runner Beans!

      Tee

  3. Is that photo Scarlet Runner Beans?

  4. Barbee Butts says:

    I want to thank you for taking the time to set me straight about scarlet runner beans. I have no idea when or how I got it into my head that the fruits were toxic—> I am ashamed by my own ignorance!

    While at the local Walmart today, I was lucky enough to snap up a seed packet for $1. Funny thing though, they were located in the “flowers” section and not the “vegatables” section of the seed rack.

    Poor scarlet runner, no one understands you. LOL

    I look forward to future posts and have already made your site a ‘regular read’. I’ll be sure to tell my friends all about your site. Thanks again, you’re very generous w/ your time. Sincerely, b

    • Hi Barbee,

      No need to be ashamed. Want to know a secret?

      I have a difficult time growing carrots. I can’t grow a good carrot to save my life. But I think this will be my year!

      The wonderful thing about growing vegetables is sharing and learning. It’s one of the things that draws me to it!

      I hope you have a blast growing your scarlet runner beans. And please don’t tell anyone my secret ;)

      Tee

  5. The Japanese Beetles love my pole bean flowers. They like to be up high off the ground where they feel safe. I’ve hand killed thousands. It’s too bad because pole beens really give a lot.

    This year I’m going plant only bush beans with bunching onions nearby. The Japanese beetles will probably move to something else that is tall, like my apple trees.

    About your carrots, have you tried over wintering carrots in a hoop house? Eliot Coleman says this produces the best tasting carrots — and no pests. He plants them in fall and lets them stay in the hoop house all winter and picks them in early spring.

    • Hey Bill – I had some Japanese beetles flock to my pole beans last year as well. My pole beans did not do well at all last season. It wasn’t entirely the Japanese beetles (I also had some stink bug issues with them). I think I harvested about 2 handfuls of pods from 2 large “teepees” filled with vines.

      Now the bush beans I planted? I harvested about 2 gallons of green beans four times last season. They performed exceptionally well! I have thought about going strictly with bush beans this year, and skip the pole beans. The down side to that is bush beans take up a lot more space than pole beans do.

      I have never tried overwintering carrots. To be honest I don’t do any gardening after October.

  6. Your bush beans really do well. You are absolutely right that they take up a lot of space. I guess you have to live with the trade offs to be an organic gardener. I hope the voles and skunks eat all my Japanese beetle grubs.

    • True – There are always trade offs in growing vegetables. I can tell I’ve had some moles tunneling around my garden area. I went ou there the other day and the ground was hilled up and really soft, which is a good indication of moles. Like you said, I hope they got all the grubs!

  7. My seedlings are being devoured at a really alarming rate. Whatever it is is chewing holes through the leaves and finishing them off within a day. Do you have any suggestions as to how to ward off predators?

  8. LOVE your site! What have you found to be the best deterent for birds, who look to snap of the soil breaking plants? Bird cloth, foil strips, whirlygigs, etc?
    I am first year bean grower, and here in Central Ohio, we are over run with grackles/crows/blackbirds who cause me enough trouble as it is!

    • Hi Valerie – Thanks for the kind words!

      Birds can be harsh on seedlings. I have had some blackbirds nipping on a few of my squash plants. I used some bird netting to keep them away. I also have a pole on each end of my garden with two aluminum pie pans tied to each. When the wind blows, the pie pans clang together which helps to scare off the birds. It can also work for deer.

      You can also use lightweight garden fabric (also called insect barrier) to cover the seedlings until they get bigger. It lets light and rain through, but will help block the birds, too. JUst leave it on until they get big enough that the birds won’t mess with them any more.

    • I have had many problems with birds, but I don’t anymore. That is thanks to CD’s. They reflect the suns rays and I guess the birds don’t like that. Just hang a few in some tree’s and it’ll help.

  9. My Grandma used to keep a radio, in her garden, turned on 24/7 to keep deer and birds away It worked great for her…She could grow anything…

  10. Newbie Gardener says:

    My newly sprouted bush beans have just been attached by bean beetles. The first two leaves of the plants are basically turned to lace but it appears that there is still new growth coming from the joint. I just gave them a very large, non-organic dose of 7 to try and quickly eliminate the infestation. I do not know where the beetles come from. We burned all of our plants from last year. Do you think the plants still have a shot at survival or should I rip them out and start over again? Should I remove the leaves that have been destroyed so the plant energy can go into new growth?

    • Hello. Sorry to hear about the bean beetle attack. If the affected plants are still producing new growth then I would leave them be. They should recoup just fine as long as the beetles do not remove all the foliage. You can removed the damaged leaves once the new growth grows out a bit.

  11. Newbie Gardener says:

    What is the best organic method to dealing with bean beetles?

    • You should be able to use either Neem Oil, or an insecticide called Pyrethrin.

      Both are considered organic and safe to use on vegetables.

      If you decide to use Neem oil, test it first on a bean plant before using it on the entire crop to make sure it doesn’t damage the plant.

  12. Planted my green beans about three weeks ago. Have’nt seem a sprout yet HELP.

    • Hi Greg, sorry to hear about your green beans. There are times when the seeds can rot in the ground, especially during cool, damp weather. You may need to re-plant the seeds and try again.

  13. My husband and I planted some white, half runner green beans. We planted 2 seeds every 4 inches just like it said, but it also said to thin out to 1 plant after 4 leaves which we did not do. The plants were looking very healthy and then a couple of days ago the leaves started turning yellow. We water every 2 days. I got to thinking that since we didn’t thin out the plants that maybe they were strangling each other because the runners are all tangled together. This is our first attempt to grow green beans. Is it too late to save these plants? Help!

    • Hi Pam – the yellowing leaves can be from either too much water, or not enough. If you have been watering a lot then back off from watering. If you haven’t watered that much them increase the watering some.

      If you see brown spots on the leaves, this is Rust and needs to be treated with a fungicide.

  14. I have plenty of full green plants but no buds or beans on my pole beans. Planted 40 days ago?

    • Hi Bob – I’m not sure what could be causing them to not bloom. If you have had very hot weather it could be a factor, but that is uncommon. You may need to give them a bit more time.

  15. Christie says:

    Hello Tee, great site. Like bob, I to am having a problem with my pole beans. I live in Oklahoma, and the weather can be extreme here. We’ve had everything from strong winds to tornadoes and now temps over 100 for 12 days and no relief in sight on that. My plants look great, flowering, nice big green leaves and climbing up a storm. But no beans at all. I also planted snap peas in the row and noticed one snap pea today. Those plants are very small. I water with a sprinkler every morning for at least an hour. This is my first attempt at a garden. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks you!

    Christie

    • Hi Christie – Maybe give them a little more time. It can take 2-3 weeks for the beans to start appearing depending on weather conditions.

  16. My bush beans look great and produce well. The problem is that they’re tough and fibrous. I threw out the first batch I cooked.

    • Hi Barbara – You probably need to harvest the green beans sooner so they are more tender. If you leave them on the plant too long they can get tough and fibrous.

  17. Ralph Dollinger says:

    Tee — I’m having the same problem as Christie above. I have 2 areas I’ve planted pole beans in —last year only a few pods –this year about one good handful ,, lots of blooms very few beans. I have been growing them up the side of my house on strings, which works well. Had my soil tested last winter and they said don’t fertilize any, there was plenty of nuteriants in the soil. I use lots of leaves each year in all my garden areas from mostly oak trees. I think I may have a deficient ingreadiant in my soil ,,,,but what???

    • Hi Ralph – I think it’s a problem with weather more so than a missing nutrient. I believe if your soil was missing something the plant needed it would be doing worse than not producing pods. If the plant is blooming but then not producing a pod then it has to be one of two things:

      1- The blooms are not being pollinated. Green beans are self-pollinating (most varieties any way) so I don’t think it’s that. Some Scarlet runner beans need pollination by insects, but most pole and bush beans are self-pollinating.

      2- Very high temperatures can cause the blossoms to die and drop off. I think this is most likely the case, especially if you are experiencing hot, dry weather currently. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it until the temperatures get below 88-90 degrees.

  18. FIRST TIME GROWING BEANS NEED HELP. I JUST NEED TO KNOW IF I NEED TO USE ANY KIND OF STICK OR SOMETHING TO SUPPORT THEM. THEY ARE GROWING IN A POT IN MY PORCH, THEY ARE REALLY BIG AND ALREADY GOT FLOWERS(NAME DERBY-BUSH) THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!

    • Hi Yaya – If they are a bush variety you don’t need to support them, but if they are running amuck then you can use a small trellis or stake for the runners to grow up.

  19. Hello.
    My name is Sjef. I am a Dutchman, 59 years old.
    Very interesting all topics about growing green beans. I think I used too little distance between my bean plants.
    I started a web log with “simple tips” about growing vegetables, http://sjeftuintips.web-log.nl/ It’s in dutch with many photos. Tip 12 is about sowing beans on wet absorbing paper. After about 10 days bean plants can be removed from the wet paper and put into the soil. They will continue growing to big plants. So I can grow beans inependant of weather conditions (sun, high temp, rain).

  20. hi, my question is when is the right time to plant fall green beans?
    thanks for the help

    • Hi Melissa – When to plant fall beans depends on how long your season is. If you have a long growing season you can plant many varieties right now. If you live in a cooler region, say zones 3, 4, or 5 it might be too late to plant now.

      You can choose some fast growing beans like ‘Early Contender’ which takes about 55 days to mature.

  21. We moved to our dream home 2 years ago. Our hope was to have an even better garden than we did in town, but unfortunately, our gardens (2nd smmer now) have been very disappointing. Our plants look gorgeous. Most specifically, our pole green beans have grown tall, bloomed, but do not produce a single green bean. Our tomato plants have grown fairly tall, but produce a few tomatoes here & there. Even our cucumbers have not been producing this summer. We live in the middle of Kansas and have had extremely high temperatures this summer which certainly doesn’t help. We’re watered the garden every 2 -3 daysin the late evening once the sun has gone down so the sun & high temperatures don’t damange the plants. Any other ideas?

    Thank you so much!
    Marcia

  22. Rita Weiser says:

    I went out to pick my green beans tonight and they are soft. What causes the beans to be soft? And will they still be good?

    • Hi Rita – It may depend on what variety of green beans you are growing, but generally they should be firm and crisp at harvest. A limp, or soft pod could be a sign that they are a little over ripe, especially if they are bulging some on the sides, which is a signal that the beans inside are plumping up.

      Try to harvest them a bit sooner and see if they are firmer.

  23. Hi and thank you for all the useful tips you’ve provided here. I live in the Boston area and we have experienced a typical hot and humid summer. I’ve been gardening here for over 12 years and never had an issue.
    My problem is the absence of blossoms on my pole beans. The runners are a good 6′ in height with ample healthy green leaves, but no blossoms. Every two years I enrich the soil with plenty of my homemade compost so I don’t believe the soil is the problem.

    Any help you can provide and a solution is much appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time and help,

    JoJo

    • Hi JoAnne – It sounds like there are two possibilities as to why your plants aren’t blooming.

      1) Heat – the vines may drop blooms or not produce any if you are experiencing very warm temperaturtes. You may have to just wait until the temperatures drop back to normal before blooms appear.

      2) Too much nitrogen – Too much nitrogen in the soil can promote healthy foliage, but impede flower production and fruit development.

      I hope this helps to answer your question.

  24. Just a helpful note here * Beans produce their own nitrogen, so if you have added it to the soil, then you will probably get lots of green leaves…but no beans.

  25. Hi,

    So I bought some bush beans at a store, contender I believe and they came three to a container and I bought two containers – 6 plants total.

    My garden area for the beans is a little spot in front of my porch about 12 inches by 3 and half feet. the plants are about 6 to 8 inches apart. I have been experiencing good growth and bean production to about 1 foot high and now they have stopped going up and the about 6 leaves per plant are getting a little yellow discoloration.

    Am I chocking the beans? Are they too close? If so, should I cut out two or three or is it unsafe to attempt to dig them out to replant in a other area. Is it possible I need to fertilize them? Could that be the cause of the yellowing or stunted growth? It seems from your earlier posts that the bush beans sound vigorous. Mine are a little shrimpy. My Beans are nice a long and there are about 20 beans per plant.

    Do you have any advice for a first time bean grower with alot of questions?

    Thank you for your time.

    Best Regards,

    Mike Skuse

    • Hi Mike,

      Over watering or under watering can cause yellowing leaves. If that’s not the case I would begin feeding them twice a week with fish emulsion. That should help them.

      • Thank you,

        I may have been adding a bit too much water.

        I will try the fish emuslion to see if it help them from being too shrimpy.

        I will let you know how it goes.

        Best Regards,

        Mike Skuse

  26. john vance says:

    Tee,
    You sound like THE MAN to talk to about green beans.
    well, i have planted some Kentucky Wonders that i planted about 30 years ago and they are going crazy- about 16′ tall, “so far”. They are going over the
    roof, now and flowering copiously, if that’s the word.
    What i love to do is play green bean midwife. I grab the two little “legs” of the flower after it has turned yellow and hold the base of the flower and pull and then if the ‘umbilical cord’ is still attached, i remove that – if the flower is fully matured, the little white silky cover slips right off the green bean and VOILA! – a tiny velvety, fuzzy baby bean – maybe a 1/4″
    in length, so cute – i almost want to run and get the camera, but i don’t – but i wanna! Love my green beans!!!! – i am trying to save some pods for next years beans – what’s the best method for saving, drying for next year? Love your comments!

    John Vance
    San Marcos, Ca

  27. Hey Tee! I have to do this Backyard Getaway project for Grad School. Right now I’m on break until 01/04/12, but I have to do part of it during break.:( We have to make an informal book about our flower or food garden. And I chose a food garden. So I was looking at your website to see if there was anything about the maintenance of green beans. But there wasn’t so I was a little disappointed. So I have some advice that will help other gardeners that check out this website-Put the maintenance of green beans! Happy New Year and Happy 2012! -Jalapenio

    P.S.-Could you also put the amount of sunlight needed for green beans?

    P.S.S.-Do you have a page about corn? If so, could you please put the maintenance and amount of sunlight needed for corn? Thanx!

  28. The first two large leaves on my green beans are drying up and then the next leaves coming are a cluster of three and seem to be ok…is this normal or is there something wrong. I have grow boxes – because of the Flordia sandy soil.

  29. Suzanne from Austin, Texas says:

    Four weeks ago I planted 3 rows of Classic Slenderette bush beans spaced 6″ apart in rows 1′ apart. Some of the plants are now 8-10″ high. I have about 24 plants in a 3′ X 4′ area. Should I thin them and what do you suggest I do to support the plants? Thanks so much!

  30. Hi! I am growing pole beans and started with 3 seeds per hole, on each side of my bamboo trellis. Almost every seed has sprouted and is growing wonderfully. I need to know, do I pinch off all but one of my pole bean plants on each side of my bamboo stick? They all look so beautiful, so I haven’t wanted to, but I think it’s necessary, right? I followed your directions on building a bamboo trellis for the pole beans to grow up, but I need to know how many plants I should have per stick, and when I should pinch off the others? Help!

  31. Paul T. says:

    Your tips seem very easy, they make sence and were easy to understand. I cant get my stupid green beans to sprout!! And its very aggravating for me, being such an avid organic gardener. The type im growing this year are a tri-colored variety called gourmet mix 2 garden bean and they seem to be quite a bit more difficult than any other variety ive used in the past. Its terrible! If you are able to write me back and have any knowledge on this particular variety that could be helpful to me and my failing beans, i would greatly appreciate it. Thanks, Paul T.

  32. We had a really bad rain/hail storm last night and my breen and wax bean plants are covered with mud. How so I remove the mud? I have read that you are not supossed to touch the bean plants when they are wet. Thanks.

  33. OK, so I think I am having either too much heat or too much nitrogen. I have lovely vines, but no fruit. I think there could be more flowers, so that would point to too much nitrogen. My question is: What can I do about that? Anything besides let it run its course? Thanks!

  34. I planted vining green beans instead of bush beans, went on vacation and nowthey are going crazy and all tangled up. At this point what can I do to save these plants and still get some decent green beans?

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