How To Plant Bush Green Beans

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Many people that are new to vegetable gardening may be wondering what are bush green beans. Bush green beans are also commonly referred to as green beans, string beans, or snap beans. There are typically two types of green beans most vegetable gardeners grow – pole beans, which grow as a climbing vine, and bush beans, which grow as a bush.

Bush green beans grow different than pole beans because bush beans grow as a bush and are generally grown in rows, similar to butter beans. Planting bush beans is really not much different than planting pole beans. They both require similar planting depths, but the spacing is a bit different.

Here is how I plant bush green beans.

Preparing The Bush Green Bean Seeds

Just like pole beans, bush green beans should be soaked in a shallow container with warm water over night to speed up the germination process. The bush bean seeds will swell up as they soak up some of the water. Once the seeds have soaked overnight, drain out the water. The bush green bean seeds are now ready to be planted.

Soak Bush Bean Seeds Overnight To Speed Up Germination

You may find some seeds that have split apart or are broken. Just add these to the compost pile or discard. Don’t try to plant them because they probably will not germinate.

Preparing The Garden Row or Garden Bed For Planting

Bush green beans should be grown in fertile soil amended with good compost or organic matter and have adequate drainage. I will be growing my bush beans in a row this year. For planting in rows, bush beans need to be spaced about eight to twelve inches apart.

Bush Beans Grow Well When Planted In a Row

Planting The Bush Green Bean Seeds

First, place two bush green bean seeds at eight inch intervals down the center of the entire row. Just place the seeds on top of the soil for now. Continue placing the bush bean seeds on top of the soil at eight inch intervals until you run out of seeds or run out of row; whichever comes first.

Sow At Least Two Bush Bean Seeds In Each Location

Make Sure To Allow For Adequate Spacing Between Each Bush Bean Plant

Bush bean seeds typically need to be planted at a depth of 1-1/2 inches deep. Make sure to read the seed packet for the planting depth of your particular bush beans. Here I am planting 'Early Contender' bush beans.

The Hole Method of Planting Bush Green Beans

To plant the seeds, I simply take my index finger and poke a hole in the soil 1-1/2 inch deep right beside the bush green bean seeds I placed on top of the soil. By poking the hole right beside the seeds, the seeds will just fall right in the hole on their own.

Use a Finger To Create a Hole Next To The Bush Bean Seeds

Once the seeds fall into the hole, use your finger to gently tap the seeds in the hole to make sure they seat properly in the soil. Avoid pushing the seeds deeper into the soil, just make sure the seeds are seated in the soil. This is to make sure the seeds come in good contact with the soil for proper growth after the seeds germinate.

Now simply cover the hole with soil and give it a light pat with the palm of your hand. Again, do not pat too hard as this is to just make sure the seed contacts the soil well.

Continue this process until all the seeds have been planted along the row.

The Push Method of Planting Bush Green Beans

Another method for planting bush beans is to simply use your index and middle fingers to push the bush beans seeds down into the soil to plant them. Simply take those two fingers and place them on top of the seeds. Gently push the seeds down into the soil until you get to the second knuckle of your fingers. This is typically about an inch and a half deep.

Use Two Fingers To Gently Push the Bush Bean Seeds Down Into the Soil
Push the Bush Bean Seeds Into The Soil About One and a Half Inches Deep

Once you have the bush bean seeds at the proper depth, simply cover the hole with soil and gently pat with the palm of your hand. Continue this method for all of the bush bean seeds along the row until finished.

Water The Bush Green Bean Seeds

Once all of the bush green bean seeds are planted, give the entire row or bed a drink of water or compost tea. Thoroughly water them each day to keep them consistently moist but not soggy. The bush green bean seedlings should emerge in six to fourteen days. After the seedlings have reached about three inches high, thin them out so there is one plant every eight inches.

How do you plant your bush green beans? Please share your methods!

Try These Easy To Grow Bush Beans!

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Comments

  1. Do you recommend inoculating the seeds? I tried this season and found my bush bean plants at least appeared to grow faster, and seem more prolific this season. Was just wondering. Thanks!

    • Hi John,

      You can inoculate the seeds to help them germinate a bit faster. This is done quite frequently with green pea seeds to give them a germination “boost”. It certainly doesn’t hurt to do it but isn’t required if you have good soil.

      I had mixed result with the bush and pole beans this year, but it was mainly due to very high temperatures and dry conditions. I plan on inoculating my fall crop of bush beans to see if it helps.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. This is will be the second year for my son and I growing a garden. We just found your page and love it. You make it simple, not to much information, just the right amount with pictures that make sense. Thank you.

  3. Good job….I like this article…..just want some info. for my school project. Thanks, clear explanation here

  4. This year I am gardening in raised beds and do not know a lot about gardening. How many plants (bush beans) can you put in a 4 x 4 raised bed? Do you plant in rows or scattered? I appreciate your website and thanks for the info.

    • Hi Teresa! I’m glad you enjoy the website and thanks for stopping by.

      Bush beans are relatively small bushes compared to most plants and can be planted fairly close together. Whether you plant them in rows or scatter them about is really up to personal preference. I like to plant in rows because it looks a bit neater, but it’s really up to you.

      A 4′x4′ bed is 16 square feet and you can plant two bushes per square foot. That would be a total of 32 bush bean plants planted 6 inches apart.

      I hope this helps, Teresa, and if you have any more question feel free to contact me via the contact page. I’ll be more than happy to help any way I can.

      • Thank you Tee for your answer. One more question. How do you figure how many plants will fit in this size? Is there a formula to use or do you need to know specifics about each plant?

        • Hi Teresa – Yes, you need to know the specifics for each plant and there’s a formula, kind of. Take a look at the back of the seed packet. There should be planting instructions for the type of seed you have. There will be directions for how deep to sow the seeds and how far apart. There will also be some suggestions on how far apart the seedlings should be after thinning.

          As far as the formula- it’s not really a formula. I basically used the Square Foot Gardening method to determine how much you could grow in a 4′x4′ area. The Square Foot Garden method simply divides your garden bed into 1foot squares. Since you have 16 one foot squares, and two bush beans can be grown in each square, you can grow 32 bush bean plants in that 4′x4′ bed.

          After growing vegetables for a couple years you will get a good sense of how far apart some should be grown and what works well for your garden space.

  5. Wow. Thanks for a very informative article. It is fun and easy to understand because you even placed pictures. this should be a must-read for bean growers out there.

  6. Hi, I very much like your site. My bush bean seed package tells me to plant these every 18″, but I was hoping for closer since I have very little room. Do you think even with what I have it can be grown like you suggest (every 8-12″). Thanks.

    • Hi Mary – Yes, I think you can plant closer than 18 inches. I have even planted them 6 inches apart to try to pack in as many plants in a small row as possible. You may encounter some issues with rust on the leaves if you have very wet conditions, but other than that they should be fine.

  7. DEBORAH SHOCKLEY says:

    My bush beans are about 1 1/2 feet tall and have just begin producing. Do I need to stack up Bush beans?

    • Hi Deborah – You don’t have to stack them. Once they start producing you can simply let them do their thing, if you like.

  8. My bush beans have been blooming for several weeks but have produced no beans. I have had very dry, very hot weather but I have kept them watered. Any advice. I went to my local farmer’s exchange and the lady said I planted them under the wrong moon sign.

  9. Ed Brwon says:

    I have been told many different things about planting bush beans, but some say I should put up a fence like for peas. They say, it makes it easier to pick and it keeps the plant off the ground. What do youo say. Would you email me please? Thanks

  10. what is innoculating and how do ya do that? My green bean plants are producing but they are so small and bugs are eating the leaves again. They’ve only reached about 5 inches height so far. What can I do to help my plants? I would like to get maximum output on them. I live in Kentucky if that helps any and I have mostly clay soil.

    • Hi Jeannie – Inoculating is when you introduce a special bacteria to the seeds when you are sowing them. The bacteria form a special bond with the roots of the bean plants which promotes better growth. I have an article on it, just use the search form located at the top right of the page. Just search “inoculant” and it should lead you in the right direction.

      I would begin giving your plants a good spraying of fish emulsion or compost tea a couple times per week. That will help to perk them up!

  11. Jeannie Smith says:

    Thanks for the reply to my query and the good advice of which I will be sure to follow. :)

  12. Hello! I have 2 questions. What length should the bean be before harvesting it? Also, do the plants only produce one batch of beans or will they continue to grow vegetables throughout the summer? Thanks!

    • Hi Gina – Great questions! First, there really is no desired length the beans should be for harvesting. As a general rule, I harvest mine when they get at least six inches long and are a little fatter than a pencil. That is if you are growing them as snap beans. For shelling beans you want the bean pods to fatten up more before harvesting.

      With the right conditions most green bean plants will continue to produce until the first frost. Usually the first harvest is the largest with subsequent harvests being a bit smaller. Also, picking the green beans early and often will help promote more bean production so picking them on a regular basis helps.

  13. Do you need to stake the bushes up as they mature to keep them from sagging onto the ground?

    • Hi Patty – Staking the bushes isn’t really necessary, but you can if you want the plants to be more tidy. A trellis leaning at about 45 degrees can work well to accomplish that.

  14. Do you need to plant two beans in every hole?”

    • Hi Mark – You do not have to plant two per hole. Planting two is just a common “safety” measure used in case one doesn’t germinate.

  15. Jeff Barnett says:

    Wow! Just found this site by accident (kind of). I am a rookie of rookies when it comes to gardening. I am about to plant my first garden (fall garden). I wanted to plant some green beans, and I found this article to be the exact information I was looking for. I’m already in love with your site. Now I’m going to browse around here and see what else I can learn. Thank you very much for making it understandable.
    I do have one question though. I have a couple of trees on one side of my garden spot. I know it gives shade at least part of the day. Will that hinder my chances for success with the green beans?
    Thanks.

    • Hi Jeff – thank you for the kind words!

      As long as your green beans are getting at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day, then you should be just fine. If they get a little shade during some parts of the day it’s okay as long as they get at least the 8 hours. As a matter of fact, if your plants get shade during the hottest times of the day (between 11 am – 4 pm) it can actually help to keep them cooler during this time of year.

      Good luck!

      • How much % of seeds germinate? I only have limited space to grow some for a school project

        • Hi Tony!

          The germination rate can vary depending on the age of the seeds and other factors. Generally, I have purchased seeds packed for that year and have had a high germination rate (around 90%). If you have older seeds then that rate will drop considerably.

          You can test the seeds and even pre-germinate them to make sure the seeds you sow will germinate and grow. Read this article on pre-germinating your seeds – http://www.veggiegardener.com/pre-germinate-vegetable-seeds/

          I hope this helps and good luck with the school project!

  16. HI,
    Is it true that bush beans produce one large harvest than another one a few weeks later whereas pole beans keep producing?

    The SFG method claims that you can plant 9 (NINE wow!) bush beans per square.

    However my garden bush bean (bush blue) seed pack says the spacing should be 6 inches which would mean 4 per square, which is what I did. I only did 4 plants because I didn tknow if they were good! I have flowers now tho :)

  17. I am a beginner at planting a garden. The information on your site is very helpful and enlightening. The question I have for growing bush beans is: How tall do bush beans get and also, if you start your seeds indoors, do you follow the steps you gave above? Do you soak your seeds overnight and then plant them in your 5″ deep compost container? Any tips you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

  18. I am really interested in how you respond to Darlene’s post, as I am also interested in starting some “Paint Dry Bush Beans,” “Hutterite Soup Beans,” and “Aztec Half-Runner Beans” indoors. I understand it is best to soak them overnight before planting, correct? And plant them in a large container of some sort to avoid transplanting which they don’t like? I bought an innoculator for legumes, which I will treat them with. Any other thoughts about starting these beans indoors? We are still working on preparing our garden space so I wanted to start the beans indoors. I love the photo how-to’s on your site.

  19. I have helped my father for several years with his garden. My father has his own produce stand so he has hundreds of each plant he grows. A few years ago, my husband and I started our own garden. My observation about bush beans, they tend to rot if not harvested quick enough. Touching the ground has truly been our biggest problem. My question is, how do you keep,Contender Bush beans off of the ground?

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