A good color to have in your veggie garden is green, especially when that green belongs to green beans also known as string beans or French beans. There are many reasons to grow and eat green beans aside from great taste alone. Health benefits aplenty can be had thanks to the consumption of green beans which is all the more reason to add them to your garden.

For starters, green beans have been linked to decreased risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. They are also high in chlorophyll which has carcinogen blocking abilities. Possible as well through eating green beans is an increase in fertility thanks to the iron they contain. Additionally, they provide vital folic acid to pregnant women that aids with prevention of neural tube defects in offspring. Beyond that, green beans help fend off depression, give you an improved complexion, and provide you with vitamin K which strengthens bones against fracture.

Although the health benefits of green beans are a good reason to eat them, let’s not forget that they are enjoyable. Green beans make a great side dish and are excellent in casseroles. They can be roasted or steamed and pair well with just about any meal. Best of all, they grow well in small spaces and can always be blanched, frozen, or caned for later use.

If you wish to start green beans indoors, this should be done a couple of weeks prior to the final frost. Soil should be loose in consistency and able to drain easily. Do note that fertilizer is not necessary and can actually inhibit bean growth. A few seeds should go into each hole at a depth of approximately one inch. Once your seedlings are ready to move outside, continue using a soil that is loose able to drain with ease. Plant beans about 10 inches apart and be sure to use a trellis for growth. Green beans grow upward and need this additional support so be sure to establish a trellis early on for this purpose.

Optimum green bean location in the garden is a place that spends a minimum of six hours daily in the sun. Placing mulch around the base of plants will help keep roots moist as well as give them some extra support while growing. When watering green beans, do so at the base of the plant only in order to avoid causing rot and/or spreading disease. The presence of brown or rust color is an indication of mildew or rot and affected areas should be removed.

Another good thing about green beans is that though we love them, pests generally do not. You may see some, but picking them off is usually an ample means of control. If you must spray, use something that is food safe. What can be a problem, however, are weeds. Due to the way the plant grows, it is easy for weeds to become entangled, making harvesting green beans a bigger job than it needs to be. Stay on top of weeds from the get go in order to avoid this mess down the road.

When you notice the formation of lumps inside of pods, green beans are ready for picking. Be sure to do so carefully, however, as plants injure easily when pulled on. Using scissors is recommended for this purpose in order to protect plants during harvest. Once you’ve picked your beans, store them in a cool, dry place. Then all that remains is to prepare them as part of your favorite dish and enjoy!