Beans can be the centerpiece of a dish, or a perfect side dish when picked fresh from your own garden. No matter how you cook them, legumes deserve to be a part of your diet. And with so many varieties out there, you can experiment with flavors that are more to your liking. So, how do you grow beans at home, and what should you know before venturing on a bean-planting venture? This guide covers the planning, planting, care, and harvesting of beans in your home garden.
Growings Beans at Home: FAQ
Beans are used to make a variety of dishes. That means that growing beans yourself is actually a great idea as long as you are willing to give the plant whatever it needs to grow. Many varieties of beans are susceptible to pests and problems, but their harvesting time is also very precise and requires careful observation. So, let’s look over some of the main questions that people have related to growing beans.
Are Beans Easy to Grow?
Well, it really depends on your definition of the term “easy,” and to the type of bean you’re planning to grow, and your level of experience, and the climate and local pests. Beans are easy compared to other garden vegetables, but they are also considered tricky by some because they are sensitive to diseases and you need to carefully supervise them in their harvesting period because they can go bad really fast if you don’t pick them on time. The planting process is fairly simple, but they will require frequent watering if they’re planted in full sun.
Can Bean Plants Get Diseases?
Yes, they can. They are likely to get the mosaic virus, mildew, or blight. You can also find some disease-resistant varieties but that will limit your options quite a lot. One good idea is to make sure that the your garden is debris-free so that there are fewer chances of disease-carrying insects finding their way to the plants.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Beans?
The answer to this question really depends on the type of beans you want to grow. In general, people plant one of two types of beans: pole beans or bush beans, but there are plenty of other varieties out there for you to know about. Let’s look at some examples. Vermont Cranberry beans take between 60 and 85 days to grow, and people like them because of their sweet taste. Tendercrop beans take around 46 to 61 days to grow, and they become popular for their crispiness and tenderness. One of the fastest-growing varieties is the Contender, which can take between 40 and 55 days to grow.
Can You Grow Plants from Dried Beans?
Yes. These are known as shell beans, and they are basically beans that have reached maturity and are left in their pods to dry. They need to be planted after the frost date in your region and you should do so in soil that’s properly warmed. When you head the beans rattling in the pod, that means that they are dry.
How Do You Grow Beans in a Garden?
While growing beans is a multi-step process, the actual steps aren’t that complicated. If you’re serious about growing your own beans, here is what you have to do:
- For the most part, beans are planted directly in the soil, although there is the option of transplanting small bean plants as well.
- Make sure that you avoid planting the seeds too early because damp and cool soil will cause them to rot.
- Seeds need to be planted two inches deep in the soil, after which you have to water immediately and on a regular basis until they sprout.
- Light in a very important factor in plant growth, and if you plant your bean seeds in direct sunlight, you will get the highest yield. When summer temperatures are too high, that’s when beans will stop flowering. At this point, frequent watering is a good idea, especially if they are planted in full sun.
- Since beans like moderately rich soil, you need organic matter to ensure all the growing conditions are met.
- The best part about growing beans is that the more you pick them, the more beans the plant can actually grow. The best time to harvest them is when you notice that the beans can snap off easily and the pods are pretty firm. It is usually best to pick them before the seeds inside start to bulge. The harvesting also depends on the type of beans that you plant. Bush beans, for example, are generally ready for harvesting in 50 to 55 days, while pole beans can take up to 65 days before they can be picked.
- Once you know that the variety of beans you’ve planted is almost ready for harvest, you need to check them every day. That’s because the beans can overgrow and get really tough overnight, in which case they won’t be that good.
NOTE: Beans can attract a variety of different pests and problems, and the more documented you are on the matter, the likelier you are to grow healthy beans every time. Mexican bean beetles are one example of pests that like to eat the flowers, the leaves, and the beans. Slugs are also fans of beans, but so are groundhogs and deer.
More Bean Growing Tips
There are a few tips that can make it a little easier for you to grow beans, and here are some that will surely help:
- Keep weeds as far away from beans as possible. Weeds will absorb the moisture in the soil that beans need to grow, and they will aid in the development of plant diseases.
- Switch around beans with other plants on a yearly basis. Crop rotation is a wonderful way to ensure that the vegetables thrive year after year.
- Beans have a way of fixing their own nitrogen in rapport with the soil. That means that you should avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizer, as this could lead to fewer pods and more leaf growth.
- It takes between 8 and 10 days for bean seeds to germinate at a temperature of 70 degrees.
- The actual way in which you plant beans is dependent on the variety of beans that you’re looking to grow. Bush beans should be planted about three to four inches apart, while pole beans require between four and six inches of space in between them.
- Even if planting beans in direct sunlight will cause the soil to lose moisture faster and that translates into an extra effort for you (as you’ll have to water them frequently), these plants thrive in powerful sunlight, so if you want them to do so, make sure that you plant them in a spot where they can get about 10 hours of sunlight every day.
- During the harvesting process, you should be really careful about how you pick the beans. If you pull them too hard, you risk damaging the plant. Once the beans are nice and ready for harvesting, they should easily snap (with a very satisfying sound). Bush beans can be harvested every day because this encourages the plant to produce more. Pole and runner beans are best harvested by using a pair of scissors.
- Whenever the bean vines reach the top of the support, cut them to make sure that they re-channel their energy into extra pod production.
- The best way to enjoy a bountiful harvest is to freeze the beans and defrost them in small batches to make meals. Fresh beans can be consumed within a four-day time frame, but note that even when they are properly stored, beans will toughen over time.
As you can see, the process of growing beans isn’t that complicated, but it’s really important that you don’t skip any of the steps because the health of your plant will depend on it. Known for being a sun-loving legume, but also popular because it is used as an ingredient in a lot of different dishes, the average bean is something that anyone with some free time and dedication can grow in their own back yard.