Growing green beans at home is usually very easy and rewarding because they are hardy, and they grow quickly. You can see the results fast, which encourages you to try more vegetables at home. One thing to know, though, is that the bush variety is the easiest to grow, and they all harvest at the same time. The “bush” variety grows to about 2 feet tall at maturity, as opposed to the “pole” variety which requires a pole or something for the runners to grab a hold of. The pole beans can grow with runners 8 to 12 feet in length. I recommend planting them at different times so you can have green beans all summer long. (3 – 4 weeks apart). Green beans are one of the most popular and largest yielding vegetables in a garden. This post is about the bush variety green beans which work the best with my garden commander garden cages and are the easiest to grow.
Prepare your soil for planting
You should get your soil in the best possible shape before you plant your green beans, or any vegetables for that matter. During the winter months you can create a compost pile in your yard to help make the soil rich and ready for the early summer planting. Save old coffee grinds, newspapers, vegetables, fall leaves, and grass clippings in a pile in your yard to help prepare your soil next Spring. Green beans like rich soil that is moist, but not too wet. So, after you have tilled your garden area, you want to turn the compost into the soil to provide nutrients and drainage. Don’t worry if you have a clay soil, or a sandy soil because green beans are hardy. After you plant your green beans you will want to cover them in mulch to keep in the moisture and to prevent weeds.
When to plant your green beans
In the northeast, the best month to plant green beans is June, but it is possible to have a successful harvest when planting in July through September. The soil cannot be too cold (colder than 60 degrees) and shouldn’t be over 90 degrees. (You can extend the life of your garden through my mini greenhouse use of my garden cages. Just click on my FAQ to learn how). The soil should not be too dry or too moist either. I would check the soil every two days, and if the soil feels dry and hard, then I would water. If it rains I would not bother checking or watering the soil. You don’t want to get root rot from too much water.
How to plant the beans
Dig a hole that is between 1/2″ to 3/4″ deep and drop in your bean seed. Planting at 3/4 inch depth is usually in a row and is established by using a temporary string to keep the lines straight. Each hole should be between 1 1/2″ to 2″ apart and you place the seed very patiently 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. The average time from planting to harvest is about 60-70 days, but the germination is usually pretty quick. New sprouts should begin to emerge from the soil within a week. When the new sprouts begin to emerge, not only should you celebrate at your first harvest beginning, you should consider what pests in your garden can destroy your green beans. When the sprouts first come up, they are the most vulnerable to wildlife. I have seen rabbits, ground hogs, bird, and especially deer ruin an entire crop in a short length of time.
How to protect your green beans at their most vulnerable growth time
An organic garden uses no pesticides to keep deer and other wildlife out of the garden. I have witnessed deer who completely devour two to three rows 100 feet long overnight, when the plants were less than two weeks old. Protecting plants at this stage is a challenge for those who grow chemical free green gardens, and who don’t want ugly, high, expensive deer fencing around the garden. Fortunately there is an easy, green, and affordable solution. It’s the Garden Commander protection system. With Garden Commander you can stop wildlife from damaging your garden no matter how small or large your garden is. The garden cages also fit into raised beds. I developed this system, because as a third generation farmer, I was tired of the deer eating my vegetables.
Happy gardening by farmer Paul!