Bean plants are easy to grow, and they're the second most popular garden vegetable. They grow fast, and provide beans to eat within two months. They come in both bush and vine varieties and require full sun exposure to grow properly. As one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, beans are incredibly adaptable, and are a staple in many cuisines around the world.
Types of Bean Plants
You can grow two different types of beans: bush bean and pole beans. The growing factors between these types are quite different. Bush beans are compact and do not require support. They are generally easier to grow and require less maintenance. Pole beans are vines that grow up to 15 feet. You'll need to direct these up a trellis or other support. They usually produce more beans than the bush varieties, and are also more disease resistant.
Time It Takes Until Harvest
Bush beans can be harvested a little faster than pole beans. They mature in 50 to 55 days, while pole beans will take 50 to 60 days. On average, it takes bean plants a little less than two months to produce beans and fully mature, but different cultivars have different maturities. The time can vary from 45 to 75 days, depending on the cultivar and the climate.
Determining Whether Beans Are Mature
How do you determine if your green beans are ready to harvest? At maturity, your green beans are about the thickness of a pencil or just a tad thinner. If you snap the beans in half, they should break crisply. If you let them stay on the plant until the pods are fat and bulging, your beans will be tough and perhaps inedible.
Well-fertilized soil will result in a better bean harvest, but as legumes, beans do not need nitrogen fertilizers. On the other hand, irrigation is essential. You'll need to water bean seeds twice a day to keep the soil continually moist. In a few weeks, the seed germinates and you drop watering to once a day. Keep the irrigation away from the foliage to avoid foliar fungal diseases such as leaf blight.
Types of Beans
Beans can either be shell, snap or dry, depending on when they are picked. For dry beans, you'll have to leave them on the plant longer. The most common bean type is snap.
A soil warmth of 65 to 70 degrees F is ideal for planting bean plants, and most hardiness zones can accommodate growth. Plant green bean seeds all summer long through August. The exact dates will depend on your plant hardiness zone.
Rachel Campbell has been writing professionally for several years. Her work has appeared in print magazines such as "Ft. Thomas Living" and "Bend of the River." Campbell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biblical studies and psychology from Cincinnati Christian University. As a garden enthusiast, Campbell enjoys discovering new varieties of flowers and plants.