There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a thick green bean stalk uncurling out of the soil. The seedling is quite significant, making it a fun vegetable to grow in a raised garden bed with the kids. The best part? Growing green beans is super easy!
Green beans are actually legumes, a family of plants that includes peanuts, peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and clover. They come in both bush and pole varieties. Bush beans stay more compact, while pole beans are climbers and need support. Let’s dive into how to grow and harvest green beans.
Growing Green Beans
There are many varieties to choose from, even purple, red, and yellow types, so grow a few versions to see what you like best. Follow your seed packet for advice on seed spacing and depth. Green beans grow like superstars in an Eco Garden elevated garden bed, where you can even overplant and get the most out of your harvest. Plant green beans directly into the soil when all chance of frost has passed; they like warm weather, so if you plant when it’s too cool the seeds can rot. You can also soak the seeds overnight before planting to get them to germinate faster. We tried pocket gardening, or “chitting” to get our Chinese Red Noodle beans to speed up germination—check out our video to learn how to do this fun kid-friendly activity.
Green beans require little care—give them 6-8 hours of full sun and they’re happy. They are self-pollinating, which means the flowers have both male and female parts. This powerful plant is a nitrogen fixer (bacteria-filled nodules develop on their roots; the bacteria converts unusable nitrogen into a usable form for nearby plants), making it a great companion for nitrogen-loving veggies like corn and squash. Check your soil during the growing season if production is light; you may have too much nitrogen in the soil. A good organic fertilizer or a side dressing of compost can help.
How and When to Harvest Green Beans
These crisp veggies are ready to pick when tender and young, before the seeds inside swell. They should be the thickness of a pencil, and should make a nice snapping sound if you break them in half. Pick green beans every couple days to keep the plants flowering and producing, particularly for pole varieties which can produce for a couple months. Plant seeds every few weeks for a consistent supply. When picking, use two hands if you are new to the process so you don’t harm the plant, especially the delicate vines of pole beans. The pods should come off easily, or you can cut them off with a sharp scissors.
There are so many ways to eat the delicious green bean. We love roasting them with garlic and olive oil, and adding them to fresh salads. Or just pop them into your mouth straight from the garden. Here’s one of our favorite family recipes—Grandma Laura’s Green Bean Dish.
Green beans are perfect for the beginner gardener. They grow fast, making you feel like a pro! There’s still plenty of time to try them out this year. Pick up some seeds and get growing.
Tell us: If you’re growing green beans, what’s your favorite way to eat them?