It is not too late to think about planting beans in your family vegetable garden. Here in the Bluegrass Region, many people have already started this job and are seeing results for their effort.
Beans grown for the pod – green snap beans – are the most common type of bean a home gardener will grow. Some beans are also grown just for the bean itself and not the pod. Lima beans and soybeans are also popular beans grown in the home garden.
The bush type of snap beans is the most popular because they mature early and require less space. Pole beans require some type of trellis device – stakes, fence, etc. – for support. They also require a few more days to mature their pods and they will continue to bear over a longer period than bush beans.
Beans grow with little care and produce an abundance of pods. They also add nitrogen to the soil, making them ideal plants for organic vegetable gardens. Be sure to select varieties that will mature within your growing season and thrive in your region’s conditions.
Choose a spot that is sunny most of the day. The soil should be well drained or the bean seeds can rot before germination occurs. Sow bean seeds directly into your garden – beans get off to a better start if the soil is at least 60°F. Plant bush snap beans in rows 24 to 30 inches apart and plant the seeds 2 to 3 inches apart and 1 inch deep. Plant pole beans 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 26 to 48 inches apart. Plant bush bean and pole varieties every 2 to 3 weeks until 60 days before the first expected fall frost.
Keep the soil moist but not wet and do not wet the leaves when watering because it can encourage rust or other fungal diseases.
When snap beans are ready to be picked, they snap in half easily and you can see outlines of the bean inside. Pick filet beans before they reach a pencil thickness and harvest shell beans and roma beans when the seeds have reached full size, but before the pods begin to dry.