February 26, 2012

Growing Green Beans from Seeds for Your Vegetable Garden

Golden Hubbard winter squash blossom on a bed of clover.

Vegetable gardening is a pleasure filled pass time, where else do you get the chance to listen to the wind, feel the sun and touch the soil in the quietness of nature. I find the peacefulness similar to running or jogging where you can feel the blood pulsing in your body and the wind touching your skin.

If you are just starting out gardening, I find the easiest to grow and gives the most vegetables in return is the bush green bean. Plant when the soil feels warm to the touch and the soil temperature is consistently over 60 degree Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius), otherwise the seeds may fail to germinate and rot in the ground. If your soil is heavy with clay, plant your seed shallow because they may have a difficult time breaking through the heavy clay crust that can form after rain. If you want even heavier yields, plant pole beans around bamboo stakes or fencing where they will twine around and grow up till they cascade over the top. In my old garden in the high desert known for blistering heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winters, I had a three foot tall fencing surrounding the vegetable garden which I used to grow pole beans, Scarlet runner beans, and cucumbers on. Runner beans actually prefer cooler weather in the 60s and 70s (15.6-21 Celsius) and are a popularly grown green bean in England. And remember, always keep up with picking your green beans because if just a few beans are allowed to ripen on the vine, the plants will shut down production and put all their efforts towards ripening the pods.

Really hot temperatures for an extended period of time will sterilize the pollen and may even cause pollinated fruit to abort. The few kinds of green beans that grow well in intense humid heat are the yardlong asparagus beans which are subtropical and tropical plants, they grow very quickly and once they start producing blossoms the beans grow astonishingly fast. The green beans of the yardlongs are cooked by frying, or they can be quickly parboiled and then fried in a little oil with some garlic. Yum. Cowpeas and pinkeye purple hull beans also grow well in hot humid areas as they are an important food crop in the semi-arid tropics but they are mainly tall bush varieties that are grown for their beans rather than their pods.

Most gardeners grow both bush and pole beans as bush beans produce close to twenty days earlier than poles, but poles will yield much more beans per plant and can be spaced closer together.

Some varieties I have found to have great yields and wonderful flavor. Keep your bean plants picked and they will keep producing for you:
  • Romano bush bean - there are many varieties of this green bean but they all have wide flat pods that are stringless and can be allowed to get long and a little plumped up with half formed seeds while still retaining eating quality, so you get higher yields from their larger size. The flavor is delectable and distinctive.
  • Dragon Tongue bush bean - the color makes the pods easy to find with large broad pods that are pale yellow with purple streaks, and they are considered a wax bean. The flavor is sweet and crispy.
  • Scarlet Runner pole bean - the vines grow very long with beautiful red flowers that grow some of the largest green beans that are thick long and broad. Juicy and sweet. The plants enjoy cooler weather and will shut down pod production when it gets too hot.


Anonymous said...

Agree, the more frequently you pick your beans the more it will produce for you.
Scarlet runner pole bean is such a pretty plant also.

Phuong said...

Yes, scarlet runners are beautiful plants and the beans are so different then regular green beans.