Having a small backyard may prevent you from growing certain vegetable plants. However, there are choices of vegetable plants that you can grow. One of them is green beans or string beans. This plant will not crowd you backyard because it can be trained to grow on a trellis. In addition, growing green beans is easy and advantageous.
What You must Know About Green Beans
To be successful in growing green beans, you need to understand more about their characteristics and life cycle. Green bean plants or Phaseolus vulgaris are annual plants. There are many varieties of this plant. Each of them has different size and reaches maturity in different days. However, in general, it takes about 50 to 75 days for them to mature.
The plants are vine-like or bushy-like. They have medium-size leaves and colorful flowers, i.e. pink, white, and purple. When they are pollinated, they will develop seedpods. If the pods are mature and dry, you will get beans seeds. However, this vegetable is cultivated for the unripe seedpods, not the seeds. In consequence, you need to harvest the seedpods when they are still young.
The seedpods are usually green. However, some cultivars offer purple or yellow beans. The size of the pods range from 8 to 20 cm long. In each of them, there are 4 to 6 seeds. The color of the kidney-shape beans are white, purple, or green.
Basic Requirement for Growing Green Beans
If you are thinking about growing green beans in your backyard, you need to make sure that your backyard is an ideal environment for the plants to grow. This kind of environment will allow the plants to grow without any troubles. An ideal environment for green beans must meet the basic requirement below.
1. Hardiness zone
This particular vegetable is one of widely cultivated vegetables in the world. You can find the vegetable easily in other countries because green beans can grow in warm and cool climate. In the United States, green beans thrive in the hardiness zones 2 to 10.
It is true that growing green beans can be done in both cool and warm climate. However, you must do it at certain time when the temperature is right. Green bean seeds can germinate outdoors when the soil temperature is higher than 9oC. Meanwhile, during the growing season, the soil temperature must be about 15.5 to 29oC.
Sun exposure plays important role in the success of growing green beans. You must grow them in full sun. Getting 8 hours of direct sun light will help them to mature on time. It also helps them to grow healthy and strong. Therefore, plant diseases cannot attack them easily.
Green beans can tolerate several types of soil, such as clay, loamy, and sandy soil. However, the soil must have good drainage. If the soil in your backyard doesn’t drain well, you can create a raised bed for the green beans to grow. As an alternative, you can also grow them in containers. Moreover, the soil must be fertile and slightly acidic to neutral.
Getting enough water is very important for the green beans to grow well. Water is especially important at the flowering stage. It will keep the plants flowering. Therefore, you must not let the soil dry.
When you are growing green beans, you have two types of plant that you can grow. One of them is pole beans. These are several things to know about them.
They can grow quite long. The runners or vines are about 2.4 to 3 m tall. If you want to grow them, you need to provide a trellis to support their growth.
2. Advantages of growing pole beans
You will get some advantages from growing this type of green beans. One of them is that they produce more beans. If you keep harvesting those seedpods, the plants will yield more beans continuously for a month or two. In addition, pole beans are resistant to disease.
3. Days of maturity
These green beans will mature in about 55 to 65 days. At this time, the plants will start flowering and producing the seedpods.
In growing green beans, particularly pole beans, you can try these popular cultivars.
It produces stringless beans. They are slender, delicious, and long, about 25 cm. If you want tastier Fortex beans, you must harvest the beans before they reach their mature size. Some gardeners harvest them when they are about 15 cm.
This cultivar of pole beans produces flavorful and tender beans. The size of the pods is a bit smaller than Fortex beans. At the mature stage, the pods are about 20 cm long. You can start harvesting them when they are 10 cm long or when they reach the mature size.
This cultivar produces unique pods. They are green with purple streaks. The size of the pods is between 15 cm and 20 cm long. Rattlesnake beans are easy to grow. This cultivar is perfect for you who live in warmer areas.
Another type of green beans that you can grow is bush beans. If you want to grow bush beans in your garden, you must check these out first.
Bush beans are smaller than pole beans. Their maximum height is only about 60 cm tall. Therefore, you don’t need to provide any support for the plants to grow.
Growing bush beans is great for you who do not have much time to take care of the plants. They are very easy to maintain. With less maintenance, you will have a satisfying harvest.
Bush beans offer you with fewer seedpods. It is because the harvesting period only lasts for two or three weeks.
4. Days of maturity
Bush beans require less time to reach maturity. It takes about 50 to 55 days for the plant to be ready for harvest.
Before you start growing green beans in your backyard, you need to consider these bush beans cultivars.
The bush bean cultivar is perfect for you who live in cool regions. It is also resistant to powdery mildew and other diseases. Provider produces smooth pods which size is about 12 cm long.
This variety of bush beans is only 40 cm tall. You can plant it in pots or directly to the ground. Mascotte produce green pods in large amount. The pods grow above the foliage. Therefore, you can pick them easily.
Among other bush beans cultivars, Contender is one of the cultivars that offer high yield. The seedpods are not slender like those of Mascotte. They are slightly curved and round.
Steps of Growing Green Beans
To grow this warm weather vegetable, you need to follow the steps of growing green beans.
1. Getting started
Starting the process of planting green beans is a bit different from planting other vegetable plants. It is because these plants can fix their own nitrogen. Therefore, if your backyard soil is moderately fertile, you don’t need to add compost or other types of fertilizer. But, if the soil in your backyard is poor, you must add 3 to 5 cm layer of compost.
In growing green beans, you must remember to choose a sunny spot. In addition, you must create a trellis or other kinds of support if you choose pole beans to grow. To improve the drainage of the soil, you may need to create a raised bed at this stage.
As an alternative, you can also grow the vegetables in containers. However, you need to choose to have containers in the right size. For a bush bean, you can choose a container which diameter is about 40 cm. Meanwhile, if you grow pole beans, the containers must be 45 cm in diameter. After you get the right containers, fill them in with the best potting mix.
2. Sowing the seeds
When the planting site is ready, you must sow the green bean seeds. Create a row of holes about 2.5 cm deep. If you grow pole beans, the holes must be 7.5 apart. But, if you grow bush beans, they must be 5 cm apart.
After you plant the seeds, you need to water the soil. Later on, you must keep the soil moist until the seedlings appear. If the seedlings have reached 5 cm tall, you can thin them so that the remainders are 15 cm apart.
If you are growing green beans in containers, you had better plan 2 or 3 seeds in one container. Then, when it is time for thinning, you can thin them so that you grow the healthiest seedling in each of the containers.
3. Caring for the plants
In most cases, you don’t need to fertilize the pole beans during their growing season. However, it is a good idea to add low nitrogen fertilizer after the plants bloom. This type of fertilizer will boost the yield of the plants.
In caring and growing green beans, you must water the plants regularly. These vegetable plants need 5 cm of water in a week. In addition, you can mulch the soil to maintain its moisture. Mulch will also protect your plants from weeds. If you need to remove weeds, you must do it carefully so that the green bean roots are not affected.
The best part of growing green beans is harvesting the pods. You must harvest the pods before they mature completely. Harvesting green beans when the seeds have not fully developed will give you tender and tasty pods.
If you want to have sweeter green beans, you must try to harvest them in the morning. When you are harvesting these pods, you must be careful in cutting them. If you are not careful, you may tear the plants. In consequence, they produce less pods.
Tips in Growing Green Beans
Green beans may not give you too much challenge. However, you can do many things to be successful in growing green beans. These are some tips you can follow.
1. Make sure that the soil is truly warm
Green bean seeds germinate best when the soil is warm. Therefore, you must wait until the soil temperature is warm enough before you start growing green beans. To make sure that the soil is warm enough, you can measure its temperature using a soil temperature.
2. Crop rotation
Some varieties of green beans are not resistant to plant diseases. Therefore, powdery mildew, rust, and other diseases will easily affect them. To avoid these diseases, you must not plant green beans in the same spot for two years in a row.
3. Harvest the pods every day
The more you harvest the pods, the more seedpods grow. Therefore, you must harvest the pods as often as possible. Some gardeners recommend daily harvest to boost the production of the beans.
4. Build the right support
If you grow pole beans, it is necessary for you to build the right support. This support can be in the form of trellis or beanpoles. The trellis or poles must be at least 2.1 m tall. At this height, you can reach for the beans easier. In addition, if you choose to have beanpoles, you need to make sure that they have a rough surface.
5. Direct seeding
To ensure your success in growing green beans, you must plant the seeds directly to the ground or to the containers. It is done to avoid transplanting shock since the seedlings do not transplant well.
6. Pinch the tops of the pole beans
Pole beans can grow quite tall. As a result, you will have difficulty in reaching for the pods. To avoid this difficulty, you need to pinch the tops of the pole beans when they almost reach the top of the trellis or beanpoles.
7. Successive planting every 2 weeks
To prolong your harvest, you need to plant the seeds successively. For best result, you can plant the seeds once every 2 weeks.
Growing green beans can be very rewarding. Therefore, you must try growing them in your garden. And if you follow the steps and tips above, you will get a nice harvest in the summer. To increase your chance of success, you must purchase the green bean seeds from reputable stores.