Having a backyard vegetable garden can be a lot of work, even if the end results are ultimately very rewarding. It can help you to be self-sufficient, increase the sustainability of your food sources, and lower your environmental impact. Of course, not every fruit or vegetable will ultimately flourish in your yard or your home. Oddly enough, learning how to grow green beans at home is fairly easy, and the results can be quite bountiful, indeed.
Why grow green beans?
If my Nonno has taught me anything at all about gardening, it’s that the best and most sustainable crops are those that you can replant season after season. Green beans are one such plant. Their seeds are easy to find, easy to access, easy to dry out, and if you’re doing things right, liable to flourish with each subsequent planting. They also happen to be utterly delicious and exceptionally nutritious.
Green beans are a low-calorie food that contain many key nutrients including vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin K, and silicon. They can be sautéed, baked, grilled, blanched, or deep-fried — if you’re looking to counteract the nutritional elements, that is. The point is, there are a number of reasons to grow them in your backyard garden.
How to start a backyard bean garden
Starting a backyard garden isn’t easy, especially if you’re planning to grow green beans. Despite being a vine, full green bean plants take up quite a lot of real estate in a garden. Look for a space that has plenty of sunlight and open ground, and remember to plant sturdy support poles like a trellis, teepee, netting, or a tunnel. Old pieces of chain-link fence actually work quite well for this purpose and serve as an additional recycling element to your home garden. You can get them from local parks or sanitation departments if you ask nicely enough.
What types of green beans should I grow?
There are many different varieties of beans that can be grown in backyard gardens or even large flower pots inside your home. The two most common are bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans tend to mature quickly and only grow between 12 and 24 inches tall. The seeds are sown in late Spring and they come to harvest between seven to eight weeks after that, lasting for around three weeks total.
Pole beans are a little more expansive as they need a trellis or a pole to grow. They can reach between eight and 10 feet tall and are harvestable within 11 to 12 weeks. The longer maturation time is justified by a longer harvest season of between six to eight weeks. It all depends on what type of room you have and how long you’re willing to wait for your beans.
When should I plant green beans?
Green beans are a warm-weather vegetable and most experts — including my Nonno — agree that they should be planted after the last spring frost has cleared. If the soil is too cold, the beans could rot and fail to germinate. It’s best to aim to seed when the soil has reached about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you’re looking for timelier beans, you can always plant them indoors in smaller pots before the outside ground has thawed out.
Do green beans need a lot of upkeep?
Green beans do not have a lot of upkeep at all. They require moderately fertile, well-drained soil and at least some direct sunlight. Keep watch for snails, slugs, or Mexican bean beetles, both of which can munch away at your leaves and stymie bean production. Beans are also susceptible to fungal diseases, so water them early if you can. That way, they dry out before nightfall. Like most vegetables, green beans need quite a bit of water. If the rain has been inconsistent or absent, be sure to water regularly.
How do I harvest green beans?
The more you pick your green beans, the higher your yield will be, as the plant will produce new pods every time you pick some off. Most beans are ready at between 3 and 6 inches long. To pick green beans, Harvest to Table recommends cutting or snapping beans off of the plant; never tear the pods from branches.
Check your plant daily once it starts producing green beans, and pick them often. You should be able to pick beans every few days during peak production. And don’t worry if you have too many.