By Zachary Morton
A staple food in many homes, green beans are starting to spring up in many people’s gardens. Unlike many crops that need to be planted in early to mid-spring, green beans can be planted later on. Which is good news for those who are behind on planting.
Cooperative agent Jeff Goforth offers some advice for planting beans.
When is the best time to plant green beans?
I don’t mind planting my green beans early. You can start around April 15 and you can continue to plant them on up into the summer. And then you can plant them on over into the fall of the year.
What’s the best way to plant beans?
If you have a seed planter, use it for the easiest way to plant the seeds. Of course, I’ve planted them for a number of years without one. You can take and plant them by hand using a hoe to make a hole. I normally direct seed both of these.
There are basically two varieties: bush and pole green beans. What is the difference?
Just how long the vine grows. Bush beans grow tight and will stand up on their own. Your pole beans will have a little bit longer internodes in there, and the way they grow, there better off if their staked.
Should I use a fertilizer when planting?
If you have been gardening an area for a while, or if you’re turning in under sod, I probably wouldn’t use a fertilizer. Beans can fix their own nitrogen a little bit. When you start putting fertilizer down and getting it too strong, you will increase the amount of root rot that you get with beans and peas. So it’s easy to overdo that. I typically will plant them with very little fertilizer.
Should I stake or use a trellis on beans like you would for tomatoes?
It depends on the cultivar on the beans. If you get a bush bean, like a derby, then they don’t need staking. And that’s what I’ve gone to in my garden, and there string less. If you have a cultivar, such as a half runner that runs up a poll, then you’ll need to get a trellis on it. You’ll get a lot prettier bean and a lot more of them than if you were to lay them on the ground.
What are some problem pest’s to keep an eye out for?
On your beans, some years, you’ll wind up with the Mexican bean leaf beetle. And they can be fairly devastating, and you’ll want to keep an eye out on them. Sometimes Japanese beetles come in and like beans pretty good too. There is also a weevil on the beans that will come in and puncture the fruit itself. And if you’re taking anything to market, you’ll want to keep an eye out for that.
When should I harvest beans?
Green beans need to be picked once they size up to the size you want. If you leave them on there, they get a little bit harder and tougher.
Goforth also recommends keeping an ample amount of water on you crop.
“Beans like a steady amount of water right on. So any week when you don’t get an inch of rain, adding some will help.”