Sow in average soil in a sunny location after danger of frost and soil has warmed, from spring to midsummer. For bush beans, sow in rows 18-30" apart, sow seeds 3" apart and cover with 1" of fine soil. Firm lightly. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days. For bush beans keep sowing bean seeds every 2 weeks for a constant supply of delicious beans. Lima beans require warmer soil and air temperatures than snap beans to germinate. For pole beans, sow seeds 1" deep and 3" apart in a row along a trellis, netting or fence. Or set poles solidly into ground 2-3' apart and sow 6-8 beans 1" deep around each pole.
How to Grow Beans
Thin gradually to stand 4-6" apart when seedlings are 1-2" high. In dry weather, keep soil
well-watered. Cultivate or mulch to keep weed-free, but do not work or handle plants when
leaves are wet. Bean plants may stop producing beans at the hottest point of summer. When temperatures back down, bean pods will again begin to develop. Pole bean plants bear more pods over a long time and can last till first frost.
How to Harvest Beans
Beans can be harvested in around 60-75 days. Pick beans often to keep plants productive.
Soybeans: Can be picked for fresh shell beans in about 85 days. Put pods in boiling water for
several minutes to make shelling easier. Or let pods mature and dry well before shelling. Filet
Beans: Harvest when pods are completely smooth, with no sign of seed formation. The ideal is
1/8" thick and 4-8" long (depending on variety). Pods will get too stringy and large when not
harvested frequently. Snap beans: Harvest once the pods begin to swell which is the sign of the
best flavor. Purple beans will turn green after two minutes of cooking. Shell beans: Flageolets
grown for fresh use should be harvested as soon as beans are formed and separate from the pod.
For dry beans, let the pods dry completely on the plant. Lima beans: Harvest when pods swell and show bulges from the beans inside.
Planted closely in rows spaced around two feet, bush bean plants blend well with like-sized warm-season vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. Between towers of pole bean plants, planting vines like squash can help keep weeds down. Pole beans can help protect cool-season vegetables such as spinach and lettuces, as the weather warms.