Growing Green Beans:
How to Grow Green Beans Organically

Growing green beans is a fun and fairly simple gardening project – and green beans are a vegetable that even the kids love!

There are many different types available, and most can be found in the form of a bush bean (grows as a bush) and a pole bean (grows up a support). Other than the support, pole and bush beans have the same growing requirements. Since pole beans are easier to pick and yield many more pods per plant, we tend to lean in that direction.

Growing Green Beans: Plant Snapshot (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Growing Green Beans
  • Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
  • Annual or Perennial? Annual – 45-85 days to maturity
  • Recommended varieties: Cherokee Trail of Tears, Jumbo, Goldmine, Green Crop
  • Cold tolerance: Warm Season – Will not survive frost and their seeds will not germinate in cold soil. Plant them at about the average date of the last 32 degree F (0 degree C) temperature in spring
  • Required Sun: Full sun (at least 6 hours each day)
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: Plants that do not belong to the Fabaceae family. Do not rotate with other beans or peas.
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: Carrots, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marigold, Peas, Radish, Rosemary, Savory, Tansy
    • Avoid: Fennel, Basil, Beets, Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Sunflower
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Planting Green Beans

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Green beans are easy to grow from seed, but they must be planted with the eye of the seed facing down after all danger of frost has passed. Make sure the soil is continually moist until the plant germinates and that the bed has good drainage.

Because some varieties can take a long time to mature, it's best to plant them as soon as the soil warms sufficiently. Some varieties are more tolerant of very hot weather than others, so those in warmer climates should choose their variety carefully.

Upon planting, fertilize with a liquid organic garden fertilizer.

Snapshot: Planting Green Beans

  • Planting depth: about 1 inch deep for seed (3 cm)
  • Spacing in rows for bush beans: for bush, about 4 inches (10 cm) between plants in rows with 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm) between rows
  • Spacing in rows for pole beans: in hills for poles, about 15 inches (38 cm) apart (4 plants per hill); in rows for trellises, about 3 inches (8 cm) apart
  • Germination soil temperature: 70 to 85 degrees F (21 to 29 degrees C)
  • Days to germination: 7 to 14
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Growing Green Beans: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

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Green beans require soil that is not too heavy, so if you have clay soil, you'll need to amend yours with some sand or vermiculite to lighten it up.

Water the plants as closely to the ground as possible (a drip system works the best) as getting the leaves wet can lead to disease. As long as you have relatively fertile soil, additional fertilizing should not be necessary.

Snapshot: Growing Green Beans

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6.0 to 7.5
  • Growing soil temperature: 60 to 75 degrees F (16 to 24 degrees C)
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Growing Green Beans: Harvesting Time

Larger beans tend to be tough and stringy, so harvest your green beans when they’re 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 cm) long and about the diameter of a pencil. You'll need to harvest every 2 to 3 days.

Be certain not to leave beans on the vine, or production will stop. Most green beans are high producers, so it’s not unusual to end up with far more than you can use. If this is the case, allow the pods to mature into shell beans for a treat of a different sort.

Snapshot: Harvesting Green Beans

  • Time to harvest: 45 to 85 days, depending upon variety
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Storing Green Beans and Freezing Green Beans

Green beans can be stored in the warmest part of the refrigerator for about a week. Use perforated bags for best results - they freeze beautifully.

Prepare them for cooking by washing and snapping off the ends. Then blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling water before freezing. They can also be canned.

Snapshot: Storing Green Beans & Freezing Green Beans

  • Snapshot: Storing Green beans & Freezing Green beans
  • Storage temperature: 40 to 50 degrees F (4.4 to 10 degrees C)
  • Humidity: 80 to 90% relative humidity
  • Storage life: 7 days
  • Storage life (frozen): about 6 months
  • Seed longevity: About 3 years
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Growing Green Beans: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Green Beans. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Armyworm
  • Bean Weevils
  • Corn Earworms
  • Cucumber Beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Darkling Beetles
  • Earwigs
  • Grasshoppers
  • Leafhoppers
  • Leafminers
  • Loopers
  • Lycaeaid Pod Borers
  • Lygus Bugs
  • Nematodes
  • Salt Marsh Caterpillars
  • Seedcom Maggots
  • Snails/slugs
  • Spider Mites
  • Stink Bugs
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies
  • Wireworms

Diseases

  • Bean Rust
  • Curly Top
  • Damping off
  • Fusarium Root Rot
  • Powdery Mildew
  • White Mold
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Green Beans

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