How to Grow Green Beans

Four Parts:PreparationsPlantingDaily and Long-Term CareHarvesting and Storage

Green beans are sensitive to certain conditions, you should water them daily, but overall, they are a moderately simple crop to grow in the summer and fall. You can grow both bush and pole varieties under the same basic conditions. No matter which you choose, here's what you need to do.

Part 1

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    Choose which variety of green bean to plant. The two basic green bean varieties are bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans spread out horizontally while pole beans need to climb vertically.
    • Recommended bush varieties for most regions include Bush Blue Lake and Bountiful.
    • Recommended pole varieties for most regions include Fortex and Kentucky Wonder.
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    Pick a sunny spot for your crop. Green beans need plenty of sunlight to grow properly, so try to choose an area of your garden that receives full sun for your planting site.
    • Since green beans do not do well in heavily-moist soil, you should avoid shaded locations, since shade tends to help soil retain moisture for prolonged periods.
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    Amend the soil, if needed. Green beans thrive in loamy soil, so if your garden has heavy clay soil or sandy soil, you should amend it with organic material before planting your green beans.
    • Loamy soil is dark and crumbly. Test the soil by squeezing it in your hands. Clay soil stays in a ball and sandy soil falls apart completely. Loamy soil will hold its shape initially yet break apart when touched.
    • If working with clay soil, spread 2 inches (5 cm) of manure or compost over the soil and work it into the top 1 foot (30.5 cm) of soil using a shovel or garden fork. You could also mix sawdust or sand into the soil if it is especially heavy.
    • If working with sandy soil, spread the same amount of heavy manure or compost into the soil in the same manner, but skip the sawdust.
    • No matter what type of soil you have, you should also make sure that the area is free of weeds, trash, stones, and other debris.
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    Apply fertilizer to the soil before planting the seeds. Green beans do not require a vast amount of nutrients, but a light application of fairly balanced fertilizer can help your plants produce a better crop.
    • Lightly apply a 10-20-10 fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is slightly richer in phosphorus than in nitrogen or potassium, so it is good for producing a strong crop yield.[1]

Part 2

  1. Image titled Grow Green Beans Step 5
    Sow the seeds outdoors after the last spring frost. The absolute minimal soil temperature for green bean seeds is 48 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius). If the soil temperature drops below this, even at night, the seeds may not germinate well.
    • The best soil temperature during the planting stage is 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.8 degrees Celsius), however. Ideally, the temperature should warm to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) once the plants reach the emergence stage.
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    Set up a trellis, if necessary. A trellis or other fencing is not necessary if you are planting bush beans, but if you are going with a pole variety, growing the crop without some form of trellis will severely hinder the growth and yield of your plants.
    • The simplest support you can provide for pole beans is a cattle panel. This is a small section of wire fence measuring about 16 by 5 feet (4.9 by 1.5 m). Simply set up the fence behind your growing area before planting the seeds.[2]
    • You could also use a traditional pyramid trellis or a metal or plastic stake. Position either one just behind the planting location and make sure that the bottom 4 inches (10 cm) or so are underground.
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    Plant each seed 1 to 2 inches (2 1/2 to 5 cm) deep. Each seed should also be about 2 to 4 inches apart and covered lightly with loose soil.
    • If your soil is a little on the sandy side, plant the seeds a little deeper.
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    Apply mulch. A standard wood chip mulch works well with green beans. Mulch can prevent the soil from getting too cool or too warm, and it also helps the soil retain enough moisture.
    • Other good mulches include weathered straw and untreated lawn clippings.
    • Mulch can also help prevent the spread of weeds.
    • Apply roughly 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) of mulch over the plants after the soil has started to warm up.
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    Sow additional seeds every two weeks. You can continue sowing green bean seeds every two weeks if you want a continual harvest of that lasts all summer and into fall.
    • Skip a planting if you plan to be gone with the green beans are ready to harvest.
    • Note, however, that excessively hot weather may cause the plants to drop their blossoms and pods prematurely. If you live in a region known for particularly hot summers, you may need to put a stop to your green bean growing season during the hottest months.
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    Stop 10 to 12 weeks before the first expected frost of fall. For a final fall crop of green beans, you should sow the seeds roughly 3 months before you expect the first frost to hit. The time of your first frost will vary depending on the region you live in.
    • If the first frost occurs before your final crop of green beans is ready to harvest, the buds or pods may drop prematurely. This is true even if the frost only occurs at night and the daytime temperatures are still within the ideal range.

Part 3
Daily and Long-Term Care

  1. Image titled Grow Green Beans Step 11
    Water regularly. Water plants in the morning and skip waterings on cloudy or rainy days. Water on sunny days so that the moisture does not soak the foliage.
    • Avoid soaking the seeds before planting or immediately after planting. When exposed to excessive moisture, green bean seeds have a tendency to crack and break.
    • Later in the growth cycle, too much or too little water can cause the blossoms and pods to drop prematurely.
    • Give the plants about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water weekly.
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    Apply balanced fertilizer sparingly. Green beans can actually grow well with minimal nutrients, and applying too much fertilizer could actually cause an overabundance of foliage yet a small yield of actual green beans.
    • As a general rule, you should only apply fertilizer if the nutrient levels of your soil are particularly low in a given area.
    • If your soil is nutrient-deprived, you can fertilize the plants once a week with a light application of balanced, fast-release fertilizer.
    • Green beans prefer soils with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If your soil is especially acidic or basic, you might need to apply fertilizers formulated to balance the soil pH.
    • If your soil is somewhat on the sandy side, you might need to apply a fertilizer rich in nitrogen once the first seedlings form and once more once the plants reach their bud stage.
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    Remove weeds as needed. Weeds can choke out green beans, making it difficult for them to emerge from the surface and strangling them once they do. Remove weeds as soon as you spot them to ensure a good crop of green beans.
    • When removing weeds, do not dig too deep. Green beans have shallow roots, and digging too deep into the soil can cause damage to these roots.
    • Do not weed when the foliage is wet since doing so would increase the risk of disease.
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    Watch out for pests and diseases. There are a few pests and diseases that green beans commonly fall victim to. Treat the plants with organic insecticides and fungicides as needed to keep these problems under control.
    • Green beans are especially attractive to aphids, mites, cutworms, Mexican bean beetles, and Japanese beetles, and are especially weak against white mold and mosaic viruses.
    • Get rid of cutworms with a Bacillus thuringiensis insecticide. Get rid of aphids and mites by hosing them off your leaves with water.
    • Neem oil and sulfur are usually adequate fungicides.

Part 4
Harvesting and Storage

  1. Image titled Grow Green Beans Step 15
    Pick the green beans during an immature stage. The pods should be firm, and you should be able to snap them off the plant without tearing the stems.
    • Note that the seeds inside should not be allowed to fully develop. At a fully developed, mature stage, the inner seeds will turn hard.
    • Green beans are usually about the size of a small pencil when ready to harvest.
    • Harvest usually takes place 50 to 60 days from planting and 15 to 18 days after the full bloom stage.
  2. 2
    Store the green beans in a refrigerator. Keep harvested green beans in an airtight container and store for about 4 to 7 days in your refrigerator.
    • Freeze, can, or pickle green beans for long-term storage.


  • Rotate your crops each year for optimal growth. It is recommended that you give the soil three years of non-legume crops in between green bean plantings. Grain crops, like wheat and corn, are the best options, but stay away from broccoli and cauliflower. This improves the quality of your soil and helps prevent disease.
  • It is best not to water your green bean plants during the middle of day as evaporation can occur.
  • You should not start green beans inside. The plants have weak root systems and may not survive when transplanted outside.

Things You'll Need

  • Manure, compost, or sawdust (as needed)
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Trellis or similar vertical support
  • Mulch
  • Garden hose
  • Insecticide and pesticide (as needed)
  • Airtight container

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