growing beans, sowing beans, planting beans

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Who doesn’t like those fresh crispy green beans? At the right time of the season, they are a real treat. In my country, Belgium I always look forward to the months of Juli and August to get my good part of green beans.

What are beans?

growing beans, haricot beans

Green beans and most beans, in general, are part of the Leguminosae, together with peas, mung beans, and peanuts. Most parts of the beans are part of the Phaseolus Vulgaris species. However, in this species, there’s a ton of different bean plants that are known to men and they differ from color to size to growth pattern. Something really typical of beans, being part of the Leguminosae family, is the fact that they have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that can fix nitrogen in the ground derived from the air around the plants.


 Where to grow beans?

Beans like the soil to be airy and warm. It’s not necessary to add any nitrogen to the soil because they can fix the nitrogen in the soil themselves. If you want to add compost to the soil, make sure to mix the compost real good in the soil and let the soil rest for at least a week before you plant your beans. I personally always start my beans indoors which gives me a time advantage and I avoid problems with the bean fly. The larva of the bean fly can be a disaster for the seeds and the seedlings when just planted out. Once you see the first real leaves, there won’t be any problem anymore.

How to take care of beans?


growing beans pole beans

The root system of beans is very shallow and thus very sensitive to too much or too little water. So try to be as constant as possible when watering the plants. Some people make a gully next to the plants to water the plants when in flower. A water deficiency is characterized by imperfect and smaller pods.

avoid fresh compost when growing beans

Avoid a top layer of fresh compost or manure because it attracts the bean fly. As with potatoes, too much organic fertilizer can provide a much too luxuriant growth of the leaves with almost no pods as a result. (with potatoes, you have a huge aboveground plant with only a few potatoes underneath.)



Beans don’t like a ph below 6 so if the soil is too acidic, you’ll have to add some calcium. Also, beans like phosphor and potassium. If you amend your soil at intervals with fresh compost (not when growing the beans) there will be no lack of nutrients.

 salt limits for growing beans

Although I would never recommend using chemical fertilizer I do want to warn those who do use it, be careful with fertilizing beans because they have really low tolerance toward salts.


The soil temperature should be at least above 12°C (about 53°F) before you start sowing. The air temperature should have an average of 15°C (59°F) If you want to be a month ahead, you can start sowing the seeds in pots under glass or indoors. But be warned, the slightest frost and the plants will die off.
If you have frost in your region, make sure that the last plants are planted at least 3 months before the first frost. If you plant too late you’ll lose your harvest.
It’s possible to hill the plants just before flowering, some people already hill the plants when they see the first real leaves.

Bush beans

Bush beans will produce earlier but will give a smaller harvest. The plant grows about 40cm high. If you choose to grow pole beans, you can have different kinds having an early or a late harvest but you have to make sure that the system to let the beans grow up (about 3 meters in height) is really sturdy because once it’s fully overgrown, the wind will pull it from side to side.

 crop rotation

Always provide crop rotation, it’s best to just grow the beans once every four years in the same place.

How to harvest beans?

beans ready to blanchBe careful when harvesting beans. I have the tendency to carefully cut off the beans especially for stake beans because it’s very much possible that the lower parts of the bean plants are already producing while the top is still flowering. Don’t damage the plant until there are no beans left. Plus, if you plant early and late varieties, you ‘ll have a longer lasting harvest.



Bean fly

There are quite some small critters that really like to devour your beans and bean-plants, one of them is the bean fly. Once the plant is mature enough the bean fly won’t do any harm anymore to the plant but especially seed and seedlings are prone to attacks of this fly. Then there still is the bean beetle and slugs that can stress your plants so check regularly.


If you choose not to grow mold resistant species you’ll have to check the plants regularly. You’ll have to check especially when the soil and environment are wet for a longer period of time. You can still save the plant if only a small part of the plant is damaged, although growth could be stunted for a while.


This article will give you a tremendous head start on growing beans.

There are still some other diseases not explained here. If you have a problem, take a picture and contact me, I’ll help you out any way I can. If I get the right pictures, I’ll adapt this message.

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