I’m a big fan of green beans in stir fries but I just hate it when people overcook this vegetable (if it doesn’t still have a snap, it’s overcooked).
When to Plant
The biggest problem with beans is that gardeners try to rush the season and plant them too early. The ground temperature should be around 15 C (mid-60’s F) before you put a bean seed into the ground. If you’re using untreated beans, this translates into the first week of June in a zone 4 garden. If you succumb and purchase fungicide treated beans, you can plant a week or two earlier. The warmer the soil – the better the germination rate.
If you want some good beans, plan on sowing every two weeks until the end of June or middle of July in warmer areas. This should give you enough fresh beans to keep you harvesting and enjoying the plants until frost knocks them down.
Where to Plant
In full sun in a good soil. Soils high in organic matter produce better crops.
How to Plant
Seeds should be planted so they are approximately 5-8 cm (2 to 4-inches) apart in the row and the rows should be 60 cm (24-inches) apart. Do not plant them too deeply – no more than 1.5 – 2 cm (3-quarters – to 1-inch deep).
Deeper is simply burying, not sowing.
Care & Maintenance
Compost tilled into the garden before planting will get the beans going as soon as they germinate.
Green beans drying on the vine so you can save the seeds from year to year
A single plant will give approximately a single meal for two people, so plan according to the number of people and the number of meals you want.
Never plant a white seeded bean too early. White seeds have a thinner seed coat and absorb water too fast so that early seeds start to emerge, get too cold and die.
As with most vegetable plants, do not work in the garden when the plants are wet. Bean rust, anthracnose and blight is easily spread by moisture on the plant and to nearby plants.
In seed catalogues, you’ll see several kinds of beans described.
Shipping beans – these have extra fibre to stop the bean from cracking and breaking during shipping. Don’t grow these beans if you’re going to freeze them. This is the preferred bean of the big stores as they have a good cosmetic appeal.
Fresh market beans are tender but they get lumpy quickly as the bean inside matures. They’re ugly and they contain a medium amount of fibre. But they taste good. Harvest regularly to avoid the lumpy look.
Processing and Gourmet beans have the least amount of fibre and are extremely tender. These are the beans for freezing or canning. They are more influenced by bad or cold weather so never plant them early. They do get lumpy because there’s no fibre in them to hold them slim but even when lumpy, they taste very good.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cm
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm