Beans are one of the favorite vegetables that gardeners in North America will attempt to grow in their home gardens. Generally, beans can be divided into three categories, shell beans, snap beans, and dry beans. Whatever kind of bean you choose will have the same growing instructions and conditions, and you should have a plentiful crop as long as the summer is a warm one.
When you choose the location for the beans, make sure the site is in full sun, has a soil pH of about 5.5 to 7.5, and make sure that you wait until all signs of frost have passed before you start to sow your seeds. The soil temperature should be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit before you plant the beans.
Make sure you plant the beans in a well-fertilized spot in your garden. Beans capture nitrogen from the air, so make sure the soil contains the other essential ingredients, phosphorus, and potassium. So for the fertilizer use something like 10-20-10. Before planting hoe the plot where you want to plant the beans to ensure well-aired soil and loose good growing conditions.
Sow the seeds about one inch deep and 2-3 inches apart, in rows about 18-25 inches apart. If possible, use the fungicide-treated seed to protect the seedling early in the growing cycle. You can position the supports if you are growing pole beans at this point since you will not accidentally pierce the root of the growing plants. Water the beans after planting and if possible plant right before a heavy rainfall.
One the seedlings emerge from the soil, thin them to about six inches apart, and even more room between them if you are growing the seed in a humid climate to ensure good air circulation around each bean plant. Water the beans about once a week in dry weather, and watch the plants especially when they are blooming. At the first sign of limp leaves water, the plant since if you don’t the blooms will drop and you will have a much smaller harvest.
During the growing season weed regularly and hoe the soil around the bean plants. Make sure when hoeing you don’t dig very deep since the bean roots tend to be quite shallow, and you don’t want to damage them. After the plants start to flower fertilize the beans again to ensure a good crop.
When you notice that the pods are firm and crisp and when they are completely grown it is time for harvest. Make sure you pick the beans when the plants are dry so you don’t spread bean bacterial blight, which would seriously damage the plant. Only pick the ripe beans letting the other ones mature. The bean plant will continue to produce new flowers and more beans if you pick the pods before the seed matures.
If you would like to freeze beans for the winter, boil the beans in salted water (1 tablespoon for 6 liters) until they just turn a dark green color. Then take them out of the water, place them into airtight bags, and freeze them right away. That way you can enjoy your homegrown beans even on a cold winter evening.