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Growing pole and bush green beans can be one of the most rewarding gardening experiences. They are easy to grow, have few pests and taste amazing! Check out this month by month garden planning guide for when to plant in the garden.
There are many varieties of green beans, so let’s talk about the differences. Bush beans grow tightly on a compact bush type plant. They don’t spread. You don’t have to trellis bush beans. And the produce mostly all at once. Pole beans, on the other hand, continue to grow throughout the season and produce more beans. But you have to trellis pole beans or give them something to grow up on.
Bush beans and pole beans come in a variety of colors including yellow, green and purple. They also have different textures depending on variety. Some have strings, some are stringless. And some green beans are waxy, some aren’t. Some are thick and flat while others are super tender and thin. There are also long beans that grow a foot to a yard long!
Best green beans to grow
When selecting your green bean seeds to grow, read the description of the green beans they grow on the package before you decide what kind to grow. My personal favorite to grow with the kids are Asian long beans or asparagus beans. They are also called snake beans. I like the long beans because they are stringless, they are more tender than traditional green beans, but more than anything, they are much easier to prepare. You just line up a handful of them and cut the stems off and then chop them into bite-sized pieces. The regular green beans take more effort.
I love to grow purple green beans. They turn green when cooked, but I love the bright purple color. It’s fun. My favorite tasting variety of green beans overall are Jade. They are tender, round, and produce well in our Oklahoma garden. They are a bush variety.
I like contender green beans because they grow fast and abundantly. I don’t like to eat dragon’s tongue green beans as well, but they grow in a GORGEOUS pod, so I love to grow them and pick the seeds out and just cook those. Scarlet runner beans have a beautiful flower and grow on a gorgeous vine. They take up a lot of trellis room, but put on a gorgeous show.
The Chinese red noodle bean is my favorite long bean to grow. I also like to grow the Chinese light green long bean as well.
Cooking green beans
I used to hate green beans. One year one of my daycare parents went out of town and I offered to water their garden for them because it was over 100 degrees every day then. They said they would love it and I could pick anything I wanted and use it. They had a ton of gorgeous green beans so I picked a batch to cook up for the kids. When I cooked them and tasted them, I was amazed at how wonderful they tasted and have been in love with them ever since.
I have even developed a world famous green bean recipe that teenagers ask for when they see me. (ones I used to keep) It’s crazy how your tastes can change or something just tastes far better when it’s home grown. If you don’t think you like green beans, give them another try!
How to grow bush beans
Planting green beans is simple. Make sure you have a good soil texture. If the soil is compacted, break it up and consider amending it with a little bit of compost to keep it light. Once you have the soil prepared. Plant your green bean seeds twice as deep as they are in diameter. About one to two knuckles deep depending on how big they are. Cover them with soil and pat it down about as hard as you would rub your eye. Not too hard.
Water them well daily until they sprout and then once a week give them a big drink. If it’s very hot, you can water them twice a week, but deep water less often grows stronger plants than shallow watering every day.
Plant your green been seeds about 1 foot apart so they have room to make bushes. Once they flower, start watching for green beans.
How to grow pole beans
Pole beans are about the same except you need to start with something for them to climb on. It can be a fence, a tomato cage, some lattice, whatever you have around that you can use as a trellis. You can plant pole bean seeds about 4 inches apart because they grow straight up.
How to grow green beans in containers
Green beans would grow great in a container. Anything that is at least 12 inches across would be great. It would be easier to grow bush beans in a container but if you set your pot against a fence or something for the pole beans to climb on, you could do pole beans as well.
When you harvest your first handful of delicious green beans, you are going to be so glad you planted them. You can even enjoy them raw. If you grow too many green beans to eat at once, there are plenty of ways to preserve them for later too!
There are some crops that are easier to grow and are more nutrient and calorie dense that will save you the most money on your food budget as money gets tighter and tighter. Check out the essential crops to grow for a survival garden here.
For more easy vegetables to grow from seed, click here.