With their large seeds, beans are simple to sow, and they're just as easy to grow. Plant their seeds straight into the garden and get ready for quick sprouting and growth.
Choose your type: pole or bush. Pole beans require a support, take longer to mature and produce beans for picking over a long period. Bush beans are compact, with no need for a support. They mature more quickly, lending themselves to succession planting. Their beans are ready to pick over a shorter period, so you may need to can, freeze or share some of the harvest.
Wait until your soil temperature remains above 50 degrees (F)to sow bean seeds. However they will do better if you wait a bit longer, until the soil temp rises into the 60s. Beans do not like cold, damp feet, so to speak.
Sow the seeds about an inch deep, leaving at least four to six inches between seeds in a row. In general, rows should be two to four feet apart. Use the lower measurements for bush beans and the higher measurements for pole beans, as they require more space. Always refer to the seed packet for the best spacing for your chosen variety.
If you're growing pole beans, which require support, insert stakes or a trellis when you sow the seeds. That way they will be ready for you to train and tie the stems onto them. Bush beans do not require supports.
Keep the soil evenly moist from the time of sowing throughout the life of the bean plants. Beans do not need fertilizer but they do require even moisture, so be sure to water them if rainfall is scarce or inconsistent.
Bush beans typically produce all their beans over a period of a few weeks. Keep picking the beans as they're ready because this will encourage the plant to keep producing. Once the plant stops, pull it out and replace it with a different crop, or another round of bush beans.
Pole beans, on the other hand, generally keep producing smaller quantities of beans over a couple months. As with bush beans, pick frequently to prolong production.
Photo credit: Vicki Burton/CC BY-SA 2.0