All beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are one of two types: bush beans, or pole beans. Bush beans grow on sturdy, shrubby plants, while pole beans grow on long vines that need external support, such as fence or trellis. Both types have their merits. Bush beans don't need to be trained, but pole beans are higher yielding and easier to harvest. Both can be found in an abundant selection of colors and lengths, and with round or flat pods.
For more growing tips on vegetable varieties, visit our Vegetable Growing Guide.
Habit: Bush beans: Compact, shrubby, upright plants; pole beans: long, twining vines.
Days to Harvest: 50 to 60 days on average, up to 85 for very long types.
When to Plant: Beans are sensitive to cold and do not transplant well. Direct-sow seed outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. You can sow seed every 2 to 4 weeks for continuous harvesting.
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Good topsoil enriched with organic matter is neccessary.
Watering: Keep moist for best production.
Fertilizing: Fertilize throughout the season with an organic vegetable fertilizer.
Pest Problems: Mexican bean beetles skeletonize foliage; look on the underside of the leaves for the fuzzy yellow caterpillar-like larvae and the adults, which look like yellow ladybugs. These should be handpicked and destroyed. Many bean varieties are bred to be resistant to common fungal and bacterial disease.
When to Harvest: Harvest when pods are firm but well before the seeds within have developed fully. Harvest frequently to encourage production.