Vegetable gardens are well underway! There are many vegetables my family grew when I was growing up, including beans. My mother and grandmother canned green beans every year and they were the best tasting vegetables you could imagine.
Beans are a tender, warm season crop that is popular in Kansas gardens as either a spring crop or a fall crop. Snap or green beans are grown for their tender immature pods. Some beans can be allowed to fill, and the bean seeds can be harvested for later use. Some beans are “pole” types that require a large trellis to climb.
Contender, Provider, Tendercrop, Strike, Blue Lake, and Dusky are common green bush type beans. Cherokee Wax, Majestic, and Goldcrop are yellow bush type beans. Kentucky Wonder and Pole Blue Lake are large vined, pole beans. Broad, flat ‘Italian or Romano’ beans include Roma, Greencrop, or Bush Romano.
When to plant.
Beans are sensitive to cold temperatures. Soil temperatures should be 55–60°F with danger of freezes well past before planting. Fall beans can be planted in early August. You can have a continuous supply by planting at intervals several weeks apart. However, beans planted to bloom in hot, dry weather frequently will be of poor quality.
Plant seeds about an inch deep in rows that are 18 inches apart. A plant every 3–5 inches is desirable, so drop seed about every 2–4 inches. Plant pole beans 6–12 inches apart.
Do not soak bean seeds before planting. Moisten the soil to provide moisture for germination, but do not water to form a tight crust. Beans have a shallow root system and require careful cultivation, good weed control, and water in dry periods. Beans are sensitive to soil salts; avoid alkali spots or “salty” locations.
Harvest snap beans when the pod is crisp and before the seeds enlarge significantly. Do not harvest in early morning when dew is on the plants as this may spread bacterial blight. Most newer varieties of beans are developed to set a large number of pods at one time for a more concentrated harvest. Harvest lima beans and horticultural beans when the pods are fully formed and seeds have enlarged to the degree you desire.
By: Scott Eckert, Harvey County Extension Agent, Horticulture