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Fruit and Vegetable Gardening A-Z: Beans

A Guide to Gardening, Growing, and Harvesting Edibles

-- By Jenny Sigler, SparkPeople Contributor

Beans are one of the most popular vegetables on the planet and luckily, they're easy to cultivate. Bush beans are popular for their compact size and high yield. Pole beans, just as the name implies, grow on vines that require a trellis or other structure on which to climb. They take up more vertical space but yield more than bush beans. You can dry, can, or freeze your beans or eat them fresh.

Hardiness Zones:
Varies by type. Some type of bean can grow in every gardening zone. (Find your hardiness zone.)

When to Plant:
Directly sow the seeds into the ground after all danger of frost has passed in mid-spring. Bush beans provide a continual harvest when successively sown every two weeks.

Conditions:
Beans love warm, sunny place in the garden with well aerated soil.

Space Needed:
Pole beans can reach upwards of 12 feet high! Check your seed packet before putting up a trellis to determine how high it needs to be. Space each trellis about 4 feet apart. Bush beans need about 18 inches of space with 6 inches between each plant.

Maintenance:
Beans enjoy a little extra nitrogen and moderately rich soil. When the plants begin to produce beans, thin them to every 6 inches.

When to Harvest:
Beans mature in about 55-70 days, depending on the variety. Pick beans when they form firm, smooth pods of your desired length.

Average Yield:
With one packet of seeds, you can expect 4-5 pickings to produce upwards of 5 pounds of beans.

Continuous Yield:
Your plants will stop producing beans during the hottest part of the summer, but they'll begin again when the heat dies down.

Life Cycle:
Annual

Difficulty Rating (1-5):
1

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