Seeds seem so tiny and when planting them, you may be unsure of how far away to plant them. This can especially happen with green beans as they grow, making it harder to understand spacing. Learn more about planting green beans.
How far apart do you plant green beans: When planting green bean seeds, space them 2 inches apart. After the seedlings start to sprout, thin excess plants so there is a 6-inch gap between plants. If you plan for rows of green beans, keep 18 to 20 inches of space in between.
Reasons why you should consider spacing when planting green beans
No matter how fertile your soil is, there is a finite amount of resources. Too many plants in one area and there will be a battle for those nutrients.
Proper spacing allows for each plant to have access to enough nutrients. It also allows for plant roots to spread out, which makes the whole plant stronger.
Proper airflow between plants will cut down on the incubation and spread of disease. When plants have enough airflow, they can dry out between watering, not spread disease as the leaves aren’t touching, and have more access to sunlight which makes them stronger.
The goal of planting a food crop is to have a large, healthy harvest. If green beans are too close together, the beans won’t have enough space to grow and the overall plant will be stunted, resulting in a smaller yield.
Proper spacing for planting green beans
Ideally, you should plant green bean seeds 2 inches apart. However, once they start to grow, thin the seedlings until they are 6 inches apart.
There’s never a guarantee that all seeds will take. This is why you want to plant more, just in case. It might seem like a waste but it’s better to have too many bean plants sprout than not enough.
As for depth, beans are larger than other types of seeds, so they need to be at least 1 inch deep. Don’t cover them more than this, however, as it can make it too hard for the seeds to start the germination process.
Finally, if you are growing rows of beans, space the rows about 18 to 20 inches apart. This will allow you to walk between the rows to harvest the beans. The spacing will also give ample room for the foliage to grow.
Tips for growing green beans
Always wait until the threat of frost has passed before planting green beans. Even if you think the weather is starting to warm up, research your local last frost date and wait until then to plant.
If you have the space, you should also consider succession planting. This is when you plant bean seeds once, then wait a week and plant them again, before waiting a final week for one last planting.
Thanks to succession planting, you will have a larger harvest that is spread out over a few weeks instead of your green beans ready all at once.
If you have a very long growing season, you can spread your seed planting out every two or three weeks as beans don’t take long to grow.
Before you start planting, ensure you have a proper support structure in place. Many gardeners forget this step and try to place the support around growing beans, which can inadvertently damage them.
Pole beans especially need a large, sturdy structure as they can grow to be over 7 feet tall. You can use a trellis or an archway to support your beans.
Bush beans don’t need as much support as pole beans but they will still benefit from something later on. You can try wooden stakes or a tomato cage for these beans.
To help your beans grow nice and steady, ensure there is proper moisture throughout the growing season. If you have a busy schedule, invest in drip irrigation or set up a timer for daily watering.
The best time to water your beans is in the morning. This way the hot sun won’t evaporate the water and the plant roots will have time to draw in the water from the soil.
You also don’t want the leaves of your beans to get soaking wet. Water near the ground. Morning watering will ensure any excess water dries on the leaves so that when nighttime comes, the leaves won’t still be soaking wet, which can lead to fungus.
To help lock in moisture, add mulch to your green beans after they start to grow. Mulch will hold in excess moisture and slowly release it into the soil. It also provides protection from the hot sun and will prevent weeds from growing.
Don’t be afraid to get in and pick your green beans. In fact, the more you pick them, the more you will get as the plants will continue to grow if conditions are favorable.
Beans are ready for harvest when their pods are about 4 to 6 inches long. This may vary, however, by variety, so you may have pods ready that are smaller than this.
The bean pods should also be smooth and the inner beans should be small. If you wait too long, the beans still on the vine will tell the rest of the plant to start flowering, which will stop other beans from growing. Be sure to remove these older beans if you see them so your plant continues to produce fresh beans.
Can you plant green beans close together?
When you first plant your green bean seeds, you can space them just an inch or two apart. This is because some seeds may not germinate, so you want to plant more, just in case.
However, after your seedlings pop up, you should then thin them so they are 6 inches apart. Otherwise, the bean plants will have to fight for nutrients in the soil, sunlight, and airflow while they grow. If green beans are too crowded, they won’t grow properly.
When growing green beans, space them out properly so you have a bountiful harvest. Provide a support structure so they can grow nice and tall and keep the plants watered for consistent growth.