Beans are an incredible crop to plant. Not only are they highly nutritious but they are also great for numerous recipes. Find out when to plant bush beans and how to grow them for the best results.
When to plant bush beans: Bush beans are a great crop to grow. Their smaller height, usually less than 24 inches, means that you don’t have to worry about crafting a trellis to support them. Bush beans are ready for harvest about 55 to 60 days after planting. Wait until the threat of frost is over and the soil is warm to plant your seeds, which is usually in May. Bush beans are ready all at once so stagger your planting by a week or two for a more continuous harvest. This crop needs soil that drains well and it also needs a steady watering schedule. If the beans dry out, they will stop flowering, which will prevent the pods from growing. A nice benefit of bush beans is that they produce nitrogen and will restore nitrogen-deficient soil.
Planting Bush Beans in Different Climates
Bush beans can grow in a tropical climate. They love warmth and sun, and as long as the soil can drain well, you will be able to grow bush beans.
Bush beans need a continual source of water. If you live in a dry climate, planting bush beans in a container is the best route as you will then be able to hand water as needed.
A temperate climate is great for bush beans. The mild spring weather will allow you to get the beans in the ground earlier and you won’t have to worry as much about the soil drying out.
Bush beans can grow in a continental climate but you may need to wait a bit longer before planting them. The soil needs to be nice and warm, so late May planting is best.
Bush beans need warmth and sunlight to grow. A polar climate probably can’t supply this.
Choosing Bush Beans Seeds
Blue Lake 274
This is an heirloom variety that originates from a similar pole bean source. The beans are quite long, about 5 to 6 inches in length. The plant will only grow to 15 to 20 inches.
Perfect if you are worried about disease, this variety will produce pods that are 6 inches long and is more robust than other varieties. The whole plant will grow to be about 20 inches tall and the pods are held high so they are easy to pick.
One of the benefits of bush beans is that they don’t grow to be very tall so you can plant them in a container on your porch. This variety will produce 5-inch pods and the plants are slightly smaller than other varieties, at just 18 inches tall.
If you aren’t crazy about the strings that form on beans, then this variety will be a hit. The pods are 5 inches long and the beans are tender and meaty.
With incredibly high yields, this variety is perfect if you love beans as a side dish. The pods are slender in size and have a nice, tender flavor to them. As a bonus, the variety is very heat tolerant, which makes it perfect for hot climates.
Difference between Bush Beans and Pole Beans
In the world of beans, there are many different types and it can be a bit overwhelming. While this article will focus on bush beans, we thought we would pause and go over the two main types of beans and how they grow.
Bush beans grow in a bush-like manner. They only get about 2 feet tall and because of this, they do not need a trellis.
The short stature of this plant means you can grow them in a garden or in a container, which makes them much more versatile. However, you can expect your bush beans to be ready for picking at the same time, so you will need to stagger your planting.
Pole beans, on the other hand, can grow to be quite tall. Their 10 to 15-foot height means they definitely need a proper trellis for growing.
One benefit of pole beans is that they a plant will produce continuously, so you will have beans for up to a month from a single plant.
How to Plant Bush Bean Seeds
The best soil for bush beans will be well-draining soil. They don’t need much fertilizer because they will actually add nitrogen to the soil as they grow. This makes them an easy plant for beginners.
As long as your soil is pretty good, you can plant your seeds directly. However, if your soil isn’t the best quality, you should add compost a few weeks before planting in the spring.
Bush beans like warmth so don’t rush the planting of your seeds. You want the soil to be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you plant your bush bean seeds too early outdoors, then it can slow the germination period. Furthermore, if it becomes too cold or wet after planting, this can actually cause the beans to rot.
If you are worried about the temperatures after you plant your bush beans, you can put down a layer of black plastic, with holes cut out for the seedlings, to insulate your soil.
While it might be tempting to simply start your bush bean seeds indoors to get an early start, this isn’t recommended. Bush beans have fragile roots and it can be hard to transplant them.
The best time to plant your bush beans is right after the last frost date in spring. This will be sometime in late April or early May for most regions.
Space your bush bean seeds about 2 inches apart. They should be about 1 inch deep and the rows can be 12 to 18 inches apart.
You can plant your beans in a garden or a container because they do not need support. These types of beans will come in all at once so plant a few rounds of bush beans, one to two weeks apart, so that you have a longer harvest period.
How to Water Bush Beans
Bush beans benefit from continuous water. This means you should aim for 2 inches of water per week.
In warmer areas, this can translate to watering every day. If your bush beans don’t get enough water, they will stop flowering, which means no beans.
Try to water the soil and not the foliage to prevent disease and fungus from setting in. If you are worried about the afternoon heat, you can add row covers to protect the beans.
How to Grow Bush Beans
After your bush beans start to sprout, you can add a thin layer of mulch to the soil. This will prevent weeds from popping up and will also keep the soil moist.
Be on the lookout for weeds and remove them as they grow. However, be careful because the roots of bush beans are shallow and you can inadvertently take out the beans with the weeds.
Adding mulch is a great way to slow the growth of weeds.
As mentioned earlier, bush beans will actually release nitrogen back into the soil. Therefore, if you need to fertilize, be sure to select one that is low in nitrogen.
If your soil is rich, you won’t need fertilizer. However, if it is lacking, you can add fertilizer after the plant starts to bloom and produce pods.
Tips for harvesting bush beans
Picking bush beans is great fun and even kids can get in on the action.
While you can technically pick any time of the day, early morning is the best. During this period, bush beans will have a higher sugar content which will translate to more flavor.
Pods are ready when they are firm and tall. If they can produce a crisp snapping sound, they are ready.
Pick the beans right when they are ready. If you wait too long and can see the beans inside the pods bulging, they will have a much tougher taste to them.
How long do bush beans take to grow?
It takes bush beans about 55 days to fully mature after planting. It’s important to note that the beans on a plant will generally come in all at the same time.
If you want a more continuous harvest, it is best to stagger the timing of multiple plants so that you can spread out your harvest. If not, you will need to think of ways of preserving your beans so they don’t go to waste.
Bush beans are an excellent addition to your garden. They are easy to tend to, have high yields, and are perfect for both beginner and expert gardeners. Plant your bush beans after the threat of frost is over and in less than two months you will have a harvest.