Monday, July 25, 2011

Green Beans - Plant Twice and Harvest Throughout the Season

Vegetable gardens are at their peak in mid-summer but that's when it's time to plant for fall harvests.  Since bush green beans produce a crop in only 50-55 days, they can be planted in spring as well as mid-summer, July 25 to August 10.

At the Harvesters Demonstration Garden, we are growing a variety of bush beans which are sometimes called snap beans. That's because they "snap" when broken into pieces. They grow in a bush 12" - 18" tall.

Our recent harvest included  Provider green beans, Cherokee yellow wax and Royal Burgundy (all pictured above).  Provider is one of the most popular green bean varieties as it is adaptable to many conditions. Cherokee yellow wax is known for vigorous and hardy plants.  Royal Burgundy beans are stunning for their color but turn green when cooked.

Bush beans usually provide about 3-4 harvests before they stop producing.  Plant seeds 1 inch deep in full sun with 3 inches between plants in a row. If you're planting in the summer, be sure and keep the soil moist so your seeds will sprout.

Bush beans are easy to grow but take up more space than pole beans. Pole beans are green beans that grow on a vine.  They can be grown on stakes or trellises and can grow 10-15 feet tall.  Because they take longer to produce a crop, they are planted only in the spring.

Besides taking up less space, pole beans produce beans over a longer period than bush beans.  They also dry off quickly after rain so they are less susceptible to bean diseases.  However, make sure you consider if your pole beans will shade any other vegetables that need full sun.
We grow lots of other beans at the Harvesters Demonstration Garden, including the edamame (soy) beans pictured above, pole lima beans and black-eyed peas. One of our new favorites it the yardlong bean which grows about 18 inches long and can be cooked like a green bean.

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