1. First, you need to decide what you want to plant. The two main choices are bush beans or pole beans. I prefer pole beans because they are easier to pick, have better flavor and have less problems from pests and disease.
Pole beans will grow nearly anywhere.
These types of beans require staking with supports that can be from items such as bamboo, string, a fence or trellis. Growing pole beans gives you the advantage of maximizing your space, and the beans grow traighter and are easier to pick.
A method I use is to take some six foot long wooden poles (I use bamboo stakes) and place them in an arrangement like a teepee, tying them together at the top. It only takes up about a three foot area.
Bush beans grow in the form of small, bushy plants, which are close to the ground, and are easy to grow. They need no support, require little care. These types of beans typically produce an earlier crop, and may require successive plantings for a continual harvest.
2. Choose disease resistant varieties of green beans to prevent diseases such as rust, powdery mildew, and curly top virus.
3. You can soak most green bean seeds overnight in a small dish of warm water. This will help speed up the germination process.
4. Beans love the sun, so plant them in an area that gets at least 6-8 hours of direct sun each day and if possible, in soil that has reached between 65°F or 70°F.
5. When bush beans are planted in hills, they should be about an inch deep and approximately 2-3 inches apart. For rows, plant the beans at the same depth with spacing about 18-24 inches apart.
Once the seedlings begin to develop true leaves, the plants can be thinned to six inches apart.
Pole beans can be planted at a spacing of 1 foot, while bush beans should be planted at 3 foot intervals. Maintain good spacing around green beans to increase air circulation and decrease chances of powdery mildew.
6. To help prevent diseases, water your green beans at ground level using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system. This helps to keep the plant leaves dry.
7. Try not to walk around or work on your green bean plants when they are wet. Working around the wet leaves can promote the spread of disease.
8. Fertilize once when the plants start climbing the poles. It’s best to use organic methods such as compost, fish emulsion, compost tea, or other organic fertilizers.
9. Water bean plants about once a week or more frequently during dry weather. The use of organic mulches, such as straw, grass clippings will help to retain moisture and control weeds.
10. Pick your green beans often. Thaqt helps to promote more growth and increases yields.
When harvesting green beans, pick them once they have reached adequate size but do not allow them to over ripen. When they are too ripe, the pod becomes tough, and the bean will taste bitter.
**Last, but not least, ENJOY your fresh green beans.