How To Plant Beans From Seed [ Full Guide ]

Planting beans from seed is a satisfying and rewarding activity that can yield a bountiful harvest of fresh, healthy produce. Beans are relatively easy to grow and are a great option for both experienced gardeners and beginners. This comprehensive guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to plant beans from seed, ensuring that you have the knowledge and confidence to successfully cultivate your own bean plants.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Beans From Seed

Planting beans from seed involves selecting high-quality seeds, choosing the right variety of beans, timing the planting correctly, preparing the soil, and ensuring adequate watering and maintenance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully grow your own vibrant bean plants that will produce a bountiful harvest of delicious beans.

Importance Of Choosing Quality Seeds

Selecting high-quality bean seeds is crucial for a successful harvest. Quality seeds will ensure strong germination rates, vigorous plant growth, and healthy bean production. When choosing seeds, look for reputable suppliers that offer certified organic or non-GMO seeds. High-quality seeds will have better disease resistance, resulting in healthier plants with higher yields. It is also advisable to select fresh seeds, as older seeds may have lower germination rates.

Choosing The Right Variety Of Bean Seeds

Beans come in a variety of types, including bush beans, pole beans, snap beans, and dry beans. Each type has its own unique characteristics and growing requirements. When selecting bean seeds, consider the available space in your garden, the length of the growing season, and your preferred method of harvest.

  • Bush beans: These compact plants are ideal for small gardens or containers. They do not require support and can be harvested over a short period.
  • Pole beans: These vining plants need support or trellises for vertical growth. They generally produce a higher yield over a longer period and are well-suited for larger gardens.
  • Snap beans: Also known as green beans, snap beans are harvested when the pods are still tender and immature. They are available in a range of colors and are suitable for fresh eating.
  • Dry beans: These beans are left to mature on the plant before being harvested and dried for storage. They are a great option for long-term storage and culinary use.

Consider your culinary preferences and gardening space when choosing the type of bean seeds to plant.

Deciding On The Best Time To Plant Beans

The timing of planting is critical for the success of your bean crop. Beans are warm-season crops that thrive in temperatures between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 27°C). They are extremely sensitive to frost and should only be planted after the last frost date in your area. To determine the best time for planting, consult local gardening resources or use a frost date calculator to identify the safe planting window for your region.

Planting beans directly in the soil when the soil temperature reaches around 60°F (15°C) will promote optimal and rapid germination. Additionally, planting beans when the soil is warm and temperatures are consistently above 60°F (15°C) will help prevent issues such as seed rot and poor germination.

Preparing The Soil For Planting

Preparing the soil is a vital step in ensuring the successful growth of bean plants. Beans thrive in well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level, typically between 6.0 and 7.0. Here are the essential steps to prepare the soil for planting beans:

1. Choose An Optimal Location

Select a sunny location for planting your beans. Beans require full sun to thrive and produce a plentiful harvest. Choose an area with at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

2. Clear The Area

Clear the chosen planting area of any debris, weeds, and large rocks. It’s important to create a clean and clear space for the seeds to establish strong roots and grow without competition from other plants.

3. Loosen The Soil

Using a garden fork or a tiller, loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). This will improve soil aeration, drainage, and root penetration.

4. Incorporate Organic Matter

Incorporate organic matter such as well-rotted compost or aged manure into the soil. This will enrich the soil with essential nutrients and improve its structure, promoting healthy root development and overall plant growth.

5. Test The Soil Ph

Test the soil pH using a soil testing kit or by sending a sample to a local extension service. Adjust the pH level if necessary by adding lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it. Maintaining the appropriate pH level will ensure that the beans have access to essential nutrients in the soil.

6. Create Planting Furrows

Using a hoe or a rake, create planting furrows that are approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep and spaced 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) apart for bush beans, or 36 to 48 inches (90 to 120 cm) apart for pole beans. Proper spacing will allow the bean plants to grow and spread without competing for resources.

Planting Bean Seeds

Now that the soil is prepared, it’s time to plant the bean seeds. Follow these steps to ensure proper seed placement and optimal growing conditions for your beans:

1. Sow The Seeds

Plant the bean seeds at a depth of 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) in the prepared furrows. Space the seeds approximately 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) apart. If planting multiple rows, space the rows according to the recommended spacing for the specific type of bean you are planting.

2. Water The Seeds

After planting, gently water the seeds to ensure that the soil is evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as excessively wet soil can lead to seed rot and poor germination. Maintain consistent moisture levels during the germination period to support healthy seedling emergence.

3. Mulch The Soil

Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, to conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Mulching also helps prevent soil compaction and erosion, promoting optimal growing conditions for the bean plants.

4. Supporting Pole Beans (if Applicable)

If you are planting pole beans, install trellises, stakes, or other support structures at this stage. This will provide the necessary support for the vining plants as they grow upward. Be sure to position the supports before the bean plants require them, ensuring that the vines have the support they need as they mature.

Watering And Maintenance

After planting the bean seeds, ongoing care is crucial for the healthy growth and development of the plants. Here are important considerations for watering and maintenance:


  • Deep and Infrequent Watering: Water the bean plants deeply, providing approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water per week. Deep watering encourages the development of deep roots and promotes drought tolerance in the plants.
  • Avoid Overhead Watering: To reduce the risk of disease, water the soil directly at the base of the plants, avoiding wetting the foliage whenever possible.
  • Monitor Soil Moisture: Check the soil moisture regularly and adjust watering frequency based on the weather conditions and the plant’s water needs. Inconsistent or inadequate watering can lead to poor pod development and yield.

Weed Control

  • Regular Weeding: Keep the area around the bean plants free of weeds that can compete for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Regular weeding will help the bean plants thrive and minimize the risk of pest and disease infestations.


  • Minimal Fertilization: Beans generally do not require heavy fertilization, especially if the soil was enriched with organic matter during the preparation stage. However, a light application of balanced fertilizer may be beneficial if the plants show signs of nutrient deficiencies.
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Pest And Disease Management

  • Monitor for Pests: Keep an eye out for common bean pests such as aphids, bean beetles, and leafhoppers. Consider employing organic pest control methods, such as insecticidal soaps or neem oil, to manage pest populations.
  • Prevent Diseases: To minimize the risk of diseases such as bean rust and powdery mildew, ensure good air circulation around the plants, avoid overhead watering, and promptly remove any infected plant material.

Harvesting Beans

As your bean plants mature, they will produce an abundance of fresh, flavorful beans ready for harvest. The timing and method of harvesting will depend on the type of beans you planted:

Snap Beans

  • Harvest snap beans when the pods are young, tender, and plump. Pick the pods before the seeds inside have fully matured to maintain quality and tenderness. Snap the beans off the plant by hand, being careful not to damage the vines.

Dry Beans

  • Allow the pods to fully mature and dry on the plants. Harvest the pods once they have turned brown and begin to dry out. Remove the pods from the plants and shell the beans, then allow them to fully dry before storage.

Bush Beans

  • Bush beans generally produce a concentrated harvest over a relatively short period. Regularly check the plants for ripe pods and harvest them as soon as they reach the desired size, before the seeds inside have fully developed.

Pole Beans

  • Harvest pole beans by picking the mature pods as they reach the appropriate size. Be consistent with harvesting to ensure continued pod production throughout the growing season.
Planting beans from seed is a fulfilling and rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, nutritious beans. By selecting quality seeds, choosing the right bean variety, planting at the optimal time, preparing the soil, and providing proper care and maintenance, you can successfully grow your own thriving bean plants.

Whether you opt for bush beans, pole beans, snap beans, or dry beans, each variety offers unique characteristics and culinary versatility. With careful planning and attention to the planting and growing process, you can enjoy an abundant supply of homegrown beans that are perfect for fresh eating, cooking, canning, or drying for long-term storage. Happy planting, and may your bean harvest be plentiful!

How To Plant Bean Seeds

Beans are a versatile and nutritious crop that can be easily grown from seed in your garden. Whether you have a large plot or a small balcony, beans can be planted in containers or directly in the ground.

  1. Choose the Right Variety: There are several types of beans to choose from, including bush beans, pole beans, and snap beans. Consider your available growing space and personal preferences when selecting the variety. Bush beans are compact and ideal for smaller gardens, while pole beans require vertical support and can be grown if you have limited space.

  2. Prepare the Soil: Beans thrive in well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8. Begin by clearing the area of any weeds or debris. Dig the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches, breaking up any clumps and removing rocks or large roots. Add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure and fertility.

  3. Sow the Seeds: Beans can be directly sown into the soil once the danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature has reached at least 60°F (15°C). Plant the seeds about 1-2 inches deep, spacing them 2-4 inches apart in rows that are 18-24 inches apart. If you are planting bush beans, you can create a compact block pattern with the seeds to maximize yield.

  4. Water the Seeds: After planting the seeds, water the soil gently but thoroughly. Make sure the soil is evenly moist, but avoid overwatering, as beans are susceptible to rotting in waterlogged conditions. Keep the soil consistently moist until germination occurs.

  5. Provide Adequate Sunlight: Beans require full sun to thrive, so ensure that they receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid planting beans in areas that are shaded by trees or other tall plants that can block sunlight.

  6. Thinning Seedlings: Once the seedlings emerge, it is important to thin them out to give each plant enough space to grow. For bush beans, maintain a spacing of 3-6 inches between plants. For pole beans, thin the seedlings to 6-8 inches apart. The thinned seedlings can be used for culinary purposes or composted.

  7. Fertilization: Beans are generally not heavy feeders, but you can provide a light application of balanced organic fertilizer, such as a 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 blend, once the plants reach a height of 6-8 inches. Alternatively, you can incorporate a slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil before planting.

Optimal Soil Moisture For Germination

To ensure successful germination of bean seeds, it is important to maintain optimal soil moisture levels. Beans require consistently moist soil in order to sprout and establish healthy roots. Here are some tips to achieve the right soil moisture for germination:

  1. Watering Frequency: Water the soil immediately after planting the bean seeds and keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate. Check the soil moisture regularly and provide water as needed. Aim to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, as excessive moisture can lead to seed rotting and other fungal diseases. Watering in the early morning or late afternoon is preferable to avoid excessive evaporation.

  2. Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the base of the bean plants can help retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps regulate soil temperature and suppresses weed growth.

  3. Irrigation Methods: Consider using drip irrigation or a soaker hose to provide water directly to the soil around the bean plants. This method minimizes water loss through evaporation and reduces the risk of foliar diseases caused by wet leaves. If using overhead sprinklers, water early in the day to allow the foliage to dry before evening.

  4. Monitor Soil Drainage: Beans prefer well-drained soil, as excessive waterlogged conditions can lead to root rot. If you notice standing water or overly compacted soil, consider improving drainage by amending the soil with organic matter or creating raised beds.

Maintenance Of Bean Plants During Growth

Once the bean plants have germinated and started growing, they require regular care to ensure healthy development and maximize yield. Here are some important maintenance practices to follow:

  1. Watering Requirements: Beans have shallow roots, so it is crucial to maintain consistent soil moisture throughout the growing season. Water the plants deeply but infrequently, providing about 1 inch of water per week. In dry periods, increase watering frequency as needed. Avoid overhead watering, as wet foliage can increase the risk of fungal diseases.

  2. Weed Control: Keep the area around the bean plants free from weeds, especially during the early stages of growth. Weeds can compete with beans for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Regular hand weeding or mulching with organic materials can help suppress weed growth and maintain a clean growing environment.

  3. Regular Inspections: Check the bean plants regularly for signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies. Remove any damaged or diseased leaves or stems promptly to prevent the spread of pathogens. Monitor for common bean pests, such as aphids, bean beetles, or spider mites, and take appropriate action if an infestation occurs.

  4. Support for Pole Beans: If you are growing pole beans, provide a trellis, stake, or other vertical support for the plants to climb. Install the structure at planting or shortly after the seedlings have emerged. As the bean plants grow, gently train the vines onto the support system to encourage upward growth and easier harvesting.

  5. Pruning and Pinching: While bush beans do not require extensive pruning, pinching off the growing tips of pole beans when they reach the desired height can promote branching and increase the number of bean pods. This can be done by simply pinching off the top few inches of the main stem using your fingers or shears.

  6. Mulching: Maintain a layer of organic mulch around the base of the bean plants to conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Renew the mulch as needed throughout the growing season.

  7. Crop Rotation: After harvesting your beans, it is advisable to practice crop rotation to prevent the build-up of soil-borne diseases and pests. Avoid planting beans, or any other members of the legume family, in the same area for at least two years. Rotate with crops from different plant families to maintain soil health and fertility.

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Providing Support For The Bean Plants

Pole beans, as the name suggests, require vertical support to maximize their growth potential. By providing a suitable support system, you can ensure better air circulation, easier maintenance, and higher yields. Here are a few options for supporting your pole beans:

  1. Trellises: A trellis is a popular and effective support structure for pole beans. It can be made from wood, bamboo, metal, or any other sturdy material. Install the trellis before planting the seeds or shortly after the seedlings have emerged. The trellis should be at least 5-6 feet tall, with horizontal support wires or strings spaced about 6-8 inches apart. As the bean plants grow, gently guide the vines onto the trellis for optimal growth.

  2. Stakes or Poles: Another option for supporting pole beans is using stakes or poles. Choose sturdy wooden or metal stakes, at least 6 feet tall, and drive them into the ground next to each plant. Secure the bean plants to the stakes using natural twine or soft plant ties. Regularly check the ties and adjust them as needed to ensure the plants have adequate support.

  3. A-frame Structures: For a more elaborate support system, consider constructing A-frame structures using bamboo or other lightweight materials. Position the A-frames in the bean bed, leaving enough space for the plants to climb. Use twine or garden clips to attach the bean vines to the frame as they grow. This setup not only provides support but also creates an attractive vertical element in the garden.

Whichever support option you choose, make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand strong winds and the weight of the fully-grown bean plants. Regularly inspect the support structure throughout the season and make any necessary repairs or adjustments to ensure the plants are well supported.

Managing Pest & Disease Control

Like any garden plant, beans are susceptible to various pests and diseases. Taking proactive measures to prevent and manage these issues can help maintain healthy plants and a successful harvest. Here are some common pest and disease control strategies for beans:

  1. Aphids: Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that cluster on the undersides of leaves and suck plant sap, causing stunted growth and distorted leaves. To control aphids, regularly inspect your bean plants and remove any infested leaves or colonies by hand. Alternatively, you can spray a strong stream of water on the infested areas to dislodge the aphids. Natural predators such as ladybugs and lacewings can also help control aphid populations. If necessary, use a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap following the manufacturer’s instructions.

  2. Bean Beetles: Bean beetles are small, yellowish-brown insects that feed on bean foliage, causing skeletonization of the leaves. Handpicking beetles from the plants is an effective method of control. You can also cover the plants with floating row covers to prevent the beetles from reaching them. In severe infestations, pyrethrin-based insecticides can be used, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

  3. Spider Mites: Spider mites are tiny pests that feed on the undersides of leaves, causing stippling and webbing. To control spider mites, regularly hose down the undersides of the leaves with a strong stream of water. Natural predators such as predatory mites and ladybugs can help control spider mite populations. If necessary, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

  4. Fungal Diseases: Beans can be susceptible to various fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, bean rust, and anthracnose. To prevent fungal diseases, provide adequate air circulation by spacing plants properly and avoiding overcrowding. Water the plants at the soil level, avoiding wetting the foliage. Remove any infected plant material, and avoid working with the plants when they are wet. In severe cases, fungicides labeled for the specific disease can be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  5. Bacterial Diseases: Bacterial diseases, such as bacterial blight and bacterial wilt, can affect bean plants. These diseases are usually spread through contaminated seeds or infected plant material. To minimize the risk of bacterial diseases, purchase seeds from reputable sources and maintain good garden hygiene by removing and destroying any infected plants. Avoid working with wet plants and practice crop rotation.

Regular monitoring and early intervention are key to preventing and managing pest and disease problems effectively. By implementing these strategies, you can maintain the health and productivity of your bean plants throughout the growing season.

Planting beans from seed is a rewarding and relatively simple process. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully grow beans in your garden or containers. Remember to choose the right variety, prepare the soil adequately, provide optimal soil moisture, and offer support for pole beans. Regular maintenance practices, such as watering, weeding, and inspecting for pests and diseases, will ensure healthy plant growth. With proper care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh and nutritious beans in your own backyard.

Fertilizing Beans For Optimal Growth

Beans are a versatile and nutritious crop that can easily be grown from seed. Whether you have a backyard garden or a small balcony, planting beans is a rewarding and enjoyable activity. Not only are beans easy to grow, but they also provide a bountiful harvest that can be enjoyed fresh or preserved for later use.

Fertilizing your beans properly is crucial for their growth and productivity. Before planting your beans, it is important to prepare the soil by enriching it with organic matter. This can be done by adding compost or well-rotted manure to the soil. This will improve the soil structure and provide essential nutrients for the beans.

Beans are nitrogen-fixing plants, which means they have the ability to convert nitrogen from the air into a usable form for themselves and other plants. However, providing additional nitrogen can still be beneficial, especially in the early stages of growth. When fertilizing beans, choose a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 blend.

It is important to apply the fertilizer evenly and avoid over-application, as excessive nitrogen can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of bean production. A good rule of thumb is to apply approximately 1-2 tablespoons of fertilizer per square foot of planting area. Spread the fertilizer evenly over the soil surface and gently work it into the top layer of soil.

If your soil is already rich in organic matter and nutrients, you may not need to fertilize the beans at all. Conducting a soil test before planting can help determine the specific nutrient requirements of your soil.

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Harvesting Beans At Their Peak Time

Knowing when to harvest your beans is crucial to ensure the best flavor, texture, and nutritional value. The ideal time to harvest beans depends on the variety you are growing and your personal preferences. However, there are some general guidelines to follow when harvesting beans.

For snap beans, which are meant to be eaten when the pods are still young and tender, harvest them when the pods are about 4-6 inches long and the seeds inside are still small and undeveloped. The pods should be firm and crisp, bending easily without snapping.

For shell beans, which are grown for their mature seeds that are shelled and cooked, allow the pods to fully mature and dry on the plant. The pods should turn yellow or brown and the beans inside should be firm and fully formed. Avoid harvesting shell beans when they are still green or soft.

For dry beans, which are grown specifically for their fully mature and dried seeds, wait until the plants have started to dry out and the pods are brown and crispy. Harvest the entire plant and hang it in a cool, dry place for a few weeks to allow the beans to fully dry before shelling.

When harvesting beans, use clean garden shears or scissors to avoid damaging the plant. Harvest in the morning when the plants are well-hydrated and the temperatures are cooler. Be gentle when handling the plants to prevent any damage to the delicate pods.

Storage & Preservation Of Fresh Beans

Storing and preserving fresh beans is essential to enjoy their delicious flavor even after the growing season is over. Here are some methods you can use to store and preserve fresh beans:

  1. Refrigeration: Fresh beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place them in a perforated plastic bag or airtight container to maintain their freshness. Avoid washing the beans until you are ready to use them, as moisture can promote spoilage.

  2. Freezing: If you have an abundance of fresh beans, freezing is an excellent way to preserve them for long-term storage. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then immediately transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the beans well and pack them into sealed freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible before sealing the bags. Frozen beans can be stored for up to 6-8 months.

  3. Canning: Another method of preserving beans is canning. The pressure canning method is recommended for preserving beans, as it ensures that they are properly heated to destroy any potential bacteria. Follow a reliable canning recipe and process the jars according to the instructions.

  4. Drying: If you are growing shell beans or dry beans specifically, you can dry the beans for long-term storage. After harvesting the beans, spread them out in a single layer on a clean and dry surface. Allow the beans to air dry for about 2-3 weeks, or until they are fully dry and hard. Store the dried beans in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

Remember to label your preserved beans with the date and type of bean to keep track of their freshness.

Tips For Next Season’s Bean Planting Success

To ensure next season’s bean planting success, here are some tips and best practices to follow:

  1. Crop rotation: Beans, like many other plants, benefit from crop rotation. Avoid planting beans in the same location year after year to minimize the risk of soil-borne diseases and pests. Rotate beans with other crops, such as corn or tomatoes, to reduce the likelihood of pest and disease buildup.

  2. Trellising: Some bean varieties, such as pole beans, require trellising to support their vining growth habit. Install trellises or stakes in the soil before planting to provide support for the beans. This will help keep the plants upright and prevent the pods from touching the ground, reducing the risk of rot and disease.

  3. Watering: Beans prefer consistent moisture, so it is important to water them regularly. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged, throughout the growing season. Avoid overhead watering, as excessive moisture can increase the risk of fungal diseases. Instead, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to water the plants at the base.

  4. Weed control: Weeds can compete with beans for nutrients and water, so it is important to keep the planting area weed-free. Regularly remove weeds by hand or use weed control methods that do not harm the beans. Mulching around the plants can also help suppress weed growth.

  5. Pest management: Beans can be susceptible to various pests, including aphids, beetles, and slugs. Inspect the plants regularly for any signs of pest infestation, such as chewed leaves or curled foliage. If pests are detected, use organic pest control methods, such as handpicking, insecticidal soap, or neem oil. Encouraging beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, can also help control pests naturally.

  6. Harvesting: As mentioned earlier, harvest the beans at the appropriate time to ensure the best quality and flavor. Regularly harvest the beans to encourage continuous production. Leaving overripe pods on the plant can signal to the plant that its job is done, leading to a decrease in bean production.


Planting beans from seed is a simple and rewarding endeavor that can be enjoyed by gardeners of all skill levels. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully grow, fertilize, harvest, and preserve your own beans. Whether you choose to enjoy them fresh or store them for later use, beans are a fantastic addition to any vegetable garden. Happy planting!


What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Bean Seeds?

Bean seeds should be planted after the last expected frost in your area, typically in the late spring or early summer. This will depend on your specific planting zone and can vary by region.

How Should I Prepare The Soil For Planting Bean Seeds?

Choose a location with well-draining soil that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. The soil should be loose and crumbly, with a pH level of 6.0-6.8. Remove any weeds or debris and loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches.

How Deep Should I Plant The Bean Seeds?

Plant the seeds 1-2 inches deep in the soil, with the pointed end facing downward. If you are planting in rows, space the seeds about 3-4 inches apart. For bush beans, plant the seeds in clusters of 4-6, with each cluster spaced 12-18 inches apart.

How Often Should I Water My Bean Seeds?

Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged, after planting. Water daily if the weather is hot and dry, but reduce frequency when the plants begin to grow. You may also use a layer of organic mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.

When Can I Expect To Harvest My Bean Plants?

Depending on the variety, bean plants typically take 50-60 days to reach maturity and are ready for harvest. Look for plump pods and pick them when they are about 4-6 inches long. Keep picking regularly to encourage the plant to produce more beans.