beans are a popular plant grown in most home vegetable gardens. They
are easy to grow, taste good, and they are good for you.
Green beans can be planted in the early spring in cooler soils. Harvest
them when they are young. They’ll be tender and less stringy.
Snap beans are a tender, warm-season vegetable that are planted after
danger of frost. Depending on the variety,
bush beans take 45 to 55 days to produce a harvestable crop, whereas
pole beans begin to bear in 60 to 70 days.
Snap beans are available in green, yellow or wax, purple, French or filet, Romano, and runner varieties.
There are two types of bean plants--bush and pole beans.
Pole bean plants climb on supports growing seven to eight feet tall.
They are easily harvested and will produce a continuous supply of beans
throughout the summer. Some common cultivars include: 'Blue Lake,'
'Kentucky Wonder,' 'Romano,' and 'Kentucky Blue.'
Bush bean plants stand without support and grow one to two feet tall.
"They are the most popular because they yield well and are less work
than pole beans," she said.
To ensure a continuous supply of beans, plant seeds every two to four
weeks until early August. Some common cultivars include: 'Tender Crop,'
'Provider,' 'Top Crop,' 'Roma II,' and 'Royal Burgundy.'
Snap beans were formerly called string beans because older varieties
had a fibrous string running along the pod's seam. Today's newer varieties are stringless. Look for cultivars which have
a good-flavored bean combined with disease resistance.
Common problems of bean plants include bean leaf beetles, bean mosaic
diseases, and bacterial bean blight. Other diseases include
anthracnose, rust, and white mold.
Bean leaf beetles cause holes in the leaves and sometimes eat the
pods. Harvest is not affected if less than 20 percent of
foliage is eaten.
Disease incidence can be reduced by growing disease resistant
cultivars, good air circulation around plants, avoiding injury to
plants, avoiding over-fertilization and control of weeds.
Harvest beans when the pods are firm, crisp (snap easily) and fully
elongated. Length of the pod depends on the cultivar.
Most are harvested when five to six inches long. Be sure to harvest
before the seeds within the pod develop significantly, this is before
you see the seed bulge. Pick beans when the plants are dry. Picking
beans from wet plants can spread diseases.
Store fresh bean pods unwashed in plastic bags in the vegetable crisper
of the refrigerator for up to three days. Just before using, wash beans
in cold water. Only the stem ends need to be removed. Serve raw or
cooked. To retain the most nutritional value, cooking time should be
If you have an excess of green beans, they can be frozen, dried or canned.
For preservation information, visit the University of Georgia, National
Center for Home Food Preservation website.
Green bean planting time is just around the corner. This summer, garden-fresh beans can also be purchased from a vendor at
local farmers markets.
Jennifer Fishburn, University of Illinois Extension
Maurice Ogutu, University of
Illinois Extension (708) 352-0109
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