A Brief Guide to Growing Green Beans with Tower Garden
Have you ever snacked on a green bean fresh off the vine? Nothing matches its crisp crunch and refreshing flavor. Soon you’re picking “just one more” and then another and another… they’re irresistible.
If you aren’t familiar with this experience, then it’s time you grow some green beans! We’ve assembled this short guide to show you how.
Picking a Type: Bush Beans vs. Pole Beans
When browsing green bean seeds or seedlings, you’ll find two types: bush and pole (also called vine). The beans are the same for each variety, but growing patterns differ.
Bush beans grow in a relatively contained, bushy shape (hence the name), typically reaching a max height of 2–3 ft. Grow bush beans if you want an:
- Easier crop. Unlike pole beans, there’s no need to stake or train vines.
- “All-at-once” harvest. Bush beans produce several pods at once. This can be convenient if you are intending to freeze or can your crop, or if you have a crowd to feed.
Bush beans have a shorter productive period compared to pole beans. But planting successive crops every 2–3 weeks will give you a continuous harvest.
Pole beans send out aggressive tendrils and vines and can grow 6–15 feet tall! So pole beans definitely need a cage, trellis or other supportive device. Grow pole beans for a:
- Longer production season. Enjoy your beans for a longer period of time.
- Continuous, spread-out harvest. You won’t be overwhelmed with ripe produce, as pole beans don’t produce pods all at once like bush beans.
As a vining crop, pole beans require a little more attention as they grow (e.g., training the tendrils).
Growing Green Beans
You should plant green beans after danger of frost has passed. The ideal temperature range for green beans is 60–80˚. For the greatest production, make sure they get 6+ hours of sun.
Green bean seeds are larger than most. So we recommend planting only one per rockwool cube. Once seeds have germinated and seedlings are about 3 inches tall, plant them near the bottom of your Tower Garden.
Tower Tip: Install your tomato cage or other form of support before transplanting the beans. It’s much easier to do before your plants get big!
Preventing Pests and Diseases
Tower Garden reduces the risk of pests and plant diseases. But it's always good to be prepared! Here are a few common grean bean pests and diseases:
- Aphids are small insects that typically feed on young plant growth, causing it to appear puckered or deformed.
- Leafhoppers can be detected by stippling on the top of the leaves. These wedge-shaped green insects can also transmit viral plant diseases.
- Mexican bean beetles are orange with 16 black spots on their backs, closely resembling ladybugs. They feed on the undersides of leaves.
- Anthracnose can stunt or kill plants during the seedling stage. Symptoms include dark spots on stems, leaves and pods.
- Bacterial blight often attacks unhealthy plants in warm conditions. Look for water-soaked lesions on the underside of the leaves, which dry and become yellow-brown and brittle.
- Downy mildew looks like fine white cotton or frosting and often infects lower plant leaves first. It can spread rapidly and kill plants in cool conditions.
Harvesting Green Beans
Your green beans will be ready to pick in 4–6 weeks, or when they are roughly the size of a pencil. If they grow much larger, they become tough and stringy. To harvest, simply snap or cut the beans from the stem. Harvest often to encourage your plant to produce more pods.
Need ideas for how to use your Tower Garden green beans? Try eating them raw, in stir-fries or, as one Tower Gardener recommended, in vegetable soup (find the recipe on page 22 of our Tower-to-Table Cookbook).
If you don’t plan to eat them right away, green beans freeze well. Just be sure to blanch (briefly boil) and dry your harvest before freezing. Alternatively, consider canning your green bean harvests.
More Resources for Growing Green Beans
Versatile in the kitchen, beneficial to your health, and simple to grow—green beans are great! We hope you enjoy growing green beans in your Tower Garden.
Should you need more guidance, we have a comprehensive growing guide in the Resource Center. Download the green bean growing guide »
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