Beans, from the family Fabaceae, come in snap or dried varieties and provide high doses of protein, fiber, iron and calcium. Also known as legumes, beans can be eaten fresh, steamed, sautéed, or preserved through canning or freezing for later use. Sensitive to cold and frost, beans are typically planted directly into the garden in mid- to late April. Planting additional beans every month provides a continuous crop throughout the gardening season.
Early Growth Stage
After planting, bean seeds take seven to 14 days to germinate. Once the seedling emerges, formation of stems and leaves begins. Bean plants experience rapid growth during this stage, forming new nodes at least every five days.
Branching and Vegetation
After early growth is finished, bean plants spend the next six weeks forming their root system and foliage, as reproduction approaches. If the bean is a determinate variety, plants stop growing when they reach 18 to 24 inches in height. If the bean is an indeterminate variety, the plant will continue to grow, reaching over 10 feet in height.
Flowering and Pods
Bean plants start to form flowers after vegetation is fully formed. Once the flowers bloom, pollination begins. Once fertilization is complete, flowers fade and fall away, exposing ovaries that form the bean pods.
Maturation of Bean Plants
The bean pods continue to grow until they reach their predetermined length, forming seeds inside each pod. Varieties that produce yellow or burgundy beans will transform into their final shade. For snap varieties, harvest begins within 58 to 65 days of planting, when the pods are fully grown and firm. For dry beans, harvest occurs when the plants die off after the seeds reach full size and begin to dry.