Vegetables gardens are never completely alike, but many usually have beans and tomatoes, the two most popular vegetable garden plants. Bush beans are warm season vegetable plants that can grow erect without support. Bush beans require little maintenance work in the garden, and a tender bean harvest is kitchen ready in approximately 50 to 60 days from planting.
Planting Bush Beans
Bush bean plants don't like the cold. One of the hardest things about growing bush beans is waiting until the soil is warm enough for this warm weather vegetable plant to thrive, but don't plant until the frost danger has passed.
Space the rows of bush beans at least 18 inches apart, with 2 to 4 inches of space between each plant in the row. The seeds should be sown at a depth of 1 inch. Don't soak a bush bean seed before planting, as it may crack and interfere with germination. Water the bean patch immediately after planting.
Caring for Bush Bean Plants
Bush beans plants are very successful as container vegetables as the root systems are shallow. When planting in the garden, the plants need to be weeded frequently so that grasses and small weeds don't overtake the roots, but care must be taken that the cultivation or hoeing doesn't do damage to the shallow roots. Root damage will reduce the yield and delay the harvest.
Bush bean plants are susceptible to bean mosaic diseases and bacterial bean blight. Successful gardeners plant bush beans in different areas of the garden each year as a preventative measure to keep the disease, which can overwinter in the garden, from attacking the new crop.
Harvesting Bush Beans
Bush beans are ready to pick within 7 to 14 days after the plant flowers. Pick the beans when the pod is long, firm and crisp, before the seed bump shows through the pod. New flowers will form on bush bean plants after each picking if the pods are removed before the bean seed has fully matured, so when harvesting be careful that you don't damage stems and branches.
Allow the dew to evaporate from the bush bean plant before the vegetables are picked. Unless the beans and foliage are completely dry, harvesting can spread bean bacterial blight.
Over-Mature Bush Beans
A bean left on the bush and allowed to become over mature can still be used. If the bean seed bulges enough that it can be seen through the pod, shell the bean and dry it for future use. The bean pod will be too tough to eat. Avoid this by planting the bush bean seeds at two-week intervals so that they do not all need to be harvested at one time.
Bush beans were once called string beans because of the fiber that grows down the seam of the pod. These fibers have been reduced by plant breeders, and the green beans are now called snap beans.