How to Start Bean Seeds


Want to experience a kid-friendly vegetable that will be fun and exciting to watch grow? Then why not try beans? Beans are of the legume family and come in many types and colors. The seeds are large enough for little hands to hold. Plants can either be the pole or vining type or the bush type. A trellis is needed and harvesting is accomplished over a longer period for pole types. Bush-type beans mature at the same time, so one main harvest is picked.

Step 1

Choose whether to grow a pole-type bean that needs a trellis or a bush-type bean that does not. Types to choose from are string beans, flat podded beans called Romano beans, yellow wax beans, or purple hulled beans. Each of these types is delicious cooked or steamed. The seed package will indicate whether the bean is a bush or pole type.

Step 2

Add compost to selected garden site, gently working the compost into the soil with a shovel. Beans like to grow in full sun and in moist but not wet soil. Determine how many beans are needed for the chosen garden area. Beans can be planted 3 to 5 inches apart. The seed package will indicate proper planting distance for the type bean.

Step 3

Make a trellis if you chose pole beans. Twigs from your yard that are approximately 6 feet long and slender can be used to make a tepee for your pole beans to climb. Tie three to five twigs together at one end and "plant" the other ends, spaced equally apart, in the prepared garden site. When planting a row of beans, space twigs 5 inches apart and "plant" the ends into the ground for stability.

Step 4

Plant the seeds. The rule for planting any type of seed is to plant twice the depth of the length of the seed. Using your finger, poke a hole in the ground that is double the length of your bean seed. Drop the seed into the hole and cover it with soil. Plant three bean seeds at the base of each tepee leg. If planting a row, space seeds according to directions on the seed package.

Step 5

Saturate the planted seeds with a sprinkling of water. Be sure to add enough water that it penetrates into the soil. Warmth and moisture will cause the bean seeds to germinate, and they will put forth a root first and then leaves. Watching the little green leaves pop above the surface of the soil is exciting for kids of all ages.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure to supply a trellis for pole beans. It will make harvesting easier and yields will be greater.

Things You'll Need

  • Bean seeds
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Twigs, 6-foot lengths (optional)


  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow--Beans
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Beans in the Home Vegetable Garden
  • Central Bean Co.: How Beans Are Grown
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Beans in Minnesota Home Gardens
Keywords: growing beans, pole beans, bush beans

About this Author

Suzanne Richmond is an avid gardener and small farmer who resides in Melbourne, Fla. She is an avid Central Florida vegetable gardener and has developed a self-watering container called a Growbox. She writes gardening- and poultry-related articles for, GardenGuides and Answerbag.