Selecting the best bean seed depends in part on what type of bean you plan to grow. Gardeners can choose from common pole, bush, wax and lima beans, or opt to try one of several other less common types from cowpeas to yard long beans. Beans can be sown in the spring, but gardeners should wait to plant until after all danger of frost has passed. Beans prefer conditions of full sun and a well-drained soil. Fertilizer should be added to the soil and blended in before planting. Purdue University Cooperative Extension suggests that bean crops need to be rotated yearly to prevent issues with disease.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, the green beans that were once called string beans are the same type now called snap beans and classified as bush beans. Bush Kentucky Wonder beans--also called Old Homestead--require 57 days on average to mature. This bean is stringless and tender, featuring long, flattened pods. The bean has a high yield and is adapted to growth in most regions.
Blue Lake is recommended by several authorities and extension services as a good pole bean option. This bean takes an average of 65 days to reach harvesting stage. The variety is resistant to bean mosaic disease. The beans are straight, stringless and a deep green in color. The plant produces a heavy crop of beans over time. The beans have tender pods that can be used fresh in a variety of ways and stand up to canning and freezing. Pole beans need a support system for their vining habit, so gardeners should plant near a fence or wall or plan to provide a trellis or string where the vines may attach.
Wax beans are a snap bean with a yellow pod that has a waxy consistency. Resistant Cherokee Wax is said to have been saved through the Cherokee Indians and comes highly recommended by Harvest to Table as a bean that can perform even when the weather is not ideal. The University of Illinois describes this variety as highly productive, with 55 days from planting to harvest.
Lima beans are also known by the name butter bean. These varieties are harvested for the tender beans inside the pod and are found in bush or pole forms. According to the University of Florida Extension, Dixie and Henderson types are often smaller butter beans, while Fordhook types are a larger bean. Fort Valley State University lists Dixie Butterpea White--with a succulent white seed--as a dependable bush variety. Harvest to Table describes this selection as a good choice for the home garden because the plant is vigorous, prolific and produces across the growing season.