Green beans, recently harvested
image by Jose Ibarra: Flickr.com
There are over 130 varieties of green beans, which are also known as "runner beans" or "French beans." Green beans usually grow as either pole beans or bush beans. Bush beans do not require a growth support and stay close to the ground, while pole beans require a pole or stake to grow onto.
Prepare your soil. Using a rake, break up the soil 10 feet in both directions, or as large as you would like your green bean garden to be. Dig into the ground about 10 inches and remove any weeds, rocks or garbage from the soil
Fertilize the soil. For a 10-by-10-foot gardening space, mix two pounds of fertilizer with the first few inches of soil in the area. You can purchase fertilizer at your local gardening supply store or nursery. Rake the area until smooth and free of debris.
Purchase green bean seeds at your local nursery or garden supply store. Whether you would like to purchase bush bean seeds or pole bean seeds is entirely up to you, although pole beans require more maintenance and an extra cost, as stakes must be purchased.
Plant your seeds directly into the prepared soil outside in the spring after all signs of frost. Planting green bean seeds before the last frost may prevent them from growing and produce unhealthy plants. Plant bush bean seeds 1 inch deep, 2 inches apart in straight rows. To plant pole bean seeds, create mounds of dirt in rows about 3 feet apart from one another. Place a stake in the center of each mound, then plant three or four seeds around each stake, 1 inch deep into the soil.
Weed out weaker plants. As your seeds germinate and small plants begin to grow, some will grow faster than others. Weed out the smaller plants so there is one plant every three inches for bush bean plants, and one plant every three feet for pole bean plants.
Water both pole and bush bean plants once per week when the weather is dry. If it has recently rained and the soil is moist, do not water the bean plants that week.
Pick green beans when ripe. According to the Texas A&M Department of Horticulture, green beans should be picked when they are the size of a small pencil. The bean can be picked from the plant with your fingers.