Bean seeds are easy and fun to grow. From the start, beans are very productive and give you results quickly. They are hardy, and a single vine can produce hundreds of bean pods with either the bush types or with vine beans. Vines (also called runners) can grow to several feet long, so be sure to plant in a place where you will be able to trellis them or they will get unruly.
Check the USDA Hardiness Zone requirements for the beans that you are planting and the zone that you are living in. It is very important, for beans, that they not be planted before the last danger of frost has passed. They are very sensitive to cold and frost and cannot tolerate low temperatures.
Prepare the soil by tilling and removing any rocks, roots or excess bulk materials. Mix in composted materials by layering at least two inches of compost on the top of the soil and turning it to mix well. If you don't have composted materials, mix in a good fertilizer with a rating of about 10-20-10.
Water the soil well and watch the rate of drainage to be sure that the soil will drain properly. Water should puddle up on the surface, then slowly dissipate and be drained into the soil within 30 seconds. If your soil to too wet, mix in some sand or perlite. If it is too sandy, mix in more organic materials--buy top soil from a local nursery or home improvement store if necessary.
Plant your bean seeds 1 inch deep in the soil. Bush-type beans should be planted about two inches apart in rows or in 2-foot squares, allowing a walkway around the beans for access later. Vine, runner or pole beans should be planted in hills, with a 6- to 8-foot pole in the center. Plant three or four seeds around the pole. As the plants grow, guide them to grow together up the pole. This can also be done with a trellis or with fishing line strung onto a tall frame.
Water the seeds well after first planting, making sure to saturate the soil. Water the seeds as often as necessary to keep them evenly moist throughout the growing process. Long periods of dryness or wide variations in soil moisture can cause misshapen pods to form with low production rates.
After the seedlings have sprouted and are about 2 inches high, thin the seedlings out so that bush beans are spaced four to six inches apart. Bush beans do not usually need supporting, but as the plants mature you may want to stake them to give them extra support.