Beans belong to the leguminosae family. They are indigenous plants to Mexico and Central America, where it is believed they were domesticated over 7,000 years ago. Beans can be grown as bush or pole varieties and are considered easy to grow vegetables by the National Gardening Association.
Planting Bean Seeds in the Ground
Purchase some bean seeds. But before you do, decide if you want to plant bush beans, or climbing beans (pole beans.) Bush beans ripen quicker, pole beans require more space and a longer growing period. Pole beans grow to achieve heights well over 4 feet and require support while growing. Bush beans are compact plants and require no support.
You can't grow beans outdoors until the soil has warmed to above 60 degrees. To plant beans directly out into your vegetable garden, choose an area in your vegetable garden that has plenty of sunshine and fertile soil. Beans thrive in warm, sun-filled locations.
With your garden fork, shovel or rototiller, turn over the soil thoroughly in the area you intend to plant your beans. Remove all sticks, rocks and weeds. The National Gardening Association recommends working in 2 to 4 inches of compost as you turn over the soil. Using your rake, the area should be then smoothed and leveled.
Dig rows 2 to 3 inches deep, spaced approximately 18 inches apart for planting bush beans. For pole beans, the University of Illinois Extension suggests spacing the rows between 30 to 36 inches apart. Or planting bean seeds in hills which are 30 inches apart, with 30 inches between rows. (To form a hill for planting bean seeds, gather dirt into a circle that is approximately 12 inches wide by 3 to 4 inches high).
Poke a hole in the ground with a garden stake to the depth of 1 ½ to 2 inches deep. Drop one or two seeds into the hole, and cover up with dirt. For planting pole bean varieties, poke four to seven holes in a hill, drop one or two seeds into each hole and cover with dirt. Bean seeds should be spaced according to instructions on seed packets, but common variety beans like "Blue Lake" and "Kentucky Wonder" should be planted at 4 to 6 inches apart.
Water your bean seeds, letting the water run slowly, soaking the soil thoroughly.
Place garden stakes at the beginning and end of each row, and along side each hill, to mark the area where you just planted your bean seeds. Check the seeds daily, and water when the soil appears dry. Germination for beans is generally four to seven days.
Germinating Beans Indoors
Fill planting recepticals with potting soil about 30 days before spring. Water until the soil is saturated and allow water to drain off.
Push two beans seeds into each receptacle to a depth of 1 inch. Cover with soil.
Place the receptacles in an area that is warm and has plenty of light, approximately 10 hours of light a day and at a temperature of 65 to 70 degrees. Check the seeds every day, watering as needed.
Keep new seedling plots well watered but not drenched until seedlings emerge, generally four to seven days later. Prepare an area in your vegetable garden to plant your bean seedlings.
Dig holes for your bean seedlings. The holes should be slightly bigger than the receptacle the seed is in planted in. Remove seedlings from a planting cell by gently forcing the seedling up from the bottom with your finger.
Place a seedling into a hole and push in the soil around the seedling, tapping down on the soil with your hand, or trowel, to eliminate air pockets. Water each seedling, but don't get its leaves or stems wet.