Both green and shelling bean varieties are warm season vegetables. They produce prolifically all through summer and into fall when the weather is warm. Most types are simple to grow without any special concerns. Green beans, also called snap or pole beans, are prized for their edible pods. Shell beans include all the dried bean varieties such as kidney and pinto. Caring for your bean plants properly throughout the growing season ensures healthy plants and an abundant harvest.
Plant pole beans along a trellis or fence as they must have a structure to climb. Alternately, install a 6-foot-tall stake and plant pole beans around each stake. Bush beans rarely need staking though some taller plants benefit from support.
Pull weeds around young bean plants by hand. Break up the top ½ inch of soil with a hand cultivator to prevent weed germination. Avoid digging deeper than ½ inch, as beans have shallow roots that are easily damaged.
Lay a 2-inch layer of mulch, such as straw or bark, over the bed and around the plants once the beans are 4 inches tall. Mulching preserves soil moisture and prevents weed growth.
Water beans once weekly in a single deep watering. Provide approximately 1 inch of water, which moistens the top 1 foot of soil.
Harvest beans as soon as they are mature. Harvest snap beans when the pods are long and at optimum color but before the beans inside begin forming and swelling. Harvest shell beans when the pods begin to dry and the beans rattle inside. Frequent harvesting encourages further production on the plant.