Often referred to as string beans, snap beans have been bred to eliminate the stringy fiber along the seam that earned them the name of string bean. The custom of snapping the bean into sections before cooking gives them their new name. These tender vegetables are second only to tomatoes in popularity in the home garden, primarily due to their ease of growing and prolific production. Available in green, yellow and purple, bush snap beans grow on compact plants that reach heights of a foot or more.
Select a planting site in an area that receives full sun for six to eight hours a day. Although snap beans tolerate partial shade, productivity increases in full sun.
Test the soil in the fall or early spring to determine the needs of your soil and to adjust pH if necessary. Your local cooperative extension performs a soil test for a minimal fee and provides a detailed analysis of the soil.
Till the soil to a depth of 8 inches or more. Remove large stones, roots and other debris. Follow the instructions with your soil analysis to amend the soil and adjust pH. Snap beans prefer a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
Sow to a depth of 1 inch, spacing seeds 4 inches apart. Cover with soil and firm down with the back of the hoe to eliminate air pockets. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart.Water to moisten the soil. Beans rot easily in cold damp soil. Avoid over-watering.
Weed by hand to avoid damage to bush bean's shallow root system. Cultivation between rows keeps soil loose, but avoid cultivating close to the plants.
Water once a week. Deep watering once a week is preferred over frequent shallow watering. Allow the soil to dry before watering.
Harvest when beans are 4 inches long before seeds have matured in the pod for tender young beans.