Beans are a popular warm-season vegetable in the home garden. There are many varieties from which to choose. Narrow your choice to what you need in a bean, such as how much garden space you have available for the bean plants and when you wish to harvest the crop.
Types of Beans
Types include bush snap beans, which are green or yellow and round, or flat beans that mature early in the season; pole snap beans, which are tolerant of hot temperatures and mature later in the season; yardlong beans, named for growing pods reaching up to 3 feet in length.
Choosing a Variety
Available garden space and harvest time determine whether to grow bush or pole bean varieties. Decide whether you want a hybrid variety at a higher cost but with proven stability, or an open pollinator that reliably reproduces the following year with seeds saved from the plant. Choose a variety that does well in your climate. Some bean, such as Lima beans, need planting later in the season, while other beans, such as bush beans, fair better when planted soon after the last frost.
Hybrid vs. Open Pollinated
A hybrid results when one bean variety is pollinated with another bean variety. Hybrids are bred for certain traits, such as for disease resistance. Hybrid plants do not reproduce or make reliable seeds. Open-pollinated bean varieties reproduce in the traditional manner, resulting in reliable seed for planting the following year.
Bush bean varieties for bush beans include Blue Lake 272, Derby and Topcrop. Varieties of pole beans include Kentucky Blue, Kentucky Wonder and Louisiana Purple. Somme yardlong bush Lima bean varieties are Dixie Butterpea, Henderson Bush and Jackson Wonder. Pole lima bean varieties include Carolina, Florida Speckled Butter Bean and Willowleaf.
- Mississippi State University: Beans - Vegetable Varieties
- University of Illinois Extension: Beans
- Purdue University Extension; Growing Beans in the Home Vegetable Garden; B. Rosie Lerner; October 2001
- The Ohio State University; Growing Peas and Snap Beans in the Home Garden; Marianne Riofrio
- University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Choosing Seeds for the Garden; Don Janssen; January 2007
- Oregon State University Extension Service; How Are Hybrid and Open-Pollinate Vegeatables Different?; Carol Savonen