Hero Image

Guide to growing beans

Beans originated in Central or South America. They are fast and very easy to grow, and come in two forms, pole and bush.

Selecting your varieties

  • Think about the space you have for beans and how you want to harvest them.
  • Pole beans grow on a narrow plant, but reach six to 10 feet tall and must have support with a tall trellis or tripod. Bush beans grow two feet tall and wide, so support is optional, though a low cage can be useful to corral them.
  • Pole beans bear over a long season and produce a larger crop; a bush bean plant bears over a two or three-week period.

Where, When and How to Plant Your Seedlings

  • You can pop the plants into an amended bed when you get them home from the sale.
  • Put any supports in place prior to planting - beans grow fast.
  • For bush beans, place them so that they will have room for air circulation even at their two feet wide width. Pole beans can be planted three plants to a pole, or every few inches along a trellis.

Soil and Fertilizer

Beans should not need fertilizer in well-amended soil; beans’ superpower is that their roots capture nitrogen from the air. If the plants are not growing well, use a vegetable fertilizer with more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen, following the package directions.


Maintain even moisture, especially during bloom and bean formation. Beans have shallow roots; use frequent irrigation to keep them from drying out.


  • Harvest every day or two to get the best flavor and encourage more beans to grow.
  • Beans are ready when the pods are firm and smooth.

Additional resources