Beans, Bush Growing Guide
Also known as French bean, filet bean, haricot, green bean (bush), wax bean
(bush), string bean (bush)
You can harvest this staple of the vegetable garden as snap beans, shell beans or
dry beans. They are extremely easy to grow, but if your garden is small, consider
planting pole beans. They yield two to three times more from the same space.
full sun; Can tolerate partial shade but will reduce yield.
requires well-drained soil
Prefers well-drained soil, but with consistent moisture. Only requires average fertility. pH 6.0 to 6.8.
Lifecycle: annual; tender annual.
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Flower color: white
Foliage color: medium green
Foliage texture: medium
Shape: spreading mass
Shape in flower: same as above
How to plant:
Propagate by seed—Do not start seeds inside. Beans do not like to be transplanted.
Germination temperature: 70 F to 80 F - Germination is slow and poor when soil temperatures are below
Days to emergence: 8 to 10 - Germination may take two weeks or more if soil temperatures are below
Seed can be saved 5 years.
Maintenance and care:
Do not plant until danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Germination is poor when soil temperature is below 60 F. Cold air temperatures (even above freezing) can injure plants and reduce yields.
Plant seed one inch deep (deeper if soil is dry), about 2 inches apart, in rows 18 to 36 inches apart.
Soaking beans to hasten germination may damage seeds. Do not start seed inside.
For a steady supply of beans, make successive plantings until mid- to late July.
Relay-crop beans following harvest of cool-season crops, such as lettuce, spinach and peas.
Beans require even moisture - about 1 inch per week - especially when flowering and developing pods. If you water, avoid wetting foliage, which encourages disease. Water early in the day so foliage dries quickly.
Mulch after second set of true leaves develops to help retain moisture. Do not use nitrogen fertilizers.
Inoculating seed with rhizobium bacteria may increase yields, especially in soils where beans have not been grown before. Pod set is often poor when temperatures exceed 90 F.
Deformed pods may be the result of lack of moisture, poor soil fertility or insect damage during blooming. A three-year rotation helps reduce some diseases.
Mexican bean beetles - Handpick and destroy beetles and eggs in small plantings. Plant early to avoid this pest. Turn under any infested plants after harvest.
Aphids - A hard stream of water can be used to remove aphids from plants. Wash off with water occasionally as needed early in the day. Check for evidence of natural enemies such as gray-brown or bloated parasitized aphids and the presence of alligator-like larvae of lady beetles and lacewings.
Leafhoppers - Small, light green to gray wedge-shaped insects that suck plant juices, causing stunting, and carrying virus diseases. No cultural control available.
Seedcorn maggot - Avoid heavy manure or organic matter in garden which attract maggot flies and encourages egg laying. Purchase insecticide-treated seed. Use gloves to plant.
Spider mites (two-spotted) - Wash off with water occasionally as needed early in the day. A hard stream of water can be used to remove many mites from plants.
Diseases: To reduce disease spread, do not work among wet plants.
Bacterial blights - Avoid wetting foliage if possible. Water early in the day so aboveground plant parts will dry as quickly as possible. Avoid crowding plants. Space apart to allow air circulation. Eliminate weeds around plants and garden area to improve air circulation. Do not save your own seed.
Bean common mosaic virus (BV-1 and NY 15) - Remove and discard or destroy entire infested plant
along with immediately surrounding soil and soil clinging to roots. Use resistant varieties: Lancer, Provider, Blue Bush 274, Golden Butterwax, Royal Burgundy, Tendercrop, Improved Tendergreen. Manage insect vectors (aphids, thrips, leafhoppers, planthoppers and whiteflies)
White mold - Avoid wetting foliage if possible. Water early in the day so aboveground plant parts will dry as quickly as possible. Avoid crowding plants. Space apart to allow air circulation. Eliminate weeds around plants and garden area to improve air circulation. In autumn rake and dispose of all fallen or diseased leaves and fruit. Crop rotation is essential.
There are many varieties of bush beans to choose from. Pod color ranges from dark green to yellow (often called wax beans) and even to purple. Pods may be round or flat. (Romano types typically have broad, flat pods.) French filet beans are slender and you should harvest them when they are 1/8 to ¼ inch in diameter. Many varieties offer resistance to diseases such as anthracnose, bean mosaic virus, halo blight, bacterial blight, and downy and powdery mildews. Be sure to choose resistant varieties if you experience problems with bean diseases in your garden. You can harvest most varieties as snap beans, shell beans or dry beans. But each variety is usually best at just one of the three stages. Many heirloom varieties are available.
Check out the extensive list of Bush Bean Varieties here. You may find many you will love to grow and become your families new favorite or re-discover an old one.