Growing Guide
 
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Bush beans

Vegetable (Warm Season) - Other

Also known as French bean, filet bean, haricot, green bean (bush), wax bean (bush), string bean (bush)
Phaseolus vulgaris (Bush beans)
Fabaceae Family

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.

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Site Characteristics
Sunlight:
  • full sun
Can tolerate partial shade but will reduce yield.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers well-drained soil, but with consistent moisture. Only requires average fertility. pH 6.0 to 6.8.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Tender annual.

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom time:

  • mid-summer
  • late summer

Flower color: white

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: spreading mass

Shape in flower: same as above

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • not native to North America - Species has been under cultivation worldwide for more than 7,000 years.
  • bears ornamental fruit - Some varieties have purple or yellow pods.
Special uses:
  • edible landscaping
Growing Information
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 60 F.

Days to emergence: 8 to 10 - Germination may take two weeks or more if soil temperatures are below 60 F.

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.

Pests:
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. Use resistant varieties: Lancer, Provider,Blue Bush 274, Golden Butterwax, Royal Burgundy, Tendercrop, Improved Tendergreen. Manage insect vectors.

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.

Varieties
Browse bush bean varieties at our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website.

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 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.

Some varieties recommended for New York include:

Green pod:

Bush BlueLake
Charon
Derby
Jade
Provider
Roma II (Italian flat pod)
Tendergreen Improved

Yellow pod (wax):

Golden Butterwax
Golden Rod
Rocdor

Dry Beans:

Cabernet
California Red Kidney (light red kidney)
Chinook 2000 (light red kidney)
Etna (cranberry)
Fleetwood (navy)
Jacob's Cattle (specialty)
Midnight (black turtle soup)

Miscellaneous:

French Horticultural
Romano
Royal Purple Burgundy