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The wonders of growing bush beans should not be overlooked in the garden. There are numerous benefits to growing bush beans in the garden, especially in container gardens or urban gardens that have limited space.
When to Grow Bush Beans
Bush beans should be grown in the warm season after the soil has warmed up to at least 60°F. Beans do not like the cold and will likely rot if planted in cold, wet soil.
Bush Bean Varieties
Bush beans are a very diverse crop with hundreds of varieties. Bush beans can be eaten two ways. Eat them as fresh pods, where the whole pod is harvested and eaten, or as dry beans. Dry beans are cooked and enjoyed in chillis, stews, soups, and more.
Here are some of our favorite bush bean varieties:
- Landreth Stringless
- Roc D’or
- Royal Burgundy
- So Cal Flavor Trio
- Tepary Beans
- Viva San Diego
Growing Bush Beans from Seed
Bush beans are very easy to direct sow into the garden once the soil has reached at least 60°F. Plant the seeds into well-worked soil with ample compost, that has been irrigated deeply before planting.
Growing Bush Bean Plants
Bush beans are incredible plants that can provide tons and tons of nutrients in a small area. An average bush bean plant only needs about 5-6” between plantings and can produce more beans than a typical family can use. We use all the beans by canning, freezing, and pickling what does not get eaten fresh.
Unlike pole beans, bush beans do not need a structure to grow on, making them easy to grow in a pot or container. The most important thing to remember when growing bush beans in a container is that the smaller the container, the quicker the soil will dry out. This happens because there is more surface area for warm air to surround the pot. Having your containers or pots on hot concrete can suck even more moisture out of your containers. We advise growers to add a thick layer of mulch on top of the soil when possible. This helps to cut down on moisture evaporation.
Beans can be harvested at any stage. When they are harvested young and tender they are known as fresh beans, snap beans or filet beans. To get the best flavor out of these beans, harvest them when they are between 3-5” long before the bean seeds have fully formed.
If you seek to grow dry beans, you can let the beans dry on the plants and harvest them when they are ready. They should make a shaking sound when you rattle them in the pod. All beans can be used as fresh beans or dry beans, depending on when you harvest them.
Like all veggies, beans enjoy organic matter in the soil. If you have poor soil, add compost to the soil. An all-purpose well balanced organic fertilizer can be added to the soil to give your beans a boost.
Growing Bush Beans in Containers
Bush beans are very easy to grow in containers. In fact, they really are the perfect container plant. They do not require much space, only about 5-6” between plantings. The large the container, the more moisture your soil can hold onto, which means less watering. Mulching on top of the soil in your container can help hold in moisture when temperatures get hot.
Bush Bean Companion Plants
Bush beans are smaller plants that do not take over large areas of the garden. Because of this, you do not want to plant anything really tall that could shade your plants. Low growing flowers like gaillardia, marigolds, scabiosa, and calendula all work great when growing bush beans.
Harvesting Bush Beans
Depending on what kind of bean you want to enjoy, you will harvest the beans in one of two ways. You can harvest your beans when they are fresh—before the bean seeds have fully developed. They can simply be clipped from the plant. Pulling them off can damage the plant. If you want to enjoy dry beans, let the beans fully develop on the plant. The pods are likely to turn brown, and the seed will rattle inside of them. From there, you can take off the dried seed pods and remove the bean seeds.