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A Complete Guide to Planting & Growing Bush Beans

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

Bush beans are easy to grow in your backyard garden or in pots. Helping with planting beans has been a favorite of my kids garden activities since the time they were toddlers. The size of the seeds makes planting beans easy for any age. Beans are listed as one of the 11 easiest vegetables for beginner gardeners to grow.

Growing beans in your vegetable garden is not only easy to do but also beneficial to your garden soil! Beans (along with the rest of the legume family) add nitrogen back into your soil.

Bush Bean Varieties

Bush beans come in many varieties and colors including purple, yellow and green beans. Most varieties of bush been seeds sold today are stringless. One of my favorite varieties of green beans is the Provider variety. It is one of the earliest green beans and can be ready for harvest just 50 days after planting.

When to Plant Bean Seeds

Beans are a heat loving crop that is very sensitive to frost. A soil temperature of 25°C (77°F) is needed for good germination.

Bean seeds can be planted directly into your garden 10 days before your last frost. Where I live, in zone 3 Alberta, I often find myself planting beans around June 10th. I often get a very light frost the second week of June. If my beans are up and not covered I lose them to the frost. Hail is another one that sadly likes to take out my beans.

Because planting beans is done fairly late in the season, consider planting radishes, spinach, and other fast growing, cold hardy baby greens near the end of March in the garden bed where you plan to plant beans. Plan to harvest these prior to planting beans.

Planting Beans - Spacing and Depth for Planting Bush Beans

Soaking bean seeds before planting beans in soil is controversial. Some people soak bean seeds to speed up germination. Bean seeds are susceptible to rotting, especially if the soil temperature is cool. If you wish to soak your bean seeds, soak for less than 8 hours and rinse them well prior to planting.

Plant bean seeds 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart. Thin to 4 inches apart. Suggested spacing between bean rows is normally 18 inches but in my raised beds I plant beans around 10 inches apart with good success.

Check your seed package to make sure your bean seeds have been packaged in the past year. Bean seed germination rates fall rapidly with age. Two-year-old beans may only have a germination rate of 50%.

How Long Does it Take Beans to Germinate?

It normally takes anywhere from 7 to 16 days for beans to germinate (or sprout) depending on soil temperature, moisture, and bean variety.

Succession Planting Beans

Because beans tend to suddenly be ready at the same time it is helpful to succession plant beans every two weeks for a continuous supply. Keep in mind how many days your beans need to mature and when your fall frost is to be sure you have time for the later beans to mature.

Harvesting bush beans in a raised bed garden in zone 3 Canada.
Harvesting beans from my raised garden bed.

Where to Plant Beans

Plant your beans in a full sun location and in well drained soil. Beans can tolerate a wide pH range but ideal soil pH for beans is 6.0 to 6.5. Planting beans in pots and raised beds are great options as the soil tends to warm up sooner and to stay warmer above ground level.

How Often to Water Beans

Like most garden vegetables, beans require 1 to 2 inches of water per week, depending on soil and weather conditions. Check out my tips for watering your vegetable garden.

Watering bush beans growing in a raised bed zone 3 vegetable garden in Alberta, Canada.

Do Beans Need Fertilizer?

Surprisingly, no, beans do not need fertilizer. In fact too much nitrogen will produce lots of leaves but delay flowering and thus, harvest date. Instead make sure you are planting into good soil and simply water as needed.

Harvesting Beans

Beans can be harvested as soon as the pods reach the desired size for eating. Smaller beans picked sooner tend to be more tender. Bush beans normally produce for 2 to 3 weeks. During this time harvest beans every few days. You will find the pods grow rapidly and seem to appear from nowhere!

It is best not to harvest beans while the leaves are wet as this may make them more susceptible to disease.

Green beans harvested from a gardener growing beans in Canada, zone 3.

Companion Plants for Bush Beans

Companion plants for bush beans include beets, nasturtiums, radishes, peas, strawberries, celery, corn, cucumbers, Swiss chard, potatoes and marigolds. Avoid planting bush beans near onions and garlic.

What to Plant After Beans

Because beans add nitrogen into the soil plant heavy feeders like brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts) or squash in the garden space the year following planting beans.

If you have found this article helpful and would like to see more gardening tips and tricks, subscribe to my blog (the bottom of the home page) and follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and/or YouTube!

How to grow bush beans from seed to harvest in your garden in Alberta, Canada.

How to plant and grow bush beans in zone 3 Alberta Canada.

A guide to growing bush beans from seed in Canada.


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