|Flowering Beans - Gibby's Garden|
Plant Type: Annual
Genus: Fabaceae Family
Name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Guide to Growing Beans in the North
When growing different types of beans, always consult the back of the seed packet to ensure proper spacing and support requirements for each variety. Beans do not need to be started indoors because A - they don’t transplant well, and B - they produce early enough to accommodate the North’s growing season.
Where to Plant: Plant in full-sun in well-draining, loamy soil.
Plant Spacing: Follow specific spacing instructions on the back of the seed packet as different types and varieties of beans differ in spacing requirements. For example, bush beans are typically spaced 3" apart while pole beans are spaced 3" apart. Most varieties of pole beans will need to grow along a support such as a trellis or fence.
Fertilization: If need be, till compost or an organic fertilizer light in nitrogen. Soil with high levels of nitrogen produce bigger, fuller plants and fewer beans compared to soil with normal nitrogen levels.
Watering: Water beans regularly, making sure to water on sunny days in the early mornings.
Care: Mulch around beans to prevent weeds and retain moisture. Beans have shallow root systems so take care when weeding as to not disturb the plant’s roots.
How to Harvest Beans
Harvest when beans have reached their maturity by plucking from the plant. Over-mature beans get tough and woody. Allow the beans to reach their full length and color before harvesting. Some varieties of beans can be harvested before they are mature for more tender beans. Consult the back of the seed packet for days to maturity.
Pest and Disease Control
Beans are known for attracting 3 types of “bad” bugs: aphids, Japanese beetles and Mexican bean beetles. Handpick the pests and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. If a severe aphid infestation occurs, lightly spray beans with a mild, soapy water in the early mornings to kill off and prevent aphids.
Bean Mosiac and Downy Mildew are 2 viruses to watch out for when it comes to beans. Plant varieties resistant to these diseases which includes many heirloom varieties. Check the backs of seed packets as well as descriptions in seed catalogs to ensure disease resistance.
When it comes to garden pests, aphids are the ones to watch out for. Inspect the undersides of leaves on bean plants and if an aphid infestation is present, spray plants with mild, soapy water.
Beans can be eaten fresh, canned and frozen.
Types of Beans
Bush Beans: Plants are compact and do not need support unless otherwise stated. Bush beans typically produce their crop at once.
Pole Beans: Vining plants that grow best on trellises or fences. They produce beans over an extended period of time.
Snap Beans: Snap beans can be both bush or pole varieties and are referred to as “stringless.”
Dry Beans: Beans made for shelling after plants have lost most leaves & have been allowed to dry.
Shell Beans: Beans made for shelling when fresh. Typically boiled or steamed before eating.
Colors: Green, yellow, purple
Varieties of Beans
Green Bush Beans
Roma II: High-yields. Broad pods keep fresh taste and bright green color after processing. Plants grow upright. 59 days.
Early Contender: Early variety. Stringless pods grow 6-8" long and are tender. Cans and freezes well. Tolerates Mosiac Virus, heat and greasy pod. 49 days.
Blue Lake 274: High-yields produce all at once. Smooth pods grow 6-6 ½" long. Texture is firm and color is deep. 58 days.
Trofeo: High-yielding filet bean. Crisp, tender pods grow long and provide a buttery flavor. Resists Halo Blight, Anthracnose and bean Mosiac Virus. 58 days.
Jade: Long harvest period. Tender, stringless, straight pods grow 6 ½" long. Provides a sweet taste. Keeps bright green color when frozen. Easily adaptable. 60 days.
Derby: High-yields over long season. Tender, stringless pods grow to 7" long. Easy harvest. Good resistance to bean Mosiac Virus. 57 days.
Provider: Early variety. Adapts easily. Grows well in cool soil. 50 days.
Fresh Pick: High-yielding over extended period. Plants grow large; fewer needed for large crop. 53 days.
Foremost: High-yields. Medium-sized plants can be hand or machine harvested. 53 days.
E-Z Pick: Beans mature all at once for an easy harvest. Plants are sturdy and upright. 55 days.
Venture: Extra-early variety. Extended harvest. Pods are crisp and tender and grow to 5”. Great for northern gardens; tolerates cool soil. 48 days.
Kentucky Wonder 125: Early variety. High-yielding. Pods grow 7-8” long. Tender beans compare to the pole variety. No staking needed. 45 days.
Tenderette: High-yielding over extended season. Stringless, straight pods grow 5” long. Flavorful. Cans and freezes well. 58 days.
Festina: Dark green pods are packed with vitamins. Pods grow 6” long. Provides crisp, tender-sweet taste. Great for hot climates. 56 days.
Nash: Early variety. High-yielding. Straight pods grow 5 3/4” long and are plump and succulent. Great for warm climates. 54 days.
Advantage: High-yielding with slow seed development. Extended harvest. Long, slender pods grow 6 ½" long and are moist and tender. Full of flavor and great for eating fresh, cooking, canning and freezing. 58 days.
Maxibel: European gourmet bean. Slender, stringless pods grow 7-7 ½" long and are dark green in color. Can be used as a snap or filet bean. 59 days.
Gina: Early Romano bean. Large yields. Broad, flat pods grow 5-5 ½" long with large beans packed with flavor. Resists Common Bean Mosiac. 55 days.
Slenderette: Heavy-yielding. Stringless, crisp pods grow 5" long with white beans. Tastes great fresh and freezes well. 53 days.
California Blackeye: High-yielding. Pods grow 7-8” long producing smooth beans. Resistant to most common bean and pea viruses. 75 days.
Harvester: Hardy variety. Pods grow up to 6” long on upright plants. Resists Common Bean Mosiac Virus, Bean Rust Virus and root rot. 53 days.
Strike: Easy to harvest. Pods grow 5 ½” long and are close together. 53 days.
Stringless Green Pod: Early variety. Stringless, curved pods grow 5-6” long. 50 days.
Tendergreen: High-yielding. Loves warm climates. Pods grow 6” long. 58 days.
Topcrop: High-yielding. Stringless pods grow 6” long. Resists Bean Mosiac Virus and Bean Pod Mottle Virus. All American Selections Winner. 54 days.
Purple Bush Beans
Amethyst: Thin, straight pods grow 5-5 ½" long and are burgundy in color. Tasty raw or cooked. Turn green after cooking. 56 days.
Royal Burgundy: Pods grow to 5" and are dark burgundy in color. Turn green after cooking. 55 days.
Dwarf Velour French Bean: Heavy-yielding over extended season. Stringless, long, slender pods grow 5-6" long and are royal purple in color. Gourmet beans are succulent and packed with flavor. 55 days.
Yellow Bush Beans
Imperial Golden Wax: High-yielding. Stringless, bright-yellow pods that grow 4-5" long with a buttery taste. Plants reach 16-18" high. Great for small or large gardens. 50 days.
Rocdor: Early variety. Straight, long pods grow to 6 ½" and are deep yellow when mature. 52 days.
Carson: High-yielding. Yellow pods grow 5 ½" long. Plants are vigorous. Good disease resistance. 52 days.
Soleil: High-yielding. Pods are straight and thin and grow to 4”. Plants are compact at 2’ high and 1’ wide when mature. Great flavor with no aftertaste. 60 days.
Capitano: High-yielding gourmet Romano bean. Flat pods grow 6" long and are golden-yellow in color. Beans grow uniformly with a velvety texture. 60 days.
Goldcrop: Early variety. Stringless, straight pods grow 5-7” long and are wax colored. Adapts well. Easy to harvest beans grow near tops of plants. 55 days.
Top Notch Golden Wax: Early variety. Straight, stringless pods are slightly flat and grow on 15-18” tall plants. 50-55 days.
Green Pole Beans
Fortex: Extended harvest. Stringless, firm pods grow to 11" long. Can be used as a filet bean at 7". 60 days.
Northeaster: Early variety. Sweet, rich pods grow 8" long and 1" wide. Pods are flat, tender and stringless. 56 days.
Garden of Eden: Italian-style heirloom variety. Flat, broad pods grow 6" long and are medium-green in color. Sweet and tender. 65 days.
Kentucky Wonder: High-yields. Straight, smooth pods grow 8-9" long. Vigorous grower. Resists rust. 67 days.
Blue Lake: High-Yields. Straight, stringless pods grow 6" long. Tender and full-bodied. Cans well. 63 days.
Rattlesnake: Productive. Stringless, tender pods grow 7" long and are flat. Green pods are streaked with purple. 73 days.
Gita: (yard long) Stringless, rich, sweet pods grow 16-20" long. Great for stir-fries and Asian cuisine. Produces smaller yields in cooler areas. 78 days.
Orient Wonder: (yard long) Crisp, tender pods grow 15-18" long. Widely adaptable. Great in stir-fries and Asian cuisine. 85 days.
Smeraldo: High-yielding flat bean. Long, straight pods grow 8-10" long on 4-6' tall x 2' wide plants. Packs lots of flavor. 55 days.
Mountaineer White Half Runner: (Also known as Old Dutch Half Runner) Great-yields. Slender, tender pods are rich in flavor. 57 days.
Algarve French Climbing: High-yielding, early harvest. Stringless, uniform, flat-like pods grow 10" long on 6-7' vines. This French gourmet climbing bean is resistant to Bean Mosiac Virus. 52 days.
Kentucky Blue: High-yielding. Succulent, tender pods grow 9" long on 5-8' vines. Light-stringed pods taste like a cross between Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake beans. 58 days.
Tenderstar: New variety. Combination French and runner bean. Stringless, meaty pods grow 7" long and are silky smooth. Vines grow 10'+ tall. Pods resemble French beans while vines resemble runners.
Cobra: High-yielding over extended season. Stringless, smooth pods grow 7" long with a sweet, tender flavor on 5-6' tall vines. 80 days.
Moonlight Runner: High-yielding, self-pollinating runner bean. Sweet, smooth and tender pods grow 10" long on 10' vines. 80 days.
Kwintus: (formerly known as Early Riser) European variety. Flat, stringless and succulent pods grow 10" long on 5-8' vines. Italian flavor. 43 days.
Scarlet Runner: Vines grow 10’ long with scarlet flowers. Can be eaten as snap beans when young or shell beans when mature. 90 days.
Yellow Pole Beans
Marvel of Venice: Heirloom/early variety. Flavorful pods grow 8-9" long and 3/4" wide. Vines grow vigorously. 54 days.
Purple Pole Beans
Red Noodle: (yard long) Burgundy beans grow 16-20" long in clusters. Sweeter flavor than “Gita” yard longs. Great for stir-fries and Asian cuisine. 85 days.
Purple Pod: Stringless, tender pods grow 6-7" long. Deep purple when raw; turns green after cooking. 67 days.
Trionfo Violetto: Heavy-producing Italian heirloom. Succulent pods grow 6" long with a diameter of a drinking straw. Pods grow from summer till early fall in most climates. 75 days.
Fresh Shell Beans
62X Dwarf Horticultural Taylor Strain: Early variety. Pods grow to 5 ½-6” with broad, oval beans. Beans are white-ish in color with red specks. 68 days.
Tongue of Fire: Italian variety. Good fresh, frozen or dried. Easy to shell pods produce 8-10 beans each. 76 days.
Borlotto Solista: Vigorous-yielding Italian bean. Pods grow 9" long and produce meaty, cream-colored beans with maroon stripes and streaks. Kidney-shaped. Hard shelled. 85-95 days.
Black Valentine: Heirloom variety. Bush bean. Pods grow 6” long and can be eaten fresh when young or shelled when mature. Produces all black beans. 70 days.
Fordhook 242: Prolific grower/bush bean. Heat and drought tolerant. Pods contain 3-5 beans each. 75 days.
Baby Thorogreen: Early maturing. Beans grow in clusters on dwarf plants. Beans are plump and great for canning and drying. Grows well in the north. 67 days.
Eastland: Bush/early variety. High yields over extended season. Semi-flat, uniform pods grow 3-4" long and produce succulent, flavorful beans. 68 days.
Dixie Butterpea: Bush variety. Huge yields. Beans are succulent and rich growing nearly-round and white in color. Meaty taste. Resists Downy Mildew. 75 days.
Henderson: Bush variety. Large pods produce 3-4 beans each. Cans and freezes well. 67 days.
Black Jet: High yields/prolific grower. Beans are jet black and packed with flavor. Plants grow 2’ high. Easy to grow. 104 days.
Envy: Low-yields. Early variety. Great for short seasons. Beans are bright-green and can be used fresh or dried or for edamame. Plants grow upright to 2’ tall. 75 days.
Tohya: Early variety. Green pods are plump and average 3 beans per pod. Beans have a firm texture and buttery flavor. Comparable to “Butterbeans”. Plants are compact and grow to about 2’ tall. 78 days.
Butterbeans: High-yielding. Prolific grower. Pods produce 3 large beans on average. Beans are sweet and buttery to taste. Easy to shell. Plants grow 2-2 ½’ tall. A favorite among soybeans. 90 days.
BeSweet 292: Bush variety. Edamame. Pods grow 2-3 beans each. High in protein. 85 days.
Windsor: Old English variety. Pods grow 5-6” long and produce 3-5 large beans 1” in size. Grows well under cool, mild conditions. 75 days.
Broad Windsor: Pods grow 7” long and produce 5-6 large, flat beans each. Eat fresh pods when young or as shell beans when mature. Unique flavor. 120-150 days.
Other Shell Beans
Calypso: Half black, half white beans. Double in sized when boiled. Great for soups and baking. Meaty beans have mild flavor. 90 days.
Dry Shell Beans
Kenearly Yellow Eye: Easy harvest - best for baking. Compares to Maine Yellow ye. Great for baked beans, soups, stews and creamy broth. Beans are uniform and white with light-brown eyes. 90 days.
Vermont Cranberry: Northern New England Variety. Pods grow 6” on upright plants. Medium-sized beans are oval in shape, plump and red and pink striped. Mild taste is great for baking or in soups and stews. Can be shelled fresh or dried. 75 days fresh, 98 days dry.
European Soldier: White kidney-bean. Beans are medium-sized and great for baking and stews. 95 days.
Light Red Kidney: Early variety. Light-red kidney bean good for salads, chili and stew. 95 days.
Midnight Black Turtle Soup: Small black beans grow on tall, upright bushes. Beans grow to about the size of a pea. A favorite in Latin cooking. Great for refrying and in soups and stews. 104 days.