jrleek
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Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I like fresh green beans a lot, but my previous attempts to grow them have been underwhelming. My wife finds them too tough to eat. She likes the kind my mother grows, but even when I grew the same variety they were too tough.

I live in Livermore California, which is zone 9a. It doesn't get too hot in the summer (about 90F usually), but it is very dry. I suspect I may be under watering them? Might that cause toughness?

Thanks,
Jim

HoneyBerry
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I had a good time growing bush beans. The were easy to grow and the beans tasted great. I grew both green bush beans and purple bush beans. Both types did well, but the green variety did produce more than the purple variety. In fact, there were twice as many green beans as there were purple. I would still grow purple again, because they are a beautiful bean and unusual. I canned the beans myself. I packed the jars with full size beans in both colors, so the jars were very pretty to look at when done. The green and purple stripes were a hit. Next time I do this I plan to add dill or pickle them. I don't recall the brand of seeds. Probably Ed Hume seeds. That's what I used to buy back then.
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imafan26
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

You are probably picking them old. You need to try to pick them before the seeds swell when they are around 4-5 inches long. I prefer to harvest mine shorter than the 7 inches they can become because I want a really flat bean, no lumps. In a couple of days a bean can go from just right to too old.

Some beans are better than others but everyone has their favorite
Dragon tongue isn't what I call pretty. It has purple streaks on it but it is tender and when it is older it is a good shelled bean too.

I have grown Kentucky Wonder and they are o.k. they just got bean rust, so I could not grow them anymore.

Most people here don't like the round podded beans but prefer flat pods. The local variety that tastes good, is stringless and disease resistant is Poamoho.

Greencrop and Derby are also good beans. I did try maxibel, but the pods did not get very long. I actually like the butter, lima, and Italian beans better than string beans.

Beans usually can take the heat as long as they have an organically rich well drained soil and are mulched well. They do need water but if the vine is not wilting or drying up, it is probably getting enough.
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catgrass
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I am a zone 9 gardener-however, I am in Louisiana. I grow contender-makes about a 6 inch long bean. Don't let them get too old-When they start bearing, I pick every other day. Beans will get tough when the weather gets too hot. I plant mine around early/mid March. Usually done by May. You can plant again in the fall-usually around late August.
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imafan26
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

When beans are in full production you need to pick the beans every one to two days because they will grow that fast. The good thing about growing the colored beans are that they are easier to find. It is hard to find all of the green beans against the green leaves.
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jal_ut
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I like the Jade bush beans. Yes, you need to pick them when small and pick every two days. They can get too mature quickly.
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Taiji
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

My bread and butter bean is Burpee's stringless green pod. They have been very prolific and hardy for me. I usually get quite a few pickings. My summers are hot and dry too and I water of course, but I wouldn't say inordinately so, especially if the plants are mulched. I seem to be always able to count on stringless green pods. But, being a bush bean, it gets a little old having to bend and stoop down to pick them. Hard on these old knees and back!

I loved Kentucky Wonders too, but in recent years they seem to have become much more stringy than they used to be. Not sure why. They are a bean that need to be snapped and strings removed, but the last couple of years, more so than usual. Also, when cooking, they seem to be prone to splitting in half and falling apart. Maybe I just need to try a different brand of seed. They used to be my favorite bean.

Buccsfan
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I've found that green beans must be picked much earlier than you would think. Even when I was young, I remember my grandfather picking them very regularly. They were delicious steamed.

pepperhead212
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

My favorite green bean is Blue Lake pole. I also plant a purple pole bean - Blauhilde - which is more resistant to rust, and less quick to become stringy than other purples I have grown, and is ALWAYS the first bean to produce in my garden. I have tried many other pole varieties, but there was always something wrong - disease, toughness, strings, low production - compared to my favorites.
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imafan26
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I agree the Kentucky wonder bean was a lot better and somehow they have become more stringy and they are not rust resistant.

Beans, BTW, are a drought tolerant vegetable. They don't require a lot of water especially if you prepare your soil well with lots of organic matter, water deeply, and mulch.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

jrleek
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I'd just like to say thanks for all the advice and recommendations. I haven't ever seen my beans wilting, so it must just be that I'm not harvesting aggressively enough.

One problem has also been that I haven't ever gotten very good germination. That may just be due to using old seed though. Since my wife didn't like it I was mostly just planting a few plants I got as leftovers.

imafan26
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

If seeds are stored properly, in a cool dry place (my refrigerator), bean seed are good for 10 years. If germination isn't that great then soil prep and pH may be a problem although beans would be more tolerant than other things.

Add 4-6 inches of peat moss and mix it into the soil before you plant. Peat moss is acidic with a pH of about 5. I suspect your soil is higher under more droughty conditions. I like to use a preplant fertilizer with a low N. 8-8-8 , or citrus food.
I like numbers under 10 or at least no higher than 15. I use about a half a cup for 100 sq ft. Most plants tolerate an acidic soil better than an alkaline one.
Make sure the soil is deeply watered before you plant so that there will be enough moisture for the germinating seed.
Plant bean seeds about an inch deep. Water well and keep evenly moist but not soggy. The beans should spout within 7-10 days. Mulch after they have sprouted to help retain water in the soil. Make sure nothing is coming in and running off with your seeds. I had a mouse once that came and ate all of my corn seeds after I planted them. I caught it though, after a bit of trial and error. I bought a rat trap instead of a mouse trap so it did not spring. It worked when I used a mouse trap and corn as bait. I usually don't have to do so much work, but I did not have a cat then.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

Your plant weren't very productive because you let the beans get too old. They should produce very well if the beans are picked frequently and at an early stage.

Don't mess around with the plants when they are wet from dew, rain, or watering. They get rust which if bad enough kills them off very quickly.

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jal_ut
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

When I was a youngster, the farmers would plant a bean patch for beans to go to the cannery. It was a cash crop for them. In the spring we could get paid for cutting bean poles (willow shoots) for the beans to climb. Then when the beans came on we could get paid for picking the beans. Many of the women got a job at the cannery getting the beans put in cans.

You might try some pole beans?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Peter1142
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

You can't go wrong with fortex. Delicious and tender even when the seeds enlarge. Massive production.
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imafan26
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I've heard good things about Fortex. Is it nematode and rust resistant?
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Peter1142
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I do not see any specific resistances listed for it. Mine last year were pumping out until frost and the bush beans were very rusty. I had maybe 10 plants growing up 4 poles and I was picking buckets of beans, and they never got tough.
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Gary350
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

There are many varieties of beans you need to test several to find the ones you like best. Many years ago in TN I experimented by planting several rows of different beans about 6 varieties each time. I learned we like Blue Lake Bush Beans best they have NO strings, grow larger than most beans and still are NOT tough and they have a very good flavor. I still plant Blue Lake Bush Beans.

I plant 3 rows of beans about 25 foot long each 32" apart. Beans are ready to harvest in about 65 days. 65% of my bean crop comes from the first harvest, 25% from second harvest and 10% from third harvest so I pull all my bean plants up after the first harvest and plant a new crop of beans this gives me 30% more beans for the whole summer, much better than 1 crop of beans. This also gives me 65 pints of beans in Mason jars and we eat all the beans we can eat all summer along.

Bush beans make more beans than pole beans. Pole beans are easy on your back when picking but you have to, cut poles, put up poles, take down poles, clean poles, every year. I use a small chair, large hat, and 5 gallon bucket to pick my bush beans and I crawl around on my hands and knees in the dirt to pick beans.

When I lived in Phoenix Arizona area I planted beans in November and March. I had a homemade irrigation system. I watered my beans 15 minutes every day at sun down. The beans I planted in March did better than November beans probably because days were longer and it was much warmer weather and not very hot on harvest day.

I like to plant beans in between the tomato rows. 1,2,1,2,1,2,1 with 1 being tomatoes and 2 being beans. After the bean harvest I pull up the bean plants it makes more room for the tomato plants this makes it easy to harvest tomatoes too. I plant beans is a WIDE row sow the seeds like grass seeds 2" apart in 6" wide rows. This puts a lot of plants in a small space and gives me a larger harvest for a small space.

Peter1142
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I would not agree that bush beans produce more than pole beans, my experience is that bush beans produce one fast crop, but over the season pole beans produce much, much more for the same real estate. It sounds like maybe you should try some better pole varities. The Fortex just did not slow down producing buckets all summer and fall long. I don't think it is physically possible for a bush patch to produce that much. Of course, there are other benefits to bush beans, like the short DTM and the small plant size.

I tried a summer planting of beans and they did poirly compared to the spring planting.
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Gary350
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

Peter1142 wrote:I would not agree that bush beans produce more than pole beans, my experience is that bush beans produce one fast crop, but over the season pole beans produce much, much more for the same real estate. It sounds like maybe you should try some better pole varities. The Fortex just did not slow down producing buckets all summer and fall long. I don't think it is physically possible for a bush patch to produce that much. Of course, there are other benefits to bush beans, like the short DTM and the small plant size.

I tried a summer planting of beans and they did poirly compared to the spring planting.
Other things you need to consider are, do you want to be a slave to your garden every day all summer or would you like to take a week vacation 2 or 3 times this summer, go camping several times, take several weekend trips, etc. I like for all my beans to come quick so I can CAN 65 pints of beans and be finished for the year. Most of my tomatoes come in 4 weeks so I CAN 100 pints and 20 quarts of tomatoes. Beans are a 65 day crop you can actually grow 3 crops of bush beans if you want compared to 1 crop of pole beans that last all summer until frost kills them. I doing like Canning or Freezing vegetables every day all summer it interferes with all the other FUN things we like to do. Some plants like beans will die if you fail to harvest every single beans before it produces mature seeds in the pods this signals the plant it is finished for the year so I commits suicide. Blackberry plants do the same thing if you pick every single berry you can still be harvesting blackberries in Oct but you fail to pick 1 berry it stops making berries. It is also very nice to harvest enough FRESH vegetables every day for all the meals for that day all summer until frost kills your plants. You need to think ahead and PLAN for these things. Farmers go for 1 big cash crop but home gardeners usually like to have fresh vegetables every day for as long as their growing season allows and still put lots of fresh vegetables in mason jars or the freezer.

One thing I will do different this year is plant 4 rows of beans, pull up the plants after first harvest then plant corn. Beans add nitrogen to the soil something corn needs. I should be a better crop of corn.
Last edited by Gary350 on Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

imafan26
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I planted Poamoho beans and got about 2 weeks worth of beans and now there are no flowers or beans coming. This is a local pole bean variety. The vines are still green but don't seem to be growing much, so do I just need to wait for another cycle or are they done? I have planted this variety before, but I did not pay attention to how long the beans produced. I did leave one bean on the vine for seed. I have 9 pole beans planted in my tomato pot. If this is all I am going to get, I have another cucumber to plant out.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Peter1142
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

I don't know anything about that variety, but I would definitely give them a chance.
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Taiji
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Re: Tips on Green Bean gardening and varieties?

jal_ut wrote:I like the Jade bush beans. Yes, you need to pick them when small and pick every two days. They can get too mature quickly.
I ordered some Jade beans today on your recommendation. Sounds like they are really special. I didn't want to go to the major seed companies to just order one package because of the high postage costs, so, I looked on ebay. I found some independent sellers who sells packets of stuff with reasonable postage costs. Of course, you never know for sure what you're getting, but some sellers advertise non GMO and organic and have good feedback. Thought it was worth it. I ordered 100 seeds; that should last me for 2 yrs. Thx.



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