Grow More Green Beans!
When the veggies in the garden are ready to pick-all at once-it can be overwhelming. It’s as if they all said, “Here ya go!” in unison chorus. Green beans, peas, and tomatoes are all singing to be picked at the same time. The corn get the cue and chimes in for relief of the beautiful ears soon afterward. All the other veggies like to be harvested over a more even time but it’s still a whole month of preserving veggies with little time to catch some rest.
Here in Florida, the Summer harvest of multiple veggies is over in a flash. Being a Florida native, I’ve learned that detailed planning in order to avoid the veggie killing heat and the disease-ridden moisture that comes with the Sub-tropical Summer is very important. Yet, how can the harvest be extended when the window of opportunity is so short? Here’s how you can beat the summer green bean garden blues.
The Summary to a Successful Extended Bean Harvest
- Choose the best bean variety for your area.
- Plant three times
- Use shade cloth
Get More Green Beans From Your Plants
The best bean variety for your area
A popular bean called, “Bush Blue Lake” is grown all over the U.S. They are a bush, which makes it easy to grow because you will not need to train them onto a fence or pole. I’ve tried several varieties and this one outshines all the rest not only in taste but in yield. The bean itself is about six inches long, is tender, and has no string. They are not fibrous but are hearty enough to keep their shape and taste in a long-simmered soup.
These pointers will help you with your bean growing endeavor too, no matter where you live. You can find out about other bean varieties by joining a local gardener’s facebook page and ask your fellow gardeners which is the best green bean they grow.
Before you plan a garden, the best way to determine which crops are best for you and your family, download the FREE worksheet that will help you navigate through important questions that need to be asked before you plant. When you join our community, you will get it FREE! CLICK HERE
Plant Green Beans Three Times
Find out how many days you have from the last frost date in Spring to the first frost date in the Fall. If you have ninety days or more, you can extend your harvest by several weeks. This will give you fresh green beans to enjoy for many weeks. If you grow enough to can, this method will give you time to can fewer at a time and possibly get even more to can.
Plant some of your beans as soon as the last frost date is done. Plant more two weeks later. Finally, plant again two weeks after the second planting and fill in “holes” with fresh seeds. The “holes” are any spots where the bean seed did not sprout or some bug or critter got it. You may as well use the space with a new plant, right?
To learn how to plant your green bean seeds, be sure to start with this post, “How to Plant Seeds for a Successful Spring Garden”.
Beat the Heat With a Shade Cloth
During the hottest days of the summer, cover your plants with shade cloth. Have you ever seen a dog hunt for a shady spot to cool off under? Cows do it too! They know what they are doing. Try it yourself!
First, you will need one strong stake every two feet. I recommend that the stakes be taller than the plants by at least one foot. That way, any breezes can flow through and help the cooling effect. Then, drape shade cloth over the stakes. Use clothespins or large hinge clips that are for keeping papers together and anchor the cloth around the stakes the best you can. That’s all there is to it. You will have to adjust the cloth as the days go by.
You will be able to tell a big difference when you lean under the shade it offers. The natural moisture coming off the plants seems to enhance the cool air under the shade cloth too.
It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s worth the eyesore for a few weeks. I’ve actually seen colored cloth that is not as ugly, but this color works, so I’m gonna keep it!
My Green Bean Success Story
I followed these steps for the first time this year. The results are a harvest that’s double the amount of beans I normally would have gotten from a ten-foot section of one garden bed. I’m so pleased. This way, we are eating fresh beans for a longer time than we ever had.
Fresh beans at least twice a week means I get to make our favorite green bean recipe. It’s super healthy and super flavorful. I can’t wait to share it with you.
So far, I’ve canned 7 quarts and 6 pints. For thorough instructions about how to can beans, I have a complete tutorial, CLICK: “How to harvest and Preserve Green Beans”.
I have about four more pints cooked and ready to eat in the fridge. Cooking ahead, at least part of the meal, really helps the late afternoon blues when you realize you still have to cook dinner.
For just a little
A garden journal is exactly what you need to keep track of what worked and what didn’t. All this is done for you! For just a little, you can get a printable document that’s got you covered from your seed wish list to your harvest records. There are 39 pages of charts, record keeping, garden map grids, and lots of pages for your garden journaling about the garden in general as well as the individual veggies and fruit that you are growing. It’s only $4.99! You can find out more details and order it here and get started right away. (A digital version is also available in the shop.)
Green Bean Planting Tips
Additional tips for lots of beans include:
- Plant seeds in well-drained soil.
- Water when they need water
The Best Soil for Green Beans
Green beans are not nearly as picky about their home as most vegetable plants. They DO NOT want a rich bed that is full of nitrogen. They want soil that’s “just right”, not too rich and not too poor. Don’t make the mistake of adding manure to a “just right” soil. That adds too much nitrogen which will give you beautiful plants and few green beans. I add just a touch of manure to my soil mixed with other nutrients such as bone meal and Epsom Salts as well as sulfur. The sulfur is because green beans need the soil to be a little on the acid side and my soil is normally overly alkaline. Hint: get a soil test-it’s worth it!
Don’t Make Watering Mistakes
Green beans can be picky about their hydration. If you forget to water, especially during the formation of green beans, the beans will be the first to be affected. They will curl or become rubbery. Too much watering and you stand a good chance of weakening the plants and they will become diseased.
How to Tell if Your Green Bean Plants Need Water
It’s so easy! Stick your finger up to the first knuckle-about one inch down. If it’s dry that far down, it’s time to water. If it’s damp, test it again twelve to twenty-four hours later. Give them a good soaking but don’t leave the water on too long.
A Green Bean Rescue Hack
One day, I went out in the heat of the day, around three o’clock in the after noon to pick beans. The beans were not crisp and felt a bit dry. They had a slight limp feel to them. I felt the soil and sure enough, they needed watering. So, I quit picking after the first handful, got the hose, and watered the bushes thoroughly. The next morning, I had crisp green beans to pick. I was SO EXCITED that it worked!
The Latest Update on Our Beans
We are still picking beans from that spot but they will soon give out simply because the plants are old. If they perk up for some reason, I’ll tell you about it…..I get excited about things like that!
If you have already planted your beans for the Spring and Summer, no worries. Make notes to do it next time! Have you ever thought about having a journal that is just for your garden? Keeping notes, journaling and planning are part of being a successful gardener.
And, may all your weeds be wildflowers!
Veteran Homeschooler, avid gardener, and proud grandma
I believe that you can design a peaceful lifestyle while you homeschool, complete with a garden if you want, and meals that will make the best memories you ever could imagine!
I homeschooled seven kids through high school, starting them all with a lot of planned, hands-on activities. Then, I centered subjects around the activities. That gave them lots of room for their natural curiosity to be satisfied as they learned about God’s world.
Let me help you teach kids, grow food, and stay calm!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Mat 6:33 CSB