Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: Growing Green Beans

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Never soak bean seeds in water to speed up germination; the seed embryos are damaged when deprived of oxygen.
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Green beans are a great crop for kids to grow, because small hands can handle their large seeds well.

The one vegetable most kids will eat raw or cooked, green beans are a fast and easy garden crop. Small hands can easily handle large bean seeds, so they are a great crop for kids to plant and grow.

To learn more about getting started with your own garden, see Vegetable Gardening Tips for Beginners.

Growing Green Beans

Sow bean seeds four inches apart and one inch deep after the last frost has passed and the soil is warm. Any sunny, reasonably fertile spot will do because nitrogen-fixing beans manufacture much of the nitrogen they need to make a good crop. Most green beans have the best flavor when picked young, as soon as the pods start showing bumps from immature beans. Use two hands when picking green beans to avoid mangling the plants.

Green Bean Varieties

You will need to make a trellis to support the twining vines of ‘Kentucky Wonder’, but this venerable old variety will produce six or more harvests of stringless green snap beans.

’Kentucky Wonder’s’ counterpart in low-growing bush form is ‘Provider’, one of the best snap beans for canning because the beans are ready to pick all at once.

The pods produced by ‘Blue Lake Pole’ and its bush-form sister, ‘Blue Lake 274’, are short at only 6 inches, but many gardeners find the homegrown succulence they seek in the ‘Blue Lake’ bean varieties.

Green bean lover’s tip: Never soak bean seeds in water to speed germination. This trick works well with peas, but bean seed embryos are damaged when deprived of oxygen.

Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on .

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