A Beginners Guide To Growing Beans On The Homestead

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On Today’s Podcast Episode, Harold and Rachel Discuss Everything You Need To Know About Getting Started Growing Beans On Your Homestead. From The Different Types Of Beans To Grow, To Caring For The Plants, To Harvesting, and Even Using Them For Some Of Your Favorite Dishes.

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 244 – June 9, 2024

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Growing beans is a rewarding and straightforward way to boost your homestead’s productivity. Whether you’re looking for snap beans, drying beans, or specialty beans, there’s a variety to suit every garden. Here’s a comprehensive guide to get you started with growing different types of beans.

Bush Green Beans (Snap Beans)

About

Bush green beans, also known as snap beans, are compact and bushy plants that do not require a support structure. They offer a quick turnaround from garden to table and are easy to cultivate.

Planting

  • Sow the seeds directly into the garden soil after the last frost date.
  • Plant them about 1 to 1.5 inches deep and space them 2 to 4 inches apart.

Growing

  • Ensure consistent moisture, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • Incorporate compost or a balanced fertilizer to boost growth and yield.
  • Watch out for common pests like aphids and bean beetles.
  • Crop rotation and proper spacing can help prevent disease.

Harvesting

  • Typically ready to pick within 50 to 60 days after planting.
  • Harvest when they are firm, crisp, and about the thickness of a pencil.
  • Regular picking encourages the plants to produce more beans.
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or preserved by blanching and freezing or canning.

Using

Bush green beans can be steamed, boiled, sautéed, stir-fried, or even deep-fried. They make a perfect addition to various dishes.

Nutritional Benefits

Bush green beans are packed with essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and fiber. They are low in calories, making them a healthy dietary choice.

Popular Varieties

Pole Green Beans (Snap Beans)

About

Pole green beans grow on tall, climbing vines and require support structures like trellises or poles. They use garden space efficiently and often result in higher yields compared to bush beans.

Planting

  • Sow the seeds directly into the garden soil after the last frost date.
  • Plant them about 1 inch deep and space them 3 to 6 inches apart.
  • Provide a sturdy support system for the vines to climb.

Growing

  • Ensure consistent watering, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • Benefit from well-drained, fertile soil with added compost or balanced fertilizer.
  • Monitor for common pests like aphids and bean beetles.

Harvesting

  • Typically mature in 60 to 70 days.
  • Harvest when the pods are firm, crisp, and about the thickness of a pencil.
  • Regular harvesting encourages more bean production.
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or preserved by blanching and freezing or canning.

Using

Pole green beans can be used in a variety of dishes, including steaming, boiling, sautéing, and stir-frying.

Nutritional Benefits

Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and fiber, pole green beans are low in calories and great for a healthy diet.

Popular Varieties

Drying Beans (Shell Beans)

About

Drying beans are grown primarily for their mature seeds and can be enjoyed long after the growing season. They come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, each offering unique flavors and textures.

Planting

  • Sow the seeds directly into the garden soil after the last frost date.
  • Plant them about 1 to 1.5 inches deep and space them 4 to 6 inches apart.

Growing

  • Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • Reduce watering as the beans mature and the pods dry.
  • Incorporate compost or balanced fertilizer for healthy growth.

Harvesting

  • Typically, it takes between 90 to 120 days to mature.
  • Harvest when the pods are fully mature and dry on the plant.
  • Store the dried beans in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

Using

Drying beans are versatile and can be used in soups, stews, chili, bean salads, and baked beans.

Nutritional Benefits

Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins B and K, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants, drying beans are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates.

Popular Varieties

  • Kidney
  • Black
  • Pinto
  • Navy
  • Garbanzo

Fava Beans (Broad Beans)

About

Fava beans are a cool-season crop that produces large, leathery pods filled with creamy seeds. They are known for their rich, nutty flavor and are easy to cultivate in cooler weather.

Planting

  • Sow seeds directly into the garden soil in early spring or fall.
  • Plant them about 1 to 2 inches deep and space them 6 inches apart.

Growing

  • Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • Fava beans enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen and typically require less fertilization.
  • Watch for aphids.

Harvesting

  • Typically take about 75 to 90 days to mature.
  • Harvest young pods for fresh eating or allow them to mature fully for drying.

Using

  • Fava beans can be used in salads, hummus, stews, or roasted for snacks.
  • Fava beans can replace soybeans in chicken feed and pig feed.

Nutritional Benefits

Rich in protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and iron, fava beans are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates.

Popular Varieties

Lima Beans (Butter Beans)

About

Lima beans are warm-season crops known for their large, flat seeds. They come in two types: bush lima beans and pole lima beans.

Planting

  • Sow seeds directly into the garden soil after the last frost date.
  • Plant them about 1 to 1.5 inches deep and space them 4 to 6 inches apart.
  • Provide support for pole varieties.

Growing

  • Ensure consistent moisture, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • Incorporate compost or balanced fertilizer for better growth and yield.

Harvesting

  • Takes about 60 to 90 days to mature.
  • Harvest young beans for fresh use or mature beans for drying.

Using

Lima beans can be used in succotash, soups, casseroles, and salads.

Nutritional Benefits

Lima beans are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins B6 and K, folate, iron, and magnesium.

Popular Varieties

Soybeans

About

Soybeans are warm-season legumes known for their small, round seeds. They are highly valued for their protein content and versatility in culinary applications.

Planting

  • Sow seeds directly into the garden soil after the last frost date.
  • Plant them about 1 to 1.5 inches deep and space them 2 to 4 inches apart.

Growing

  • Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • Soybeans enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen.

Harvesting

  • Takes about 75 to 100 days to mature.
  • Harvest young beans (edamame) or mature beans for drying.

Using

Soybeans can be used for edamame, tofu, soy milk, and tempeh.

Nutritional Benefits

Soybeans are a nutritional powerhouse, offering complete protein, fiber, vitamins B2 and K, folate, iron, magnesium, and healthy fats.

Popular Varieties

Runner Beans

About

Runner beans are vigorous climbers that produce long, flat pods and beautiful flowers. They are known for their prolific growth and high yields.

Planting

  • Sow seeds directly into the garden soil after the last frost date.
  • Plant them about 1 to 2 inches deep and space them 4 to 6 inches apart.
  • Provide a sturdy support structure.

Growing

  • Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during flowering and pod development.
  • Incorporate compost or balanced fertilizer for enhanced growth and yield.

Harvesting

  • Takes about 70 to 90 days to mature.
  • Harvest young pods for fresh use or mature beans for drying.

Using

Runner beans can be steamed, stir-fried, added to salads, or used in soups and stews.

Nutritional Benefits

Runner beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, folate, and iron.

Popular Varieties

  • Scarlet Runner Beans

Yardlong Beans (Asparagus Beans, Chinese Long Beans)

About

Yardlong beans are known for their impressive length and delicate flavor. They can grow up to three feet long and are a staple in many Asian cuisines.

Planting

  • Sow seeds directly into the garden soil after the last frost date.
  • Plant them about 1 inch deep and space them 6 to 8 inches apart.

Growing

  • Provide a sturdy trellis or poles for the vines to climb.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist.
  • Incorporate compost or balanced fertilizer for better growth and yield.

Harvesting

  • Harvest young pods when they are about 12 to 18 inches long.

Using

Yardlong beans can be used in stir-fries, curries, salads, soups, and stews.

Nutritional Benefits

Yardlong beans are rich in vitamins A and C, folate, and dietary fiber.

Popular Varieties

Growing beans on your homestead is a fulfilling and nutritious endeavor. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, homegrown beans.

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Authors

  • User Avatar

    Author, blogger, podcaster, homesteading and permaculture enthusiast. I have a passion for sharing what I learn and helping others on their journey. If you're looking for me, you'll usually find me in the garden.

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  • Rachel Jamison

    An aspiring permaculturist and urban homesteader who loves to teach and inspire others to grow where they are planted.

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