Growing Green Beans

Carol Ann Fuller's family has developed ways of processing and growing green beans that have them steeped in the vegetable throughout the entire year.

| March/April 1978

The green bean section of our northern Utah garden is always one of the most prolific parts of the produce patch. And the bushels of beans we pick each season are definitely at the top of my family's list of year-round favorite vegetables.

That's probably because we've developed our very own "down-home" methods of processing and growing green beans. Methods which yield a vegetable only remotely resembling the limp, tasteless, flat, canned green beans that most folks now pick from the supermarket shelves.

Growing Green Beans Starts With the Right Variety ... And Cow Manure

We've found that growing pole beans (stringless pole beans) are a far better choice than bush beans for the home garden. The pole beans — which grow up, rather than out — take up less space. And if you keep them picked back, they'll bear for a much longer period.

Here in northern Utah, we have good luck with Blue Lake Poles (available from Burpee, Henry Field, J.W. Jung, L.L. Olds, and George W. Park seed companies). Check with other vegetable raisers or a reputable garden center in your area for the names of stringless pole beans that grow best where you live.

Perhaps a commercial fertilizer would achieve the same result. But we don't know because we have cows, and we've never had to buy our vegetables' plant food from a store. We just spread a moderate amount of barnyard droppings across the garden and plow and harrow it in with the tractor during the fall or very early spring. (If you don't have real farm equipment to use, you can do the same job with a heavy-duty rototiller ... or a shovel.) It's then fairly easy to rake and re-rake the fertilized and worked soil Into an "onion bed" when planting time rolls around.

And we do plant early ... while the ground is still moist and soft. The beans don't require anything fancy either: We just scratch out a shallow trench — perhaps a couple of inches deep — with the point of the hoe. Then we drop in a thick row of beans, cover the seeds and tamp the soil lightly.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!