Bush vs. Pole
Green beans are available in both bush and pole varieties. Generally speaking, bush varieties mature more quickly. Some can be ready within 60 days if conditions are right. Pole varieties often take longer to mature, but are more productive for the amount of garden space. Pole varieties will also continue to produce for a longer period, offering multiple harvests.
Green Bean Varieties
Although called green, string or snap beans, these vegetables come in other colors and not all have strings. These are commonly available:
- Royalty Purple Pod – pole bean; purple pods turn green when cooked.
- Goldmarie Vining – yellow Italian Romano-type pole bean.
- Kentucky Wonder – green; available as bush and vine type.
- Provider – green bush type, very prolific.
- Black Valentine – green bush bean celebrated for flavor.
The key in deciding on a planting date for both types of green beans is soil temperature, so use a soil thermometer. You’ll get your best germination by planting beans when the soil temperature is at least 60°F (16°C). The optimum temperature is 80°F (27°C), however. Beans planted at lower temperatures will usually take longer to germinate. Soil temperatures of 95°F (35°C) usually lower germination rates.
Maturity Rates and Planting Dates
Green beans with short maturity dates can be planted at different times of the year and still make a good crop. For example, a bush bean with a 60-day maturity can be planted two weeks after the last frost. You can succession plant every two to four weeks until 60 days before the first expected fall frost and still expect a crop from the last planting.
Adjusting the Season
Green beans don’t tolerate transplanting well, but if you plant them in single-cell containers and are very careful, you may be successful. This can give you a jump of two or three weeks on the season. Another possibility is to use black plastic to warm the soil to proper germination temperature. Purple beans generally can be planted in slightly cooler soil and may give you a two-week head start.
Best Times to Plant
The ideal time to plant green beans is about two weeks after the last frost (if the soil temperature is warm enough). However, planting any time during late spring and early summer will nearly always result in a good crop. Choose beans with short maturity dates for summer planting and succession crops.