How to Grow Beans from Seed to Harvest
You want to grow beans in your garden or on your balcony? Good news! It’s fairly simple and also quite a lot of fun.
However, before you start, you need some information on how to grow beans in an optimal manner.
In this article, I provide you with all the information that is necessary to grow beans from seed to harvest step-by-step.
I have also included some videos from other passionate gardeners so that this article gives you all the information you need to grow beans in the best possible manner.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it! 😉
Table of Contents
Bean Plant Profile
|Size||Around 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 – 2 feet wide.|
|Climate||Beans grow best in warm to moderate climatic zones with optimal temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|Sun Exposure||Beans grow best with full sun all day long.|
|Soil Requirements||Bean plants grow best in rather acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.|
|Country of Origin||South America.|
|Growing Difficulty||Easy to Intermediate. Even beginners can grow beans in a decent manner.|
|Perennial?||No, beans are grown as an annual and are therefore harvested within the first growing year.|
|When should you start?||The best time to start growing your beans is in spring.|
|Expected Yield & Harvest||You can expect to harvest between 80 and 120 beans per plant and it will take between 45 and 70 days to grow beans from seed to harvest.|
|What to do with it?||You can make all kinds of delicious salads out of your beans|
What Types and Varieties of Beans can you grow?
There are many different bean varieties you can grow at home. I listed the most popular ones for you below.
- Bush beans
- Pole beans
- Snap beans
- Green beans
- Yellow beans
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Navy beans
- Lima beans
My favorite bean type to grow is the traditional green bean since it delivers pretty decent yields, is fairly easy to grow and also tastes quite well.
However, you might have a completely different taste and if you are not sure which bean type you want to grow, I highly recommend you just go for a handful of different bean varieties.
By growing more than one bean variety, you can get to know many different types of beans and can figure out which ones you like best.
In turn, you can grow your favorite bean varieties also in future years.
Moreover, growing many different bean varieties is also quite a lot of fun and also quite interesting since you will get plants and crops of many different shapes and forms.
If you are a rather adventurous person, you can also just go for a bean seed mix and enjoy the surprise 😉.
When should you start to grow Beans?
The best time range to start growing beans is between the end of March and the end of April. You can also start as late as the end of May.
Since beans don’t take to long to grow from seed to harvest, you will have a significant level of discretion regarding when to start growing your beans.
You should also consider the climatic zone you live in.
In general, I would advise you to start with your bean growing project around one month before the last freeze is expected.
Of course, you should start indoors and transplant your seedlings outdoors later on in the year when temperatures no longer drop below the freezing mark.
How long does it take to grow Beans from Seed to Harvest?
It takes between 45 and 70 days to grow beans from seed to harvest. Of course, this also greatly depends on the bean variety, the climatic conditions, the soil conditions and also on your individual skill level.
While experienced gardeners may be able to grow beans in even less than 45 days, you may need more than 70 days to grow beans from seed to harvest if you are still a beginner simply since you will make some mistakes on the way.
However, even if it takes you a little bit longer to grow your beans from seed to harvest, don’t get discouraged! Everyone of us started out as a beginner and made the same mistakes.
For me personally, I don’t even care too much how long it takes me to grow my beans.
In fact, I love the process of growing beans more than I love harvesting them.
Hence, the longer it takes to grow my beans, the longer I can enjoy growing them.
Thus, just enjoy the growing experience instead of just the end result. If you start out early on in the year with your bean growing project, it doesn’t matter if it takes you a little bit longer.
Just keep on growing and you will be rewarded later on in the year.
What is the best Climate to grow Beans?
Beans usually grow best in moderate to warm climatic zones. Thus, if you live in the US or in Western Europe, you will have perfect conditions to grow beans in most states.
Even if you don’t live in climatic zones that are perfect for growing beans, you can still grow them at home.
After all, perfect is relative and nothing is perfect in life. If you can’t provide optimal climatic conditions, it may just take you a little bit longer to grow your beans.
What Temperatures do Beans like?
Most bean varieties grow best with daytime temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, as mentioned before, we are talking about optimal conditions here.
Seed companies did a great job in developing bean strains that are quite resistant to various different climatic conditions and even though you might not have those temperatures in your region, you can still grow beans as long as temperatures do not drop below the freezing mark during summer.
What do you need to grow Beans?
For growing beans at home, you need some equipment that I listed for you below.
- Growing bed (to grow your bean seedlings)
- Flower pots (only necessary if you don’t have a garden to grow your beans)
- Bean seeds
- Fertilizer (you can make your own organic fertilizer for which I give you the instructions below)
- Sticks and cord to stake your beans
- Potting soil
- Slug fence
- Watering can
- Garden shovel
- Compost (optional)
- Passion and patience for growing beans 😉
What Yield can you expect when you grow Beans?
You can expect each bean plant to yield between 80 and 120 beans. However, please note that this greatly varies across the different bean varieties and that this also depends on various different factors.
For instance, if you provide your beans with optimal growth conditions, they will grow much better if you don’t do so.
Moreover, if you already have some experience with growing beans, it is far more likely that you produce decent yields compared to a state where you are just starting your first bean growing project.
Therefore, don’t be discouraged if your first bean yields are rather small.
Chances are that you will get much better over time and that you will be able to increase your bean yields significantly in future years. Just stay patient and always remember:
Gardening is not only about the yield, it’s about loving the process. Hence, don’t bother too much with the actual yield but enjoy every day you can see your beans grow.
What Plants should you grow with Beans?
If you want to learn what plants to grow with beans, make sure to check out my article that shows you the best and worst bean companion plants.
Why should you grow your own Beans?
There are numerous different reasons why you should grow beans at home.
In fact, while it might be much easier and even cheaper to just get them from your local store, you will miss out on all the fun that comes along with growing your own beans in your garden or on your balcony.
In fact, I personally love growing beans at home since I really love seeing the progress my plants make every day. For me, it’s fascinating to see big plants developing from just such small seeds.
Gardening is more than just producing crops, it’s about loving the process and for me, gardening is a quite nice hobby.
Moreover, growing beans can also help us to reconnect with nature. Especially if you live in a big city and work in an office job for long hours every day, chances are that you will lose connection to nature sooner or later.
In fact, many people in our current state of the world even don’t know how their food is produced anymore.
They just get it from the store but don’t know how much work had been necessary to produce this food.
By growing your own beans instead of buying them from the store, you can reconnect to nature and also experience how our ancestors have grown their vegetables and fruits for many centuries.
By growing beans at home, you can also avoid buying beans from conventional agriculture.
In fact, most beans that you can buy in conventional food stores are contaminated with pesticides and herbicides, which can be quite bad for our health in the long run.
By growing your own beans, you can make sure that you don’t use any chemical substances in the growth process and that you grow your beans in a fully natural and organic manner.
As you can see, there are several reasons why you should grow your own beans at home. I hope I convinced you that growing your own beans is in fact a good idea.
If I did, we can now get into the actual planning phase of your bean growing project.
If you want to know even more reasons why you should grow beans at home, you should also have a look at the pros and cons of growing beans.
Growing Beans: Step-by-Step
1. Select a Site for your Beans
In the first step, you have to select the optimal site for your beans. There are many things to consider for choosing the optimal growing site for your beans which I get into in the following chapters.
Do Beans like Sun or Shade?
Beans grow best when they get full sun all day long. However, even if you can’t provide full sun for your beans in your garden or on your balcony the whole day, you will still be able to grow beans.
It will just take you a little bit longer if you can’t provide those optimal conditions. Hence, just choose the sunniest spot you can find and you are good to go.
What are the Soil Requirements of Beans?
Beans like slightly acidic environments with a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. You can provide those conditions pretty easily by just getting potting soil from your garden center and mix it with the soil in your garden.
Also make sure that you loosen up the soil so that the bean roots can develop in an optimal manner.
If you engage in composting in your garden, you can also add some additional compost to the soil mix.
By preparing the soil mix accordingly, you can be sure that you provided optimal soil conditions for your beans.
However, providing good soil conditions is only one factor for growing beans in a successful manner.
It is also important to provide your beans with enough space so that they get sufficient nutrients and sunlight.
How much Space do Bean Plants need?
While beans can get fairly big in the vertical, they don’t require too much space in the horizontal.
In fact, if you provide your beans with around 3 square feet of space per bean plant, you will be just fine.
Of course, this is only a rough estimate.
If you really want to optimize the conditions for your bean plants and have enough space in your garden, you can provide your bean plants with even more space.
The more space you provide them, the better your beans will grow in general.
Should you plant Beans in a Pot or in your Garden?
Both options are perfectly fine. You can grow your beans in a pot or in your garden.
If you have a garden, I would still recommend you to grow your beans there since you can simply provide more natural growth conditions compared to growing beans in a pot.
Moreover, you will also be able to produce larger yields since you can simply grow more beans in your garden compared to growing them in pots on your balcony.
However, many people just don’t have a garden.
In such a case, you can still grow beans in a pot. Just make sure that you provide your beans with enough soil and space so that they can grow in a decent manner.
2. Plant Bean Seeds
After you figured out the optimal growing site for your beans with the information I shared with you above, it is time to go into the actual details regarding your bean growth project.
Should you buy Bean Seeds or Seedlings?
You first have to decide if you want to buy bean seedlings or if you just want to raise bean seedlings from seeds yourself.
While buying seedlings is the easier and more convenient alternative, I still recommend you grow your own seedlings.
Only then will you get the full growing experience and don’t miss out on the first important step in the overall bean growth process.
In fact, growing your own seedlings is an integral part of every growing project and if you miss this step, your bean growing project will just not be complete.
Hence, just raise your bean seedlings from scratch instead of buying seedlings from your garden center.
It is not difficult at all and I will show you how to grow your own bean seedlings step-by-step in the following chapters.
Should you buy Bean Seeds or produce Seeds by yourself?
If you came to the conclusion that growing your own bean seedlings is a good idea, you still have to decide whether you want to produce your own bean seeds or if you just want to rely on the seeds from seed companies.
In the case of beans, you will just have no other choice than to rely on the seeds from seed companies if you have never grown beans before.
In contrast to tomatoes or other crops where you can just find the seeds inside the crop itself, this will not work for beans from the store.
Hence, for your first bean growing project, just get some bean seeds from seed companies or from your local garden center.
How to plant Bean Seeds
Now that you got your bean seeds, you can actually start to grow them. To plant your bean seed, first fill your growing bed with potting soil from the store.
Make sure that you don’t fully fill your growing bed with soil, but that you leave a little bit of space in the vertical.
After you filled your growing bed accordingly, you can now place your bean seeds onto the soil.
Just leave around 3 inches of space between the seeds into each direction so that your bean seedlings will have sufficient space to grow and to develop in a healthy manner.
Also make sure that you plant more seeds than you want to get seedlings since not all bean seeds will germinate and some will just not turn into seedlings.
I would suggest that you plant 2 seeds for every seedling you want to get. For example, if you want to produce 5 bean seedlings, I suggest you plant 10 bean seeds so that you can be pretty sure that you will reach your goal.
After you placed all of your seeds onto the soil of your growing bed, it is time to cover your seeds with an additional layer of soil of around one inch in height.
Finally, just water your growing bed and place it in a bright and sunny spot in your home. Now it’s time to wait until your bean seeds will germinate.
How long does it take to see the first Bean Seedlings?
It will usually take one to two weeks until you will see the first seedlings in your growing bed.
However, please note that this doesn’t mean that all your been seedlings will become visible to you during this timeframe.
It can take up to one month until you should no longer expect any new bean seedlings to reach the soil surface.
After one month is over, you should evaluate whether you have grown enough bean seedlings.
If you are not satisfied with the number of bean seedlings yet, you should plant some more seeds on the spots that still remained empty in your growing bed to produce additional bean seedlings.
How to protect your Bean Seedlings indoors
While there are many dangers for your bean seedlings outdoors, your seedlings will be quite safe as long as they stay in your growing bed inside your four walls.
In fact, for the first weeks inside your home, you don’t have to take any protection measures for your bean seedlings. Just let them grow in your growing bed and you are good to go.
When should you transplant your Bean Seedlings?
Once your bean seedlings get bigger, they will reach a point when it is time to transplant them outside into your garden or into pots on your balcony.
Before I suggest you transplant your bean seedlings outdoors, two main criteria should be met.
First, you should make sure that the outside climatic conditions are suitable to transplant your seedlings outdoors.
You should definitely wait until there is no freeze outside anymore before you consider transplanting your bean seedlings since they will be quite sensitive to the cold.
Second, you should also make sure that your bean seedlings will have a certain minimum height.
I recommend you wait with transplanting your seedlings until they reach a minimum height of at least 4 inches since they would be too vulnerable if they were smaller.
If both the temperature as well as the size criteria are met, you can transplant your bean seedlings outdoors.
Before you do so, make sure to prepare your growing site in your garden. For that, just dig some holes in your garden.
Those holes should be around 3 square feet in size and around one foot deep. After you dug those holes, use the soil from your garden and mix it with potting soil from the store.
You can also add some compost if you want. After you mixed all those components properly, you can just fill up the holes with the soil mix and transplant each bean seedlings into each spot.
Make sure that you remove your bean seedlings quite carefully from your growing bed so that you don’t damage the roots.
After you transplanted all of your seedlings into your garden, just water them.
If you want to grow your beans in pots instead, just fill your pots with potting soil and transplant your bean seedlings into your pots.
And here you go. You just successfully transplanted all of your bean seedlings in a successful manner, congratulations! 😉
What kind of Protection do Bean Seedlings need outdoor?
While your bean seedlings had been pretty safe inside your home, they are now exposed to the harsh outside reality.
This means that you have to take some additional protective measures if you want to maximize the chances that your bean seedlings will survive.
In fact, snails and other animals are already waiting to feed on your bean seedlings.
In order to keep them away from your plants, I recommend you protect your seedlings with snail fences.
Slug fences are great since they keep away snails and other animals while they don’t imply the use of harmful chemical substances.
In fact, while there are chemical alternatives out there to protect your bean seedlings, those substances are quite harmful to our environment and I don’t recommend you use them at all for your growing projects.
3. The Beans Growth Process
Now that you transplanted your bean seedlings outdoors and added proper protection to them, most of the manual work is already done.
From now on, you can enjoy the actual growth experience and can relax a little bit more.
However, even though plenty of work is already done, there are still some things you should consider in order to optimize your bean yields. I discuss those topics in the following.
Should you prune your Beans?
In my opinion, there is no need to prune your bean plants. In fact, I am not a big fan of pruning your plants at all since it is kind of unnatural.
If you provided your beans with sufficient space and a decent soil mix, you will not have to prune them since they will just grow in a fully natural manner and nature knows what it’s doing.
Hence, just let it grow and you will be surprised of how good the results will actually be.
Do you have to pollinate your Bean Plants by Hand?
No, you don’t have to pollinate your bean plants by hand. Just let them grow and water them on a regular basis. In terms of pollination, no further action is required from you in this regard.
Should you stake your Beans?
Staking your beans is a pretty good idea. In fact, bean plants can reach a height of more than 4 feet and to stabilize them, it can make quite a lot of sense to place some sticks next to each plant and to tie your bean plants to those sticks.
This can be pretty important, especially to stabilize your bean plants in times of heavy winds.
4. The Bean Harvest
After staking your bean plants and waiting for a few more weeks, you will likely see pretty decent yields if you followed all the steps in this article.
When should you harvest your Beans?
While you can harvest beans at many different stages, the best harvesting time for consumption purposes is when your beans are still quite lean.
In fact, if you wait too long, the seed inside your beans will grow and your beans will no longer taste as good anymore.
You should also not harvest all of your beans at the same time. Just pick the ripe ones and let the unripe ones grow a little bit longer.
However, there is a caveat to this. If you want to grow bean seeds instead of consuming them, you have to let your beans grow until they finally produced the seeds and get brown.
How to store your Beans?
Once you harvested your beans, you can store them in a dark and dry spot inside your home. Also make sure that it is relatively cold so that your beans will remain fresh longer.
However, even though you can store beans for a few weeks, I would just recommend you eat them right after the harvest since they will be most fresh and contain the most nutrients at this point in time.
What should you do with your Beans?
There are many different dishes you can create from your beans. You can use your beans for salads or also make chili out of it, depending on the type of beans you have grown.
You can also create your own bean dishes. Just be curious and try out new things. I am sure you will find the perfect way how to use your beans.
Beans Plant Care Tips
There are also some general tips regarding plant care for your beans which I want to share with you in the following.
How often should you irrigate Beans?
You should water your beans on a regular basis. Now, this doesn’t mean that there is no too much. In fact, if you water your beans too much, they will not grow in an optimal manner and the roots of your beans can even rot.
Hence, you have to find a healthy balance for watering your beans.
In general, your beans will not need much water as long as the plants are still small.
However, as your beans get bigger, you will also have to provide more water for them.
How much water your beans will need also depends on the outside conditions.
On hot summer days, you will have to water your beans on a daily basis while they will need as much water on cooler days.
Over time, you will get a pretty good feeling regarding when it will be time to actually water your beans.
However, as a beginner, it might not be that obvious. If you are not sure whether you should water your bean plants or not, just stick your small finger into the soil right next to your bean plants.
Pull out your finger. If soil sticks to your finger, the soil is still wet and there is no need to water your beans.
If no soil sticks to your finger, the soil is dry and you should irrigate your beans pretty soon.
At what Time of the Day should you water your Bean Plants?
While some gardening experts claim that the best time to water your beans is in the morning, I personally don’t agree with this.
In fact, I haven’t seen any difference between watering my beans in the morning and watering them at lunchtime or in the evening.
What’s much more important is that you water your beans whenever they need water.
This can be just once a week or it can be twice a day. Just provide water to your beans whenever they need it and you will do the best you can to grow your beans in an optimal manner.
How often should you fertilize your Bean Plants?
You already provided plenty of soil and space to your beans if you followed the steps in this article. This also implies that you don’t have to fertilize your beans anymore in many cases.
In fact, fertilizing your beans can do more harm than good and you should be rather careful, especially if you are still a beginner in growing beans.
What kind of Fertilizer should you use for your Bean Plants?
If you still come to the conclusion that fertilizing your beans is in fact a good idea, make sure to use natural fertilizer and that you don’t rely on chemical alternatives.
While those chemical substances work, they are pretty bad for our environment and can also make your soil less fertile in the long run.
I therefore advise you to either buy organic fertilizer or to make your own organic fertilizer.
In fact, it is pretty easy to make your own fertilizer. Just get some stinging nettles from your local forest and put them in a bucket full of cold water.
Just wait for a few days and remove the plant material.
You just created a nice natural fertilizer which you can use not only for your beans, but also for various other plants you may want to grow.
Should you use Pesticides or Herbicides for Growing Beans?
There is no need to use chemical pesticides or herbicides. In fact, those substances can be quite harmful to our local flora and fauna and will also decrease populations of bees and other helpful insects.
Hence, make sure that you don’t use those chemical substances for your growing projects. Instead, rely on natural alternatives.
You can just use the stinging nettle liquid mentioned before since it is not only a good fertilizer, but can also be used as natural pesticide.
You just need to spray some of it on your bean plants and you can deter most pests since they don’t like the taste at all. Also make sure that you remove weeds by hand instead of using herbicides.
If you want to get more information on how to control pests, make sure to also have a look at how to get rid of bean pests and diseases.
What’s left to say?
Thanks for reading this extensive bean grower’s guide to the end.
I know it was pretty long but I was not able to make it any shorter without excluding any information that would be helpful for you to grow beans from seed to harvest in the best possible manner.
I hope you liked my article. If you did, make sure to share it with your family and friends and on social media.
Also make sure to check out my growing beans FAQ section if you have further questions that need to be answered in this regard.
About the author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and always try new things.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants, even if you are still a beginner right now.