How to grow beans

Cultivate beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) can give great satisfaction to home garden enthusiasts. It is a food capable of providing a high protein value, at low cost and with excellent organoleptic qualities. These characteristics make it the most famous of the legumes. Furthermore, precisely for these reasons, the bean boasts a long tradition in the agriculture of our countryside.

To be able to grow beans in the best possible way, you must first of all choose well among the many existing varieties. It is also important to follow the necessary cultural precautions. In this article we try to provide you with a complete guide to the cultivation of this important leguminous plant.

The bean, botanical identification

The bean is a herbaceous plant with an annual cycle that belongs to the large family of Leguminosae. To this family belong numerous other species that we have already told you about: green beans, Fava beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, peanuts.
For the rest of the discussion we will speak in particular of the varieties of climbing beans, that is, the best known and most productive. These types, precisely because of their characteristics, can give satisfaction even to the most inexperienced farmers.
Recall that beans are a botanical species originally from Central and South America.

They were introduced to the old continent only after the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Today the cultivation of beans is widespread above all in Asia and in the North African countries bordering the Mediterranean basin. In Europe the largest producers are the Spaniards, followed by the Portuguese, Italians and Greeks.

Botanical characteristics of the climbing bean

Climbing bean plants on netting.

The climbing bean is a very rustic and fast growing plant. It has a root system formed by a central tap root, from which numerous lateral rootlets branch off. On the roots we can observe a series of enlarged tubercles, in which the bacteria live Rhizobium leguminosarum. These are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, improving it, a peculiarity that all leguminous plants have in common.
Long stems branch off from the root system, which can even exceed 4 meters in length. For this reason, in order to cultivate climbing beans, adequate supports are needed to allow the plant to grow harmoniously. The stems are devoid of tendrils that allow them to adhere to the support, as is the case with peas. The plant manages to climb anyway as the stems themselves twist around the supports.

Leaves, flowers, pods and seeds

Bean flower

The leaves of the bean plant are composed of three pointed flaps, and for this reason they are called trifoliate. Each single flap has a petiole and the surface is covered with a rough down.
The flowers are gathered in inflorescences, inserted on the stem at the base of the axilla of the leaves.
For each inflorescence the number of flowers is different and also depends on the variety chosen.
The color of the flowers is also variable, from white to yellowish, pink, lilac, violet, up to bright red. The flower has the characteristic shape of the papillon (papilionaceous flower). Pollination generally occurs through self-fertilization, but is favored by the presence of pollinating insects.

The pods are also very different in length, width and shape depending on the variety. For example, borlotti beans reach 18 cm in length and 1.5 in width.
The pod contains the seed, which is the beans we eat. These are present in a variable number from 2 to 10. Of course, the color is also different according to the variety. There are single-colored (white, coffee, brown, greenish), two-colored (brown and hazelnut) and mottled or marbled beans.

Variety of beans

Let's now see what are the main varieties of beans that we can grow in our home garden.
On the seed market you can find numerous varieties of climbing beans, let's see which are the most interesting and widespread.

  • In Spain, it is the most cultivated white-seeded variety and is also known as the Corona bean. The plant is very vigorous and with excellent resistance to diseases. It enters production late, but prolongs the production period a lot. The seeds are large (up to 2g in weight) and have a great flavor.
  • Borlotto di Vigevano, is the most loved variety in Italy. Represents the reference for beans with variegated colored seeds. The plant is vigorous and with stems up to 3 m long. The pod, when fully ripe, is yellowish with wine-red streaks and contains from 5 to 7 quite large seeds. Borlotto di Vigevano can be used fresh, frozen or dried.
  • Borlotto lingua di fuoco, is a variety characterized by a very showy pod, with evident intense red streaks. The pod contains 6 to 8 seeds, of medium size (up to 1 g in weight). The plant is very productive.
  • Di Lima or del Papa, variety with curved pods, which contain 3-5 seeds of flattened shape and excellent size (2 g in weight). The seeds have evident white streaks on a dark red background. It is less cultivated than the previous types.
  • Stregonta or Fiamma, quite widespread variety, with large and elongated seeds, with dark red variegations. Inside the pod there are 6-8 seeds and production is fairly early compared to other varieties.

Grow runner beans

Climate and period

Climbing beans have a cultivation cycle of 110 to 150 days. The plant prefers a mild climate and does not tolerate cold and prolonged rains. It is sown in the open field in late spring, from the second half of April (in the South) to May (in the North). It should be emphasized that the bean not only fears the cold, but also prolonged arid heat, above 35 °. Above this temperature, flowers drop or the production of deformed and poor quality pods. For this reason the best soils for the cultivation of beans are those sheltered in the valley and in the hills. Here, in fact, it is more difficult to reach high summer temperatures.
Harvesting takes place from the end of summer and can last until autumn, for late varieties such as the Spanish bean.

Land needs

Beans prefer i medium-textured soils, basically loose and with a good amount of well decomposed organic substance. The soil must have a good degree of humidity, but it must not be too cold.
The plant adapts less to clayey soils, especially due to water stagnation that damage it irreparably.
The pH ideal for the cultivation of the bean is between 6 and 7.5, that is from moderately acidic to slightly alkaline.
Calcareous soils are to be avoided. In this type of land, in fact, the plant does not grow well due to an irregular and / or insufficient ability to absorb nutrients.

Irrigation and sowing

Being a spring-summer crop, beans need adequate to grow luxuriantly irrigation system. The water must be guaranteed constantly, but without exaggerating and causing water stagnation.
Sowing can take place directly on the ground, with the postarella technique. 2 seeds are buried approximately 2-3 cm deep, maintaining a distance of 20 cm between one postarella and the other and 1 m between the rows. The emergence of the seed occurs 8-10 days after sowing.

Crop care, supports and mulching

Bean plants with supports and mulch

To cultivate climbing beans it is essential to arrange adequate supports, where the plant can grow and produce in height. The method that we recommend of organic cultivation is the preparation of a simple system of poles and nets. After sowing, they are placed along the row of standard wooden poles, 2.10 m high. Each pole must be placed at a distance of about 2 m from each other. A special plastic net is attached to the poles, which will form a row (like this), which is fixed with nylon thread.
The net must be well stretched, so that it can support the weight of the plants over time.

Another crop care to be taken into adequate consideration is that of cleaning from weeds. Weeds can affect the success of the crop by absorbing valuable nutrients.
To minimize cleaning work (weeding) we recommend the natural mulch with straw. The latter is to be placed among the young seedlings when these are sufficiently robust.

Biological defense against parasites

Among the parasitic insects of beans, two out of all are to be kept under control.
We are talking about the aphids in the spring and the red spider in summer.
For the biological defense against these parasites, we refer you to reading the related in-depth articles.

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Organic cultivation

Organic Cultivation is a blog that was born from our desire to spread the good practices of organic farming. To do this we decided to give our knowledge to anyone who wants to get involved and create their own vegetable garden (even using a terrace or a simple balcony). Growing without the use of pesticides is possible and we want to prove it by presenting alternatives biological and effective for any type of problem linked to agriculture.

How to grow beans: agronomic techniques and nutritional characteristics

Have you ever wondered how to grow beans?

Did you know that beans are one of the products with the highest protein and vitamin content useful for our body?

In this article you will find everything you are interested in knowing about how to grow beans.

The bean

There are many types of beans but the most cultivated in Italy and in the world is the Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris, L. 1758). The Italian regions most interested in bean cultivation are Campania, Lazio, Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

The beans are grown to obtain 3 types of product:

  1. Dried beans: the ones we buy and then boil them.
  2. Unripe beans: they are the ones that are also called "to be shelled".
  3. Green beans: they are nothing more than the pods of the bean plant with the newly formed seeds (beans) inside. This category includes the common green beans (called "croissants") and "mangiatutto green beans".

Environmental needs

The bean is a very demanding plant from the point of view of temperature. It can only grow from 13-14 ° C, in fact if the temperature drops to 1-2 ° C the plant dies. For this reason, if you want to know how to grow beans, you need to remember that the most suitable Italian regions are the central and southern ones. In these areas, sowing is carried out only in the spring-summer or summer period.

Regarding the water, the bean is very afraid of drought so, in the case of a dry season, it must be watered regularly. This is due to the fact that the bean does not have a very deep root and therefore cannot explore further down to look for water. A good remedy for this problem is the use of mulch.

The groundinstead, it must be loose, fresh and very fertile if good bean yields are to be obtained. It must not be too calcareous, otherwise the beans that are harvested will be harder and difficult to cook. Absolutely must avoid saline and clayey soils which tend to form a crust on the surface: they would seriously block the germination of the seed.

How to grow beans

There sowing of the bean can be made over a long period of time from April to early August. Usually in August, however, the beans destined to become green beans are sown. Sowing is usually done in rows, about 45-50 cm apart for green beans or 50-60 cm for grain beans.

There sowing density it must be about 25-30 plants per square meter in the case of grain beans and 35-40 plants in the case of green beans. The quantity of seeds to be planted vary greatly depending on the desired density, the size of the seeds themselves and the state of preparation of the seedbed: generally ranging from 100 to 200 kg of seeds per hectare. There optimal depth moreover, sowing is around 4-6 cm in medium-grained soils, 6-8 cm in loose soils.

For a better chance of seed germination and to avoid potential adversity, it is best to perform the tanning of the seed.

There fertilization it must be based, like all legumes, on phosphorus and, if necessary, on potassium. The quantities indicated are generally 60-80 kg per hectare of phosphoric fertilizer (P.2OR5) and 50-100 kg per hectare of potassium fertilizer (K.2OR).


After having seen how to grow beans, now let's move on to harvesting. This is different depending on whether it is green beans or grain beans. The first ones come hand-picked one by one, the others, on the other hand, are collected together with the whole plant when it begins to dry out. In some cases the uprooted plants they are left in the field until completely dry.

With modern agriculture, genetics has led bean plants to be more and more similar to each other in order to mechanize the harvest and to have mature plants in a uniform way at that time, thus saving time and steps. The dried beans, in fact, are harvested with the normal ones combine harvesters taking care to adjust appropriately.

Nutritional values

In a world that is taking an increasingly vigorous trend towards vegetarian or vegan diets, the bean responds optimally to the protein kernels in the nutrition of people who adopt these particular diets.

Knowing how to grow beans is just as important as knowing nutritional values that this cultivation can provide to the consumer. I refer in particular to the amount of protein containing in 100 g of beans, which amounts on average to 22 g. Even if soy, for example, has a higher protein content, the bean contains less lipids (fats) than it: 100 g of soy have about 19 g of lipids, while 100 g of beans only 1-2 g.

A'supply in which there are beans not only can prevent tumors, but also favors the stability of the blood glucose level (very interesting feature for i diabetics) and lowers the rate of cholesterol. In addition to this, the beans are useful for treatment of rheumatic diseases as they perform, within our body, apurifying and diuretic action.

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Climbing green beans: general characteristics

The Phaseolus vulgaris, more commonly known as bean, belongs to the family of Leguminous plants. Originally from Central America, the bean then spread throughout the world.

The stem of the bean plant can be a dwarf or climbing habit.

The leaves I'm heart-shaped and in full margin, while i flowers, gathered in clusters that collect from 4 to 10, are whites.

Climbing green beans are pendulous legumes of which there are various types

The fruit it's a hanging legume which contains many seeds. Depending on the variety, the shape, color and size can change. In this article we will deal, as mentioned, with climbing green beans, of which exist basically three varieties:

  • Sofia, which has a green pod, 20cm long, flattened and tender
  • Marconi, which has a light green, flattened pod that exceeds 20cm in length
  • Blue Lake, which has white seeds and a 15cm pod

The outer color of the pods can change from green to yellow and mottled red to purplish, depending on the temperatures at which they were grown.

But let's see in detail what you need to do to grow climbing green beans.

How to grow Edamame at home

Prepare the edamame seedbed by turning the soil over with the spade and destroying any large clods. Rake smooths the bed.

Plant the edamame seeds 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart, in rows 24 inches apart.

water the bed carefully so that it does not wash the edamame seeds away. Wait four days and if there hasn't been any rain, water the first 3 inches of soil. Edamame seeds have a tendency to rot if they are given too much water.

Spread a 3-inch layer of organic mulch on the soil around the edamame plants when they reach 4 inches in height. Do not allow the mulch to touch the plants.

water the edamame plants when there has been no rain for 4-5 days. Moisten the first 6 inches of soil.

Fertilize the edamame when the plant produces flowers. Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer according to the instructions on the label.

Harvest the edamame 85 days after planting or when the edamame pods are full.

How to grow Hydroponic Beans

Fold the paper towel so it is slightly smaller than the length of the vase. Roll in a circle and moisten with water. Prepare a separate pot for each bean plant you want to grow.

Place the paper towels in the glass jars with the bottoms of the towels touching the bottoms of the jars. Add some water to the bottom of the jars.

Place the beans in jars between the paper towels and on the sides of the jar, without touching the bottom.

Check the jars every day and keep the paper towels moist. Add water if necessary. In a week, the beans will start sprouting. The first few days of germination can take place in the dark after which time they provide the light your particular type of bean requires.
cultivate plants

Place the perelite or expanded clay in the top of the hydroponic bucket where the bean plants will grow. A hydroponic bucket, available in most nurseries, has multiple tiers the lower tier holds water and room for the roots to grow down. The upper level, often a net, holds the plants. You can grow up to two bean plants per bucket.

Place the trellis in the middle of the clay pebbles, digging deep so it won't come out easily.

Plant your bean seedlings from the pot into the hydroponic bucket. Make sure the roots go deep down into the clay, encouraging them to grow down towards the bottom of the bucket.

Spray the bean plants at least weekly with a nutrient solution, available at most nurseries. This will encourage growth and provide vital nutrients that plants would normally get from the soil.

of water per day or every two to three days as needed. When the bean plants begin to grow, teach them to climb the trellis instead of the sides. You may need to move the vines to the trellis until it grows that direction. You should have the first harvest within six to eight weeks.

Beans, how to best grow them

Already cultivated ten thousand years ago by civilizations pre-Columbian, the bean (Phasoleus vulgaris), is a vegetable of the Legume family, rich in proteins, vitamins (A, C, E), fibers and minerals. Its cultivation requires some basic attention, but it is an easy plant to grow.

How the beanstalk is made

Characteristic of the bean is the ability to associate in symbiosis with bacteria of the genus Rhizobium to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere. This makes it fertilization is not very useful of the land in which it is grown. It has a very thin stem, therefore necessary is the support, and trilobate leaves. The fruit consists of a pod which contains edible seeds.

There are numerous varieties, belonging to two large groups. The first includes the climbing varieties, indeterminate growth, which can exceed 4 meters in height and have an enveloping posture, the second includes the dwarf varieties, bushy, with determined growth. Indeterminate growth varieties are undoubtedly more productive due to the longer cultivation cycles, but they reveal themselves more demanding in terms of spaces and will therefore be preferred only in the presence of a considerable availability of space.

There are also varieties with flat or rounded fruit, green or yellow, and again, with black, purple or red seeds.

Among the best known types, the small white beans include the cannellini beans, characterized by good productivity, early cycle and semi-cylindrical or slightly elongated with a rather soft integument, suitable for dry shelling and borlotti beans, to which dwarf and climbing varieties with seeds about 2-2.5 cm long of a reddish color or streaked with red and purple refer. Among the large white-seeded beans they are of excellent quality i whites of Spain. Less common but with good culinary aptitudes are also the black-eyed peas, whose name derives from the black circle that surrounds the point where the seed joins the pod.

The environment

The bean benefits from temperate climates. At least 12-13 ° C are required for germination, while temperatures of 15-16 ° C at night and 24-28 ° C during the day are ideal during the growth and flowering phase. It prefers conditions of good light and fears excessive wind, while frost or late frosts lead the plants to death.

I land medium-textured, fresh, deep, relatively poor in calcium and with a pH close to neutral. Good results can also be obtained on slightly sandy soils, if assisted by adequate irrigation, or clayey, as long as the disposal of excess water is ensured. High concentrations of calcium in the soil can cause hardening of the seeds, making cooking difficult.

The plant

Soil preparation is done with one processing main (plowing or digging) to a depth of 25-35 cm, followed by more superficial shredding (milling or hoeing) and leveling of the seedbed.

The soil must have good residual fertility, and in the presence of poor or poorly structured soils it is advisable to distribute 2-3 kg of manure well mature every 10 m2. Phosphorus and potassium they must be buried just before implantation, in doses of 70-100 g and 100-120 g respectively every 10 m2. Nitrogen administrations (30-50 g / 10 m2) are recommended during the first phases of the cycle only in case of cultivation on poor soils, excessively humid or in the presence of low temperatures.

Unfavorable conditions in fact, they hinder the development of nitrogen fixers, microorganisms capable of absorbing nitrogen from the air and transferring it to the host plant in exchange for substances (carbohydrates) essential for their survival.

In crop rotation the bean is therefore considered an improving plant, and can precede other vegetables with good results, including Solanaceae, which are particularly demanding from a nutritional point of view. To avoid soil fatigue or the transmission of diseases, it is Monosuccession and succession to cucumber, pumpkin or other legumes are not recommended.

How to grow beans

In the South, the sowing of the bean already begins February March, while in the northern regions, more prone to the risk of late frosts, the plants come postponed by at least one month. In order to have constant product availability, sowing can be carried out scalarly, at intervals of 8-10 days, until late summer.

There sowing it can be done from spring to early summer, as it is a plant that certainly prefers warm climates. The seeds should be placed at a distance of approximately 30 cm from each other. A brace is required for climbing varieties.

Climbing beans on plastic net.

THE planting sixths they vary according to the types of plants: for dwarf varieties, sowing is carried out in rows spaced 50-70 cm apart, with plants, after thinning, at 5-10 cm on the row. For climbing cultivars, characterized by greater size and vegetative vigor, the rows are spaced 90-120 cm apart, with plants 15-20 cm on the row. The sowing depth can vary from 2-3 cm in the most tenacious and compact soils up to 5-6 cm in the looser soils.

To facilitate the emergence of the seedlings, the pregermination, wrapping the seeds for a few days with cloth patches moistened with warm water, planting them as soon as the rootlets appear.

The irrigations they must be abundant, except during the flowering period, when excess water could compromise the fruit setting. It is in fact very sensitive to water stresses and requires a constantly tempered soil. After sowing, regular irrigations allow uniform emergence of the seedlings, while during flowering drought causes serious flower drops, and the enlargement phase of the pods is equally demanding. Irrigation can be performed by sprinkling, which however predisposes to the onset of fungal diseases, or by sliding (especially for climbing varieties) or by means of hoses.

The weeding, carried out superficially, they guarantee good aeration of the root systems and hinder the development of weeds.

There tamping, carried out with plants 15-25 cm high, it favors a better liberation and is recommended in case of irrigation by sliding.

There collection occurs after approx 60 days from sowing and continues for 2-3 months in climbing varieties, while the cycle for dwarf varieties is certainly shorter.

Excellent to combine with celery, pumpkin and melon even better with corn, which also plays the role of support.

The guardians

A support system is necessary for climbing varieties, eg. consisting of reeds or wooden poles height between 2 and 3 m, to be arranged in different ways: fixed to each single plant, with a better aeration of the espalier system, with poles connected by iron wires fixed to sturdy supports placed at the ends of the trestle rows , crossing two of them and fixing them to each other at the top.

Arrangement of the stakes (tree twigs) for the climbing beans.

They can also be used nets in plastic material, about 2 m high, which are stretched vertically in the direction of the row and supported at the end by sturdy supports. They allow easy anchoring of the plants and, despite the cost higher than that of normal stakes, they can be used for several years (if collected, clean and well stored in a closed and dry place at the end of the season), thanks to their robustness and practicality.

Diseases and pests of beans

Between diseases and pests of the bean, anthracnose (Colletotrichum lindemuthianum) occurs in various organs of the plant: on the pods, where the infection is more evident, it causes the appearance of depressed brown spots with blackish edges. The infection is favored by conditions of high humidity and can be controlled by using resistant or tolerant varieties, adopting large crop rotations, removing and destroying the residues of infected vegetation or, in the most serious cases, with applications based on copper salts.

The latter are also effective against rust (Uromyces appendiculatus), responsible for yellowing and necrosis of the leaves, and are useful for containing bacteriosis.

There gray mold (Botrytis cinerea) can cause serious damage in autumn cycles and in crops in protected cultivation: it is recognized by the presence, on leaves and pods, of the typical greyish mycelium.

Among animal parasites, pay attention to weevil, a beetle whose larvae dig tunnels inside the seeds, penalizing their quality and conservation. The damage can be contained by delaying sowing, collecting the pods in a timely manner, intervening with pyrethrum derivatives or storing the seeds not intended for sowing in the freezer.

Against the aphids it is advisable to eliminate the weeds present near the flower beds and to resort, if necessary, to the use of pyrethrum or nettle macerates. Even the association with savory seems to exercise a good containment action.

Here is ours video tutorial on the sowing of beans and green beans:

Video: Just Some Random Tips and Tricks to Growing Beans From Seed

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