Garden beans include bush beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), which have a fairly short growing season of no more than four months, runner beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), which climb high and, like bush beans, require heat, and climbing scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus). Scarlet runner beans still grow well in cooler climates. To continuously harvest bush beans, seed them in multiple sets.
Sowing beans: the most important things in a nutshell
Location in the garden: sun to partial shade, evenly moist soil.
- Sowing from mid/end of May to end of July
- Sowing depth 2 to 3 centimeters (1 in)
- Row spacing 40 centimeters (16 in)
- Row or cluster sowing possible
- Mounding when seedlings are 10 centimeters (4 in) high
- Sowing from mid-May to the end of June
- Sowing depth 2 to 3 centimeters (1 in)
- Stable climbing aid required
- four to six seeds per climbing pole
When is the right time to sow beans?
Beans are sensitive to frost and like it warm in the seedbed. The warmer, the faster the seeds germinate. For this, both runner and bush beans need a soil temperature above 10 °C / 50 °F, which can be expected from mid-May. Sow beans directly into the bed, bush beans from the end of May to the end of July, depending on the weather, and harvest in October if sown late. Sowing runner beans works until late June or early July. Sowing scarlet runner beans is no different from runner beans.
You can also grow both runner beans and bush beans early in the year in a greenhouse or cold frame, which shortens the time to harvest and protects the plants from the annoying bean seed fly, which lays its eggs on the seeds. To preplant, sow four to five seeds in small pots (about 10 cm / 4 in in diameter) starting in April. The seedlings can be planted in the garden from the middle or end of May.
Sowing beans: Sowing in a row or a hole?
With beans, there is sowing in a hole and the sowing in rows. Row sowing is the classic method: the seeds lie individually at regular intervals in previously drawn furrows and have a certain distance to the neighboring row. In the case of the sowing in a hole always lie several seeds in a single planting hole. These may or may not be arranged in rows.
Runner beans or scarlet runner beans need a climbing aid in any case. This can of course also be in a row, but classic seed rows do not result.
With sowing in a hole, several seedlings grow close together out of the ground. This is ideal for heavy or crusted soil or plants with relatively weak seedlings. As a team, they can penetrate the soil much more easily. The clusters then grow as one plant and are more stable in the bed, which is of course an advantage for bush beans in windy conditions.
Tips for sowing bush beans
Bush beans do not need a climbing aid, but grow as upright plants. If bush beans are to grow in rows, space them 40 centimeters (16 in) apart. Draw a two- to three-centimeter (1 in) deep furrow or push it into the soft soil with the back of a wooden rake. Then place the seeds 4 to 5 centimeters (2 in) apart in the furrow and cover them again with soil. Pre-swelling of bean seeds is not necessary if you water extensively after sowing.
When putting seeds in a hole, always place four to five seeds in a hole a good three centimeters (1 in) deep, no deeper. The individual holes should be spaced 40 centimeters (16 in) apart, otherwise it will be too crowded in the row. Fill the hole, lightly press the soil and water extensively.
Sowing runner beans and scarlet runner beans
The sowing depth of runner beans is also two to three centimeters (1 in). The special feature of sowing these beans is the climbing aid made of poles or even ropes, each 60 to 70 centimeters (24 to 28 in) apart. After the climbing aid is in place, distribute four to six seeds around each pole to be climbed. Thus, later several plants per pole twine, and you can harvest significantly more beans.
Once bush beans are 10 centimeters high, you should mound them with soil from the sides. After flowering, the soil should remain moist, but not wet, for all garden beans.