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green bean shoots in the garden
Beans are an abundant crop, and incredibly flavoursome when eaten fresh from the garden. Available in green, yellow, purple and speckled pods, with climbing or bush habits, beans offer the home chef a true larder of possibilities.

What you need to know about beans

Name: climbing bean, pole bean, dwarf bean, bush bean, French bean, green bean, butter bean, borlotti bean, romano bean, snake bean, Phaseolus vulgaris.

Height: climbing beans can reach up to 2m high if given a trellis large enough. Bush beans typically grow to around 40cm.

Foliage: annuals with green foliage.

Climate: warm season crops in cool and temperate climates, and cool season crops in sub-tropical and tropical areas.

Soil: beans prefer a soil improved with compost, decomposed manure and blood and bone. Beans have shallow roots, and should be mulched.

Position: full sun, planted out after risk of frost has passed.

Flowering and fruiting: beans crop from around 10–14 weeks from sowing (even less from transplanting).

Feeding: improve the soil prior to planting and do not disturb once established.

Watering: water regularly during dry weather. Avoid overhead watering, which can cause fungal problems.

Appearance and characteristics of beans

Beans are easy to grow, and because they are available in bush or climbing varieties, they suit most gardens and spaces. Climbing or pole beans are suitable for trellising and growing along a fence, while bush and dwarf beans can be grown in rows or pots.

close up of green beans on a cooking board

How to plant and grow beans

  1. Establish a trellis for climbing beans prior to sowing to avoid damaging their developing root system.
  2. Sow beans in a well-prepared soil enriched with compost, decomposed manure and blood and bone. Sow the seeds directly, after all likelihood of frost has passed, planting them 2.5cm deep and around 15cm apart.
  3. Space rows of bush beans at least at least 40cm apart, and climbing beans 1m apart; further in humid climates.
  4. Wet the soil prior to sowing, and mulch once seed has germinated.
  5. Protect from snails and slugs with snail and slug pellets or traps.
  6. Mulch well to conserve soil moisture, and do not disturb once established.

Caring for beans

Beans should not be kept too wet, and benefit from a free-draining soil. Water daily in hot, dry weather, less often if the weather is mild or it has rained. Avoid overhead watering, as this can cause fungal problems.

If soil is enriched prior to planting, beans should not require any additional fertiliser throughout the growing season. An application of seaweed solution at flowering will help to improve yield and plant vigour.

How to harvest and store beans

Follow these steps to get the most out of your crop:

  • Harvest fresh beans when they reach optimal size (this depends on the variety). They should be full and crisp. If left too long, they will begin to dry, and the skin thickens.
  • Pick daily to maximise the harvest.
  • Dried beans should be allowed to dry on the plant for maximum size and flavour. Harvest, shell and store, then use as you would dried beans from a store.

Diseases and pests affecting bean plants

Snails and slugs will damage emerging seedlings. Bait with snail and slug pellets or traps.

Avoid overhead watering, and allow space within the rows for adequate air flow. This will help to prevent fungal issues such as powdery mildew.

How to propagate beans

Growing beans from seed

  1. Leave several pods on the plant to mature and dry.
  2. Once dry, harvest and open the pods, allowing the seeds to dry a little more before storage.
  3. Place on paper towel in a warm sunny position for 2 weeks before saving in an envelope.
  4. Label the envelope with the variety and the harvest date.
  5. Store in a cool, dry environment, ready for sowing next spring.

Safety tip

After applying fertiliser, delay harvesting for a few days and rinse well before cooking and eating. If using products to deal with pests, diseases or weeds, always read the label, follow the instructions carefully and wear suitable protective equipment. Store all garden chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.

If you like this then try

Broccoli: a wonderful and nutritious cool-season crop that’s packed with antioxidants.

Peas: grow in the opposite season to beans, and provide an abundant feast for the table.

Tomatoes: share a growing season with beans, as well as an abundant harvest.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!


Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.