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How to Choose Snap Beans for the Vegetable Garden

Green Beans

Green Beans

Green beans, string beans, and snap beans all refer to the same popular bean that is commonly grown in home gardens. French green beans, called Haricot Vert, are thin, crisp and tender. Italian green beans are broad and relatively flat. Wax beans are yellow and some people, including myself, find them tenderer than green beans. I like to grow wax beans because they look attractive served with green beans either as a vegetable side dish or in Three Bean Salad.

Once you have decided to grow snap beans, you have to decide whether you want bush beans or pole beans. There are advantages to both kinds but the size of your garden and your time management constraints will probably influence you one way or the other. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:

beans-wax-a-green
Bush Beans
Advantages:
-low growing and bush like so no supports are needed
-mature earlier than pole beans (about 57 days)

Disadvantages:
-must be sown through out the growing season about every 2 weeks in order to ensure a continual supply

Recommended Cultivars: (NB Some beans come in both a bush and pole variety so check the package)
‘Blue Lake 274’ (58 days to harvest; plump, tender pods; resistant to bean mosaic)
‘Bush Kentucky Wonder’ (57 days; long, flattened pods)
‘Derby’ (57 days; 1990 AAS winner; slim, tender, prolific; excellent pods)
‘Top Notch Golden Wax (52 days; bright yellow)
‘Triomphe de Farcy’ (80 days; French haricot vert heirloom)

Pole Beans
Advantages:
-one sowing will provide beans all season
-easy to harvest because of height (little bending over)

Disadvantages:
-a support such as a teepee of stalks must be provided for the tall vines
-need more time to mature (about 65 days)

Recommended Cultivars: (NB Some beans come in both a bush and pole variety so check the package)
‘Blue Lake’(65 days to harvest; oval, straight, stringless, juicy and tender pods; resistant to bean mosaic)
‘Kentucky Blue’ (65 days; AAS Winner; round; 7 inch pods)
‘Kentucky Wonder’ (65 days; fine flavor, 9 inch pods in clusters)
‘Romano’ (70 days; stringless; classic broad, Italian style green bean with meaty flavor)

Whatever bean you select you will find that your bean crop will be rewarding, second only to your tomato crop!

Vegetable Gardening pointer

Recommended Reading:

Growing Vegetable Soup
The Art of Simple Food II
Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Pots
The Art of Simple Food
Chez Panisse Café Cookbook
Kitchen Garden Experts
Eddies Garden
Groundbreaking Food Gardens
Book Review:Making the Most of Your Allotment
Small Spaces Big Ideas
The Joy of Pickling
Gardening with Less Water
The Little Gardener
Salad Samurai
Power Vegetables!
Gardening the Mediterranean Way
My Pantry
The Dirt Cure
The Ultimate Guide to Gardening
Chez Panisse Vegetables
The Friendship Garden Green: Thumbs Up
Food Rules
Lettuce Grows on the Ground
A Plant Based Life
Growing a Feast
Plantlab
The Urban Homesteading Cookbook
Dandelion & Quince
Eat your Drink
The Broad Fork
The Book of Greens
Eating on the Wild Side
Salad for President
The Power Greens Cookbook
In My Kitchen
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
Root to Leaf
On Vegetables
The Vegetables We Eat
Improving Your Soil
The Heirloom Life Gardener
Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow
Compost! Growing Gardens from Your Garbage
American Grown
Detox Kitchen Vegetables

Recommended Products:

Product Review: Sloggers Garden Boots