A sunny site
Beans are perfect for a sunny, well-drained spot. They prefer to grow in moist, fertile soil in a sheltered location away from strong winds. Avoid growing beans in very wet soils.
Beds or pots?
For climbing beans: Raised beds or a traditional veg plot is best. You can also grow them in large, deep containers. They will need something to climb up – it’s easiest to make a wigwam out of bamboo canes.
For dwarf varieties: Raised beds, traditional veg plots and pots and containers work well (1 to a small pot), as do grow bags (3 to 4 per grow bag). These dwarf varieties do not need support.
How far apart?
For climbing beans: 30cm apart around the base of a wigwam support is about right.
For dwarf beans: 20cm apart
Plant out in mid spring
If your plants arrive while it’s still a bit chilly, in April/early May, it’s worth planting them in pots and popping them in the greenhouse or on a windowsill until it warms up a bit.
Keep them well watered
Beans are thirsty plants and need plenty of water to help them flourish. When plants are young, water every day whilst they get established. During dry spells, water frequently and deeply, not allowing the soil to dry out.
Keep weeds down
Keep weeds down so that they have a better chance of growing up nice and strong!
When to harvest
Once the plants are flowering in summer, you’ll soon see the bean pods starting to form. Pick beans when they reach the right size, and remember that the more often you pick them, the more they will keep producing!
Drying beans to store
If you are growing beans to dry and store (e.g. borlotti beans) – leave pods on the plant until they start to change colour and dry out at the end of the season. Harvest them during a dry spell, (avoid leaving them on the plant for too long if it is wet and damp as they will soon start to rot) and leave them in a warm, dry place to fully dry out. You should be able to hear them rattling inside when you shake them. Once the beans are completely dry, you can pod them and store them in an airtight jar.