Bush String Bean

  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Harvest Size: 5-6 inch pods
  • Days to Harvest: 48
  • Plant Size: 1 foot wide, 2 feet tall

With sweet and tender stringless snap beans, Blue Lake bush variety is our favorite bean to grow. If you love its predecessor, the heirloom Blue Lake pole bean, you’ll love this bush type even more. Bush beans mature quickly, are easy to pick, and fit well in spaces where you don’t have the height for a bean trellis. Good for containers, too.

Beans like warmth. Plant after the last frost when soil has begun to warm. Choose a spot with well-drained soil. For a steady supply all summer, set out a second set of plants 3 to 4 weeks after the first planting.

Plant spacing: 8 inches apart; one per 18-inch container. Plants per person: 8 to 10 for fresh, 15 to 20 for fresh and preserving.

Secrets to Success »

Before planting, mix a 3-inch layer of compost into soil. Water well and fertilize with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food at planting and for the first month. After they’re established, bean plants (and all legumes) need less feeding, as they get much-needed nitrogen through a partnership with bacteria in the soil. Avoid overhead watering, which promotes foliar problems. Keep on top of weeds; mulch between plants will help maintain moisture and battle weeds.

Harvest and Use »

When beans are ripe, harvest every other day to encourage more blooming and bean production. You can pick beans smaller than 6 inches for baby beans, or wait until they’re full size. Plant stems are fragile, so use one hand to hold the stem, the other to pick the beans. Healthy bush plants will likely rebloom and produce a second or third flush of beans. To prepare, “snap” beans into pieces. Use fresh or steamed in salads or side dishes. Preserve extra beans by blanching and freezing, canning, or pickling.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Sweet marjoram, know as the bean herb.
  • Corn and squash; together with beans, they’re traditionally known as the “Three Sisters.”
  • Cucumbers, tomatoes, onions for best summer flavors.

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