If you love green beans like I do but your crop is waning as the summer passes, you might be thinking about growing green beans in the fall.
Can You Grow Beans in Autumn?
Yes, fall bean crops are a great idea! Beans in general are easy to grow and yield bountiful harvests. Many people agree that the taste of a fall crop of green beans far surpasses that of spring planted beans. Most beans, with the exception of fava beans, are cold sensitive and thrive when temps are between 70-80 F. (21-27 C.) and soil temps at least 60 F. (16 C.). Any colder and the seeds will rot. Of the two types of snap beans, bush beans are preferred for fall planting beans over pole beans. Bush beans produce a higher yield before the first killing frost and earlier maturation date than pole beans. Bush beans need 60-70 days of temperate weather to produce. When fall planting beans, keep in mind that they are a little slower growing than spring beans.
How to Grow Fall Bean Crops
If you would like a steady crop of beans, try planting in small batches every 10 days, keeping an eye on the calendar for the first killing frost. Select a bush bean with the earliest maturation date (or any variety with "early" in its name) such as:
- Top Crop
- Early Bush Italian
Amend the soil with a half inch (1.2 cm.) of compost or composted manure. If you're planting beans in an area of the garden that hasn't had beans in it before, you may want to dust the seeds with a bacterial inoculants powder. Water the soil well prior to planting the seeds. Most bush cultivars should be planted 3 to 6 inches (7.6 to 15 cm.) apart in rows 2 to 2 ½ feet (61 to 76 cm.) apart.
Additional Info on Growing Green Beans in Fall
If you are planting in USDA growing zone 8 or higher, add an inch of loose mulch such as straw or bark to keep the soil cool and allow the bean seedling to emerge. If temperatures remain warm, water regularly; let the soil dry between watering but don't allow drying for longer than a day. Your bush beans will germinate in about seven days. Keep an eye on them for any signs of pests and disease. Should the weather become cold before harvest, protect the beans at night with a row cover of woven fabric, plastic, newspaper or old sheets. Pick the beans while young and tender.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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