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Holman's Horticulture: The gnarly green bean

Lucas Holman • May 22, 2018 at 8:26 PM

Green beans are either one of those things you love or hate. Everyone has their own favorite cultivars, and there is no changing their minds. 

My mother and aunt grow a garden together. They each harvest their own row of green beans; everything else is fair game. My mother likes “Roma II” bush bean, while my aunt grows “McCaslan,” which is a pole bean. Each bean has its own flavor and characteristics. Bush beans do not need to be staked, but you have to bend down to pick them. Pole beans have to be staked, but this makes them easier to harvest. All cultivars of beans have their own distinct characteristics, whether it’s flavor, color and even disease resistance.

Green beans are a warm-season crop and work best if they are directly sown into the ground after the danger of frost. Be cautious of soil temperatures while planting seeds. Most warm-season vegetable seeds prefer 65-70 degrees to germinate. They need to be spaced around 36 inches between rows and 4 inches between each plant.  Be sure of the growth habits of your selected green beans. If they are a pole cultivar, they need support placed in the ground just after they’ve broken through the soil. Bush beans do not need support.

Although green beans are extremely easy to grow, they are susceptible to a few problems. Bean beetles and aphids are just a couple of the insects that can affect green beans. Sevin is just one treatment for these beetles and treatment is only necessary if populations of more than one adult per two plants are present. There are a few disease issues such as anthracnose, rust and powdery mildew. These can be prevented and controlled by using cultural practices such as spacing between plants for water to dry off of the leaves. One of the best ways to control disease is to plant resistant cultivars. Resistant cultivars of bush beans include “Atlantic,” “Topcrop” and “Derby.” Some pole beans that are resistant include “Kentucky Blue,” “Blue Lake” and “Dade.”

If you have any questions regarding your green beans or any other horticultural matter in your garden or lawn, feel free to contact Lucas Holman, horticulture UT-TSU Extension agent in Wilson County at 615-444-9584 or [email protected] The University of Tennessee Extension offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides real life solutions. Visit ag.tennessee.edu.


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