Bush beans are one of the most popular types of plants to grow at home due to the ease of doing sod, and how quickly you can start eating what it produces too. In this article we’ll cover all aspects of growing it as well as it the benefits from consuming it, and more. We promise that reading this article will be worth your while!
What are Bush Beans?
A lot of home gardeners are growing bush beans, also called green beans, in their gardens. These beans have a thread-like string that can be seen passing through its whole body so they sometimes call these beans “string beans”. However, this name may no longer be applicable nowadays since some types of bush beans do not have that fibrous string anymore.
Bush beans are preferred by most home gardeners because they are quick and very easy to grow. Add to that, they are harvested while their seeds are still small unlike other types of garden plants. Also, they are able to yield two to three time more from the same site.
There are two ways to identify bush beans from each other. First is through their appearance and color. Bush beans can either be purple, green, or yellow, depending on their variety. Green bush beans include “Blue Lake” and “Tendercrop”. “Goldencrop Wax” and “Improved Golden Wax” are beans that fall under yellow pods. The tone and lineament are somewhat contrasting between green and wax beans. Lastly, if you would like to make grow of a purple pod variety, try “Royal Purple Burgundy.” An interesting fact that you need to know is that purple pods turn green when they are cooked.
We can further categorize bush beans into three types. The first one is snap beans, the type of bush beans where you usually eat the seeds. The second one if the green shelling beans where you ingest the beans while they are green in color. Lastly, dry beans are the type of beans where you’ll need to dry them first and the re-hydrate them before consuming.
Bush beans VS Pole Beans
Generally, plants are grouped under bush type or vine type. Bush type plants, as well as pole beans, are characterized according to their large amounts of protein, fiber, and starch. They both are considered to be depots of minerals such as potassium and iron. No matter where green beans are grown, they will always have an abundance of vitamin C and iron. If green beans are dried and properly cooked, these types of beans will also be able to provide starch, protein, and fiber.
The main difference between bush and pole beans is their firmness and the way they are grown. Bush beans do not need any kind of reinforcement to stay upright. On the other hand, as the name might suggest, pole beans will require a pole or other forms of support in order to stay and grow upright. Their growth style also varies as the former tends to grow more compactly lower to the ground while the latter will climb like vines.
In just a matter of a few weeks, bush beans can produce pods and are considered to be fully grown in about 2 months or so. When compared to bush beans, pole beans tend to require a much longer time to produce pods. However, these types of beans are able to continuously produce pods so long as the beans are carefully picked. Planting bush beans is the ideal type of beans for those people who wish to grow beans without too much work and hassle since bush beans require less mending and are much easier to grow. The main advantage of planting pole beans is that they produce more beans compared to the other type, and are more resistant to plant diseases. If your garden has limited space, then you might want to consider planting bush type instead of the vine type plants since bush beans take up less area as compared to the latter.
It is important to take note that green beans are considered to be young or underdeveloped. That is why most people often soak the beans in water or cook them before eating. It is also important to remember that even though they are considered underdeveloped, there are no verified risks to eating them uncooked.
One can’t deny that green beans have a multitude of nutritional benefits due to its low-caloric content and fat value; not to mention that these beans also do not contain any cholesterol. These types of beans also have high fiber levels and are able to provide you with your day-to-day protein requirements. Of course, this doesn’t mean that bush beans lag behind when it comes to being a healthy food. Bush beans are rich sources of vitamins A, C and folic acid. Both bush and green beans can provide a good amount of calcium, iron, potassium, copper, as well as silicon. Due to its taste and the fact they can provide a number of health benefits to those who eat them, bush beans are often used in many cultural cuisines. Let us take a closer look at some of the different health benefits that one can get from them.
- Decrease Chances of Developing Heart Diseases
High levels of flavonoids can be found in bush beans. A flavonoid is a type of naturally occurring plant pigment and fungus that can be found in almost every vegetable and fruit. They are polyphenolic particles that provide antioxidant effects and encourage strong blood vessel function when eaten regularly.
Multiple studies have shown that high levels of flavonoids, when given to a patient, will show anti-thrombotic effects; thus, decreasing instances of clot formation in the arteries and veins. Cardivascular diseases such as stroke, chest pains, and heart attacks are only some of the diseases primarily caused by thrombotic activity, which would tell us that an adequate amount of bush beans and flavanoids added to your diet can help prevent these conditions from occurring. This is the primary reason why vegetables and fruits should be included in our diet regimen.
- Prevent Colon Cancer
More than being nutritious, bush beans have been tested and proven to prevent or at least cut down the danger of developing colon cancer. Scientists and researchers conducted several tests to linkup dry bean intake to cancer prevention; however, they failed and weren’t able to provide definitive conclusions. Nonetheless, new studies and researches now suggest that adding bush or green beans to your diet may help prevent the formation of pre-cancerous growths and lessen the absolute frequency of colorectal cancer.
As previously mentioned, the high fiber content of bush beans leads to a positive reaction of your digestive system. How? Since bush beans hold both soluble and insoluble fibers, your intestinal tract is being kept in a healthy and balanced state. Moreover, fiber takes in water as it passes through your digestive system, and this action relieves difficult bowel movements.
- Eye Care
Taking care of your eyes is very important and one natural way of doing it is by adding beans to your meal. You are able to decrease your chances of developing eye problems or macular impairment by eating green beans. This is because there are certain carotenoids found in bush beans that were proven to be very effective in slowing down the loss of vision and eye function. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are centralized at the macula of the eye, and both vitamins play very important roles in preventing any tension to the inner mechanism of the eye. Making sure that these carotenoid levels are stable to forbid sight deterioration is one of the many benefits of considering green beans in your balanced diet.
- Control Diabetes
People often have a hard time controlling their sugar level, especially for those who are diagnosed with diabetes already. According to patients, the day they discover they are diabetic, their urge for sweets increases, as well. This is a serious problem. A very good way to somehow control sugar level of the body is ingesting bush beans. Studies show that these beans have an unequivocal hypoglycemic effect on diabetic patients. While it is true that there are a couple of natural regulators of diabetes, bush beans have delivered so much help in the advance prevention of diabetes which makes this an excellent information to a lot of people.
Diabetic patients consider bush beans their topnotch food. Why? Simply because these beans have low glycemic scale, and can help modulate blood sugar levels so much better when compared to many other starchy substances. Just a simple advise, you may add a pinch of salt to add flavor to your cooked beans because they may be moderately savorless at first taste.
- Boost Bone Health
If your bones aren’t strong and healthy enough to keep you upright, then you must be alarmed. You see, your body needs a good amount of calcium in order to provide structure and support. Are you getting sufficient supply of this mineral? In reality, many people don’t. One of the easiest way to acquire enough calcium is from your choice of food. Calcium is one of the several minerals found in bush beans. Having enough calcium in your body prevents bone collapse, as well as osteoporosis, which is a very common disease to the elderly.
- Pre-natal Care
Just like any other nutrient, folic acid is absolutely useful in our bodies in so many ways. Among all its uses, the most important function it provides is its role in keeping the fetus / baby in the mother’s womb healthy and safe until delivery. The level of folic acid in a woman’s body during pregnancy plays a crucial role in the normal growth of the developing infant in the utero, specifically in countering any sign of neural tube defects and in cell maturation. Eating bush beans during pregnancy will maintain high levels of folic acid in your body, making sure your baby is thriving and in a happy state.
While it is true that bush beans are one of those foods with undoubtedly less risk factors, still there are certain things you need to be vigilant about.
Bush / green beans contain phytic acid, a natural substance that is said to contribute to nutrient deficiency if taken in large amounts. It combines with calcium, zinc, and other essential minerals and then prevents these minerals from being absorbed by the body. In spite of the fact that the phytate levels in bush beans are comparatively low, increasing its level is not actually the answer to your trouble if you are experiencing conditions such as mineral deficiency. Also, cooking or saturating beans in water remarkably cuts down amounts of phytic acid, so just abstain from eating them uncooked if you are disturbed about phytate levels.
There are certain foods that contain the protein called lectins. They bind to sugar and are found abundant in bush beans. They may sometimes imitate the role of antibodies, but actually they are not. Though the level of lectin found in bush beans is low compared to other types of proteins, you cannot deny the fact that it is still there.
When taken in large amounts, this protein may trigger the bonding of proteins to the intestinal system, thus causing some digestive issues. You see, too much of everything is not good. Just like phytic acid, cooking beans at exceedingly high temperatures and drenching them in water for a long period of time would cause the reduction of lectin in most foods.
An allergy is a result of a body reaction initiated by the immune system as a defense to an outside stimulus. It is one of the most common problems that is experienced by almost everybody. The chances of having an allergic reaction to beans and other forms of leguminous plants is higher compared to other types of food. This is why it is important to consult with your primary physician on what to do if you have an allergic reaction and what one can do with food allergies.
How to Grow Bush Beans
As with all plants, one of the most important factors to consider when trying to grow them is soil condition, specifically the soil temperature. Soil temperatures that range from 60 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit are considered to be optimal for bush beans. Plant them about an inch deep and give them two inches of space between each other. Like all plants, beans also require water in order to grow but not that much, so you can water them when you see that the soil is starting to get dry. You’ll also need to look out for weeds since the beans aren’t planted too deeply. Furthermore, bean beetles are considered to be the one of the biggest problems with these types of plants. You can handpick them when you notice them.
Planting Bush Beans
A well-drained and mineral rich soil is the best soil that’s suited for bush beans. Direct sunlight is also very important to consider when growing beans if you wish to have the best seeds. Check out our guide on making loam soil, which is what they prefer being planted in.
How to plant
- Consider inoculating the soil with the use of the bean inoculant before planting bush beans. These inoculants contain bacteria which helps the plants yield better produce. Although using inoculants are extremely helpful, they are not necessary to produce beans. They are only added so that you yield a larger crop.
- The second step in planting your bush bean is to plant the beans around an inch and a half deep in the soil. Each bean should also be around 2 to 3 inches apart to give them space to grow, as well as avoid them from competing for nutrients. Consider the total space that you have and need when you plan to plant multiple rows of bush beans. As mentioned, you’ll start seeing the results of your work within two weeks. There are some who suggest that you plant a new bush bean seed once in every two weeks to have a continuous harvest.
- Spread the seeds. Don’t go start planting seeds indoors. No type of bean will grow well if you transplant them.
- Avoid planting the beans in cold soil. Soil temperature that falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit will then produce poorly or show results much slower. Soil temperatures that fall within 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the best for bush beans. When in certain conditions, beans planted within the optimal temperature will start to germinate as early as one week.
Maintenance and care
- Bush beans cannot tolerate cold temperatures. It is important to avoid planting the seeds when there is still the risk of frost formation. Cold air is also harmful to plants, even if they are considered fully grown and will affect their production.
- Try to avoid the practice of soaking the beans to hasten their germination. You run the risk of damaging the beans when doing this.
- If you want to have a steady supply of beans, you can consider doing successive planting from the start of spring until the middle to late July.
- Moisture balance is essential for all beans. You may spray plants to avoid the buildup of smut, as well as keep the plant moisturized. However, too much spraying or watering would may invite a number of plant diseases. The practice of watering the plants early in the morning is also a good. This gives the foliage enough time to dry completely during the day time.
- Apply mulch to the soil after the second set of true leaves develop to somehow preserve moisture.
- It is not safe to use nitrogen fertilizers such as manure, so avoid adding this to your soil.
Note: Beans are naturally nitrogen fixers which simply means that they get nitrogen from the surrounding air and allow it to escape directly into the soil thereafter. By doing such, they are able to satisfy their need for nitrogen on their own. Mixing the nitrogen produced by the beans themselves together with commercially made nitrogen fertilizers will lead to excessive growth of both their stems and leaves, and only a handful of small beans. You do not want this to happen as this occurrence may possibly decrease the plants’ vigor, as well as make them vulnerable to different pests and diseases.
You must remember that whether it may be bush or vine, both types do not require much extra fertilizer. Creating a 3-4-inch layer of compost just beside your future bean site is enough to grow high-yielding, healthy bush bean plants.
Pests that often plague bean bush plants include Mexican bean beetles, aphids, seedcorn maggots, and spider mites. These are only some of the many pests that could infest your garden and destroy your bush beans. The following are some points to remember to keep your garden pest free.
- Mexican bean beetles
Regularly check your garden for these types of pests, as well as their eggs. They can present themselves on small plantings. Do not delay in removing them to avoid giving them the chance to grow and multiply.
The best way to remove aphids from bush bean plants is to flash a hard flow of water directly to the affected areas of your plants and these are often the leaves. You’ll need to completely wash off your plants with water occasionally or as needed early in the day to avoid them from damaging your plants.
- Seedcorn maggot
Fertilizers tend to attract maggot flies and encourage them to lay their eggs in your garden. If possible, avoid using heavy manure to your plants. Using manure as a fertilizer for your bush beans is a big No, No.
- Spider mites
Dealing with spider mites is basically the same with how one deals with aphids. Applying a good strong stream of water to your plants early in the day can remove these pests. When we say a good strong stream we mean water that won’t destroy your plants due to the pressure from the applied water.
Picking bush beans regularly is a good habit as this will help keep the plant producing. Bush beans are usually harvested while they are still premature, a period where the seeds inside the beans have not grown thus far. Ensure that you do not destroy the plant while collecting beans.
Beans that are ready for harvesting should be firm and fairly large. One good indication that the beans are harvest-ready is that they should split easily when you try to break them. After harvesting the beans, make sure you store them in an airtight container inside the refrigerator. When stored properly, beans will often become tougher. Fresh beans can last for 4 days inside the refrigerator. You may opt to freeze them straight off after harvesting for future usage.
The number of ways to reduce the spread of diseases among your plants is almost as many as the number of diseases that can affect them. However, like the diseases that humans get, the diseases plants get will also have methods that’ll work or won’t work for them. Below are some of the many common diseases that can affect bush beans.
- White mold
White mold is a type of fungal disease that can affect more than 300 different kinds of plants. To name a few, these plants include beans, lettuce, and peas. This type of mold often contaminates plants during early spring or summer and goes unnoticed for a couple of weeks until they have spread thoroughly. This mold spreads with the help of the wind. They release spores during cold weather, and these spores are carried by the wind and infect other plants. Removing them as early as possible increases the chances of your plants’ survival.
Control and prevention
Taking a diseased plant off immediately and destroying them should be your first move when you notice the problem. To make sure that there will be no leftovers, replace the infected soil with fresh soil as soon as possible. This may be done with the use of plastic or mulch, or other barriers. Through these barriers, the infected ground can be concealed temporarily, thus preventing the spread of the disease.
To avoid this mold from transferring to other plants, it is best to plant the seeds on a properly drained soil. Leaving enough space for each plant to develop and grow is also very helpful in achieving a great harvest. Also, if you wish to water the tops of the plant, make sure you do it early in the morning so they have the chance to dry all throughout the day. Lastly, control the weeds surrounding your plants. You don’t want the weeds to become hosts to the white molds and eventually spread them to your plants.
- Bacterial blights
Another very common pest that affects bush beans is bacterial blight. This pest can be identified as either common blight or halo blight. Both types of are seed-borne and can persist in bean seeds over winter. They attack growing plants suddenly and they are transferred from one plant to another in many ways including irrigation, splattering rain, wind-blown soil materials, and even through your wet yard and garden equipment. It is difficult to identify whether the plant is infected or not because they appear to be flourishing at fist glance, then symptoms speedily develop after a baffling rain.
Control and prevention
Since it’s quite hard to distinguish plants infected with bacterial blight, you must prevent it from infecting you plants in the first place. What you can do is to use fresh seeds from a reputable source. In this way, you can be certain that the seeds are uninfected. Saving your own seeds to replant in the future may not be a good idea because they can potentially carry harmful microorganisms with them.
Rotating crops could also help you solve this problem. By doing this, your beans are never grown in the same location for 2 consecutive years. Also, see to it that your plants are dry when you work on them. When you notice early stages of bacterial blight, spray chemical bactericide that contains copper to your plants.
- Bean common mosaic virus (BV – 1 ) and New York strain (NY – 15)
It may sound odd, but plants can be infected with viruses, too. Bean common mosaic virus (BV – 1 ) and New York strain (NY – 15) are two viruses commonly found in bush beans. Plants infected with these viruses show mottled and distorted leaves. At times, the leaves become thick and may feel brittle when touched. Moreover, BV – 1 and NY – 15 cripple bush beans which results to hampered growth of the plant.
As you may know, once bush beans are infected with these viruses, there is no other way to control it but by removing and destroying infested plants along with the soil nearby. You may also include the roots clinging to it as they may still carry with them the viruses. It may also be a good idea to add resistant plants to your garden such as Lancer or Golden Butterwax to avoid this pest from entering your garden.