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Grow Great Green Beans: The Complete Guide to Growing, Cooking, and Eating Green Beans

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Welcome to the tender, slender, magical world of green beans!

Remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk? He sold his cow for a handful of magic beans and before he knew it, the beans had grown into the sky! (Rumor has it that it was the attractive Scarlet Runner bean that inspired the fairy tale.) Now, it’s true that Jack ran into some trouble with a giant, but at the end of the day the deal had paid off richly. And that’s what happens when home gardeners like you plant green beans—they get loads of delicious, nutritious produce that proliferates like magic. You won’t encounter a giant, but you will discover a giant love for growing green beans, including their beautiful butterfly-shaped pink, red, and white blossoms, depending on the green bean varieties you grow. In fact, the Spaniards once grew green beans strictly for ornamental purposes—before they discovered how good they tasted when cooked! Is it any wonder, then, green beans are among the three most popular vegetables grown in United States gardens?

Green beans can grow in open land, in raised beds, and in containers. If you’d like to grow this easy, gardener-friendly crop, we’ll help you get started!

First is the collection’s Introduction, where you’ll learn some of the basics about green beans and how to choose the right variety to grow. You’ll also get the history of this reliable legume.

Next, in the Feature Articles, you’ll get specifics about bean growing—from the two types of green bean plants to the best way to start growing (seed? seedling?) to watering, fertilizing, and harvesting your green beans to get the most plentiful yield.

There’s a lot to know about growing green beans, so even if you’re a veteran, you might learn something new. We aim to gather everything there is to know about green bean growing into this single collection!

We have eight fun Plant Profiles with the more popular varieties listed, including options for gardeners around the country and those who want to grow green beans in containers.

While there are at least 140 varieties of green beans, we’ve chosen to familiarize you with some of the most appealing culinary and ornamental profiles. If you’d like us to include another green bean variety that appeals to you, please let me know by commenting below.

After all, this is Food Gardening Network, and we want to include the knowledge of all our gardening readers in everything we do. Your input is just as important to us as anything we come up with on our own!

We do think you’ll love the green bean Recipes we’ve compiled for enjoying the fruits of your labor. They cover many traditional uses of green beans, plus some variations that you might want to try.

Make a classic French salad composed with your own haricot verts. Or serve up a side that’s a healthy and delicious makeover of the one traditionally served at Thanksgiving. Friends and family will love the wide variety of ways you can put your green beans to use—ways that go beyond basic side dishes.

After that, you’ll be interested to learn how beans can benefit your health in Nutrition Facts about Green Beans. Green beans are full of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but have only 31 calories per cup—and no fat!

Then there are the Health Benefits of Green Beans where you’ll learn how beans are thought to help heart health, prevent cancer, and contribute to better digestive health.

Because we want you to have everything there is to know about green beans at your fingertips, we’ve included a Resources section that’s complementary to this collection. Learn more about tools specific to bean growing, and kitchen tools that will come in handy after you’ve harvested your green beans.

As always, we’ve included a brief Glossary in case you need a deeper explanation of any key terms. Be sure to let us know if there’s something else you need explained!

I’m off to make some delicious Chicken and Green Bean Stir-Fry right now, but I hope you’re ready to dive in and become a master green bean grower!


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