All about bush bean seeds
- 37 bush bean seed varieties
- Easy to grow annual vegetable
- Prefers full sun
- Direct seeded and great for beginners
Origins and Current Trends of Bush Beans
Bush Beans, scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris, are native to the Americas and have been used for thousands of years as a staple crop of indigenous people from those lands. All beans were originally climbing varieties but, over the last century, some have been bred to become bushy rather than vining for ease of maintenance and harvest for commercial purposes. Bush beans are easy to grow, now make a regular appearance in home vegetable gardens and are great for fresh eating, steaming, canning, and even drying. Bush bean varieties include snap, wax, string, lima, and kidney beans, among others.
Growing Conditions for Bush Beans
Bush beans have a stocky bush-like growth habit (hence the name) and prefer full sunlight. They will tolerate some shade but too much will result in decreased yields. They like well-drained soils and do best with consistent moisture, about one inch of water per week. Unlike pole beans, bush beans do not require a trellis for climbing.
How do you grow bush beans from seed?
Bush beans do best when direct seeded in the garden, although they can be started indoors in small containers under lights if desired. If starting seeds indoors, be sure to monitor their growth closely and transplant them out as soon as possible; seedlings that become rootbound may suffer stunting. It is recommended to seed directly in loosely worked soil after the risk of frost has passed outdoors. Bush bean seeds do best in soil temperatures of 60°F or higher. Seeds are large and should be buried at twice the depth of their diameter, usually about one inch deep. Plant in rows at three inch in-row spacing and 18 to 24 inches between rows. They can also be planted into containers as long as the soil depth is at least eight inches. One pot can handle multiple bush bean plants seeded in a cluster with seeds at three to five inch spacing.
Fertility and Harvest
Bush beans are “light feeders” and do not require much supplemental fertility throughout the season. Preparing soil with balanced compost or aged manure ahead of planting should provide more than enough nutrients for their growth period. Avoid commercial fertilizers with high nitrogen content. Bush beans fix their own nitrogen from the environment and if given too much supplemental nitrogen will produce excess vegetative growth resulting in lower yields. Depending on varietal type, bush beans can be harvested young (50 to 60 days) for fresh eating or be left to dry. After drying, pods can be discarded and beans stored through the winter.
For more information about planting, growing, and caring for bush bean seeds, see the Bush Bean Planting Guide.