ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Grow Organic Beans

Updated on August 25, 2017
Jeanne Grunert profile image

Jeanne Grunert is a Virginia Master Gardener, gardening magazine columnist, and book author. She is a full-time freelance writer.

Organic green beans from my garden.
Organic green beans from my garden. | Source

Growing Organic Beans

Beans - whether green beans, snap beans, heirloom beans or any other kind of beans - are easy to grow organically. They need warm temperatures, full sunshine, and fertile soil to grow at their best. While there are insect pests that will eat the leaves of bean plants, they generally don't harm the beans themselves, and most organic gardeners simply skip the pesticides and add plenty of compost to the soil for fertilizer. The secret to growing organic beans is to enrich the soil well before planting your garden beans, and to rotate your crops so that you don't grow beans in the same location each year.

What Kind of Beans Should I Grow?

There are many different kinds of beans to choose from when you decide to grow beans organically. These include:

  • Snap Beans or Pole Beans: Many people grew up with these kinds of garden beans. They grow on a vine and need a pole to twine around, hence the name "pole bean." A trellis or wire mesh fence can also be used to support these beans. They produce prolific amounts of bean pods which are best when picked and eaten fresh or canned to enjoy later.
  • Bush Beans: When space is at a premium, bush beans are the perfect choice. Instead of twining up a pole or another support, they grow in a bush-like shape and produce beans on the main plant.
  • Lima Beans: Very popular in the south, lima beans grow easily in warm, humid climates.
  • Heirloom Beans: Many heirloom beans produce unusual seeds that can be made into stews, soups and chilis. Jacob's cattle, Yin Yang, and many others are speckled, wattled, black and white and unique colors. You can also grow beans such as kidney beans, garbanzo beans and others. Many heirloom beans are best dried and used from storage. The pods mature and dry on the vine, then are picked when mature and the bean seeds allowed to dry after being separated from the pod.

What about yellow beans, purple beans and all the other fancy varieties you see in gardening catalogs? The great thing about growing beans organically is that they all need pretty much the same thing. So have fun and experiment with pretty colors - a plateful of healthy, antioxidant-rich green beans is a delicious summer meal.

Organic Gardening for Beans

Choose a spot in your garden for your organic green beans that receives six or more hours of sunlight per day. You can grow green beans in partial shade, but they are more prone to mildew type diseases and may not yield as good a harvest as beans grown in full sun. Whenever possible, choose a spot that receives full sun.

Enriching the soil is very important for growing organic green beans. If you have a compost pile, dug up your best compost - the kind that looks like crumbled chocolate cake and is filled with fat, healthy and happy worms. That sounds gross, but it's the best compost there is. My dad used to call it "black gold" and he would say "It's worth it's weight in gold!" To your plants, it's better than gold, because it is filled with beneficial macro and micro nutrients as well as microorganisms that enrich the soil.

Dig in as much compost as you can and loosen the soil to a depth of about six inches. Mix the compost in well.

Dig a trench and plant bean seeds directly into the garden soil after all danger of frost is past. The soil temperature should be steadily in the 60s and 70s when you plant beans. They won't germinate if it is too cold.

Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and follow the directions on the back of the bean package for spacing. Some varieties need more space than others. Cover the bean seeds with soil, pat the soil with your hand, and water well. Water beans regularly to supplement rain water.

You don't need any special fertilizer for your green beans. If you notice bugs eating the leaves such as Japanese beetles, don't worry too much. Use a floating row cover, which is like a see-through mesh fabric that allows light through but does not allow insects through, if your beans are plagued with insects. Use it only after the beans have flowered and begun to produce pods, however. Floating row covers keep out good pollinating insects as well as bad bugs, and if you keep our the pollinators, your bean plants won't produce seed pods.

Harvesting and Storing Beans

Pick bean pods when they are young and tender. Pick them frequently as many bean plants will produce a second and even a third crop after you pick the first beans. Many varieties of beans can be dried, and beans can be canned using a pressure canner according to directions. They are excellent when canned and are great for quick salads or meals during the wintertime when you are craving fresh, organic produce. Canning your organic beans will also save you quite a bit of money during the winter months.

Beans grown for soups such as various heirloom bean varieties, garbanzos and the like should be allowed to dry while on the plant. Let nature dry the bean pods completely. Then pick the dried pods. I like to separate the dried husk of the pod from the edible seeds inside at my kitchen table. I spread paper towels on the table and use two bowls, one filled with the dried pods and the other for the dry seeds. I separate them over the paper towels and compost the dried husks of the bean pods. The dry beans are placed in clean, dry canning jars and labeled with the date so I can use them within the year

Organic Pest Control for Green Beans

There are several kinds of beetles that will go after bean plants. Most chew the leaves, and some suck the liquids from the leaves. Organic gardeners usually choose not to use conventional pesticides. As previously mentioned, floating row covers can discourage hungry pests, but there are other organic gardening practices you can use to prevent insect damage.

  • Companion planting uses other plants to repel in sects as well as enhance yield for certain plants. Marigolds, calendula and rosemary are good companion plants for beans. Calendula and marigold are said to repel many insects.
  • Neem oil is an organic oil made from the neem tree of India that can be used on the leaves of bean plants. As with any organic oils or sprays, follow the directions on the bottle for use. Neem oil is also good for roses.
  • Traps - Traps for beetles may be helpful to contain or control heavy infestations.

As an organic gardener, my choice is to leave my plants alone as much as possible. Sometimes the bean leaves look like lace, but they still produce plenty of edible green beans. For more information on green bean care and growing tips, contact your local County Cooperative Extension or check out Organic Gardening magazine.

Organic green beans growing in my garden.
Organic green beans growing in my garden. | Source

© 2013 Jeanne Grunert


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jeanne Grunert profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeanne Grunert 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Jane. And thanks vandynegl for your comment, too. I appreciate it.

    • profile image

      Jane Holmes 

      5 years ago

      Hi! What a great hub. We plants a lot of beans, four or five different varieties! We can them, freeze them and eats tons of them fresh both raw and steamed. And, we grow organic. Your hub shows people just how easy it is to produce our own food and to do it organizally! Keep up the good work!

    • vandynegl profile image


      5 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Thank you for the great information on beans! I LOVE my organic beans! They are super easy to grow and I often find myself getting two packets, so I can get a second row in after I've harvested the first row (several times!). I agree with you about leaving the plants alone! I don't do a thing with mine, and yes, my leaves always end up with a bunch of holes in them, but the beans are never harmed. Keep sharing!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)