If you’re looking for a vegetable that’s compact, easy to grow, and sure to produce an impressive crop, look no further than the green bean!
Green beans require few resources — some varieties need a vegetable trellis or similar structure to climb — and are incredibly versatile in the kitchen.
Another awesome fact is that green beans can be started from seed in both spring and fall. When looking at how many green bean seeds per hole, just be sure to place at least 2 seeds in each hole for the best results!
What Are Green Beans?
Did you know that “green bean” is more of a culinary term than a botanical one?
Technically speaking, green beans are the unripe fruit of the French or common bean plant (Phaseolus vulgaris). You’ll sometimes see other types of immature beans called green beans as well.
Green beans are quite popular in many types of cuisine. A large part of their popularity stems from the fact that the entire fruit is edible — pod and all.
Most green bean plants are categorized as bush (a.k.a. dwarf) or pole (a.k.a. climbing) varieties.
Everything You Need To Start Green Beans From Seed
Your green bean plants will need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to reach their full potential.
While pole bean varieties will quickly grow taller than nearby vegetable plants, be careful when selecting a location for your bush beans. They may not get enough sunlight if planted next to taller varieties!
You can grow green beans in almost any well-draining soil!
Be sure to loosen your garden’s soil before planting beans. Green beans have very delicate roots. Seedlings may have trouble developing if the soil is compacted.
Green beans rarely require supplemental fertilizer. After all, one of the coolest things about beans is that their roots improve the availability of nitrogen in the soil!
With that said, it never hurts to conduct a simple soil test before planting your vegetable garden. If the results show any nutritional deficiencies, amend the soil with aged compost before sowing green beans.
Both bush and pole beans benefit from supports. However, supports aren’t always necessary for bush varieties (especially those on the smaller side).
You can use trellis netting, bamboo poles, or something else entirely to support your growing green beans.
It’s best to place supports in the garden before or at the same time as you plant your green bean seeds.
Setting up supports around your green beans after they’re already planted is very likely to damage the seedlings’ roots.
Sow all green bean seeds 1 inch deep. Place at least 2 seeds in each hole to ensure germination.
When planting pole green beans, you should space the holes 4 inches apart. Bush varieties, on the other hand, can be planted 2 inches apart.
Seeds that are planted too deep will struggle to break through the soil. Meanwhile, seeds that are too shallow are at risk of being picked up by hungry birds.
If your garden has turned into an avian buffet, consider placing a temporary fabric cover over your green beans seeds until the sprouts have a chance to establish!
Once your green bean seedlings have grown to 3 inches tall, thin extra plants by cutting the stems at the ground. Thin out pole beans to be 6 inches apart and bush beans to be 4 inches apart.
When To Plant Your Green Bean Seeds
Green beans are quite sensitive to frost. So temperature is the most important factor in determining when to sow your green bean seeds.
For spring-planted green beans, any time after your area’s last frost date is an appropriate time to sow seeds.
If you want to try your hand at growing green beans in the fall, sow the seeds at least 10 weeks before your area’s first predicted frost date.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the soil temperature should be at least 48°F for green beans to germinate. However, the ideal temperature is anywhere between 70°F and 80°F.
While you can plant green bean seeds in colder soil, be aware that germination will take a long time. There’s also a chance that your seeds will rot before they have a chance to sprout!
Can You Start Green Bean Seeds Indoors?
Many popular garden vegetables can be started indoors when outdoor temperatures are still too cold. However, green beans fare best when sown directly into the ground.
Green beans have very delicate roots, and it’s difficult to transplant young plants without damaging them. So it’s rarely advantageous to start green beans indoors.
If you’re determined to start your green beans indoors, then be sure to use biodegradable containers. These seed-starting pots can be planted directly into the garden, limiting the chance of damaging your green bean seedlings!
Where To Get Green Bean Seeds
Seeds can be purchased in bulk or in small packets. The latter option is available at garden centers, grocery stores, and a variety of other retailers.
Keep in mind that green bean seeds may be labeled as “common” or “French” beans. Be sure to decide whether you want to grow bush or pole beans and select seeds of the appropriate variety.
Once you’ve grown green beans in your garden, however, you can easily start collecting seeds for future years.
To save seeds, you’ll need to leave some bean pods on your plants to fully mature and dry out. The exterior pods should feel brittle when ready.
For the best results, store collected seeds in an airtight container. Keep the container somewhere cool, dry, and dark to prevent unwanted germination.
How Long Do Green Bean Seeds Last?
Healthy green bean seeds can last for up to 3 or 4 years. That gives you plenty of time to plant previous years’ seeds in your garden!
Green beans typically have a germination rate of 70%. This means that out of 100 random seeds, approximately 70 will become seedlings.
Seeds that are old or stored improperly can have much lower germination rates. Before planting, consider conducting a simple test to check the seeds’ health:
- Select several random seeds from storage. If you have multiple green bean varieties on hand, be sure to test each one.
- Place the seeds on damp paper towels. Loosely roll up each paper towel and place them in plastic ziplock bags.
- Leave the bags in a warm, indirectly lit location for a week.
- During the second week, check the seeds for sprouting daily.
- After 14 days, any viable seeds will have germinated. You can use this number to estimate the germination rate of the remaining seeds. Take this into account when deciding how many green seeds to plant per hole.
- If desired, any sampled seeds that successfully germinated can be planted in the garden!
How Many Green Bean Seeds Per Hole – Final Thoughts
Green beans are the quintessential beginner-friendly plant for new vegetable gardeners. Zero experience is needed to turn a few seeds into a bountiful harvest!
Of course, no vegetable is 100% foolproof. When planting green beans, you should place at least 2 seeds in each hole in case some fail to germinate.
Once those seeds are in the ground and your first seedlings emerge, however, you’ll be well on your way to eating home-grown green beans at every meal!