Growing Green Beans

Besides being a low calorie, low fat, high fiber food, green beans are delicious and a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. The first time I grew beans, they really didn't do well, and I think it was because I was greedy...I planted lots of them and didn't thin them out and they didn't have enough nutrients and space to power their growth, and my overall yield was dismal.

This year, I decided to show a little restraint and it paid off. I got a nice harvest of beans recently, which I meant to share with my mother during a recent visit, but I forgot to bring them with me. (Sorry Mom!) This forced me to use them and I did so in this really great recipe for Green Bean Salad with Basil, Balsamic & Parmesan. If you're looking for something interesting and fresh to bring to your next summer party (or your own dinner table), this is easy to make and uses a great combination of fresh ingredients and flavors. I also recently planted a late harvest batch of Blue Lake 47 green beans which seem to be growing nicely. It's entering late July here in Zone 7a, and I'm thinking about the late summer plantings of peas and root veggies that I'll be doing in the next few weeks.


There are two basic categories of green beans, Pole beans and Bush beans. Pole beans are great if you have the space as they grow about 5-6', while Bush beans only grow a 1-2'. Despite what you might read, both are very "viney" and need a trellis or cage of some sort to flourish.

Thinking about growing green beans? Here are a few tips:

  • Direct sow seeds outdoors rather than starting indoors. Plant after the threat of frost has passed.
  • When planting in containers, use a container about 12"-16" in size and make sure there's good drainage. If you have to drill holes in the bottom of your container before planting, do so, but don't plant anything in a container with no drainage. This goes for anything you plant in garden containers.
  • Place beans in an area that will get at least 8 hours of sunlight daily.
  • If planting Bush beans, sow the seeds about 1" deep in the soil and about 2" apart. When the seedlings start to grow to about 2-3" tall, thin them to about 4-6" apart.
  • If planting Pole beans, sow the seeds about 1" deep in the soil and about 4-6" apart along a trellis or a stake. I've used tomato cages for round planters and trellis netting. You want to give them support and the ability to climb.
  • If you're limited in space, I'd go with Bush beans if growing in smaller spaces as Pole beans can be very vine-heavy.

Beans are easy to grow and nutritious. They remind me of the freshness summer food offers us and I hope you'll give these little nutritious bites a chance to grow in your garden.

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine