The two main types of beans depending on their growth pattern are classified into pole and bush beans. The pole beans, as their name suggests, require support for growth. Bush beans, on the other hand grow close to the ground surface. Classification of bean varieties is also made on the basis of time at which the pods are picked.
Beans should be grown in areas that receive ample amount of sunlight. If you are planning to grow them indoors, then you need to make necessary arrangements in accordance with sunlight availability.
The soil used for growing beans needs to be well-drained. Also, soil that is rich in organic matter should be used. Its pH range needs to be between 5.5-6.5. To make the soil rich in organic matter, one should add compost before planting. One does not have to worry much about providing nitrogen to this plant, as it is knows to fix nitrogen from air. The organic matter provided to the plant should contain potassium and phosphorus.
Seeds have to be sown after winter season, when the frost will not tamper the germination. The temperature of the area where you are planting the seeds should be around 55 °F. Distance between the rows of the plants needs to be 3-4 feet. Depth of sowing should be around 1 inch. For beans that develop into vines, support in the form of poles should be given while sowing the seeds, so that, the plant growth does not get affected. Thinning of seedlings need to be done just after their emergence onto the surface. Thinning is carried out to maintain spacing between plants in a single row. A distance of about 5-6 inches and 6-8 inches should be maintained for bush and pole varieties respectively.
Watering and Fertilization
While in the sapling stage, beans need to be watered at least 3 times a week, but for fully grown plants, weekly watering is enough. Care should be taken to see that they are not over-watered. Fertilization in the form of compost should be provided when the second set of leaves are formed. The compost used also acts as mulching which preserves soil moisture.
Beans are classified on the basis of time at which they are harvested. The 'snap' beans are harvested while they are still young and tender, the 'shell' variety on the other hand, are picked when the pods turn plump. However, it necessary to harvest shell beans before the color turns brown. The 'dry' beans are picked when pods turn dry.
Snap, shell, and dry beans are not different varieties but stages of pod development (maturity). It is on the basis of purpose (degree of dryness of bean seeds) that one should harvest beans at different stages.