Tips For Planting Beans

Bean plants are very easy to grow, but there are a few things that can impact your success. For example, frequent light watering may cause your beans to be stunted, and you want to keep moisture levels consistent during flowering and seed pod formation.

Soak bean seeds in de-chlorinated water before planting to speed germination, and plant them following the recommended spacing on the package for your specific variety.

Soil Preparation

Soil quality is a key to the success of any vegetable garden, and Beans are no exception. The health of the soil microbes, earthworms and other organisms binds nutrients together into aggregates that plants can easily access. The soil’s texture, pore space and organic matter content also affect how well it holds water.

The best way to improve your soil’s quality is to amend it with compost and aged manure, and grow cover crops or use a mulch. Avoid chemical fertilizers, which only replenish certain nutrients and don’t help maintain good, friable soil.

Adding organic matter, as well as rotating your beans and following proper tillage and row spacing techniques, will help control diseases. Frequent cultivation, however, can promote the growth of weeds, which compete with Bean plants for water and nutrients. To avoid this, a layer of weed-free compost can be placed on top of the soil. This also helps increase the nitrogen content of the soil because Beans have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria that form nodules on their roots.

Soil Temperature

Soil temperature is a physical property and controls many chemical and biological processes within the soil. It influences seed germination and seedling growth, root development, soil organism activity, decomposition, mineral weathering, nutrient uptake and aeration.

The amount of heat absorbed by the soil depends on its temperature, but it also is affected by its depth, texture and composition. Heat moves from areas of high temperature to those of lower temperatures.

For example, sandy soils warm up much more quickly than clay soils. To determine soil temperature, you can use a meat thermometer or buy a special soil thermometer for about $8 at your garden center. Insert the probe end into the ground until it registers a reading and leave it in place for several minutes.

The best time to check soil temperature is in the morning. If the soil is too cold to plant beans, wait a few more days for it to warm up.

Soil Moisture

Soil moisture is the amount of water in the soil and is a key variable for both agriculture and natural vegetation. It controls the partitioning of available energy at the surface into sensible and latent heat exchange with the atmosphere and, therefore, affects clouds and precipitation distribution. Soil moisture can vary depending on the location in the ground where it’s measured and the type of soil. It also changes the deeper into the ground that it is measured, and it can be difficult to keep up with the moisture needs of plants.

Soil moisture affects the health and growth of plants because the roots absorb it first. It can be influenced by the texture and structure of the soil (porosity, aggregation, organic matter content), temperature, salinity, and weather conditions. The right level of moisture is vital to the health and profitability of crops and is an important factor in monitoring soil erosion, predicting floods or droughts, preventing groundwater depletion, managing irrigation water, and more.


Bean plants need full sun and rich, well-draining soil. Incorporate organic matter and a complete fertilizer into the planting bed before sowing. Mulching conserves water, supplies extra nutrients and reduces weeding.

Regular watering is important, especially during flowering and pod development. Wet soil slows germination, and it also ties up nutrients in the plant and prevents them from being released during dry weather.

During blooming, keep an eye out for insects that can damage or deplete the crop. Small green wedge-shaped sucking insects called aphids often plague beans, and they are best controlled by spraying them with insecticidal soap. Caterpillars and beetles can also be hand picked, or treated with Bt (bacillus thuringiensis), a soil-dwelling bacterium that works as a natural pesticide. Pole beans benefit from a side dressing of compost halfway through their growing season, as they need a constant supply of nitrogen to continue producing flowers and pods. Avoid high-nitrogen commercial fertilizers, as they encourage excessive leaf growth and may delay or reduce blooming and pod set.