I’m quite fond of French/filet beans, and when we moved up in elevation I was hopeful I’d be able to grow them here. My understanding has been that beans need warmth to germinate and should be planted 1-2 weeks after last frost. It is also suggested that beans do not transplant well, and should always be sown directly in the ground–therefore, I can’t give them a head start indoors. My short season here is even shorter when seeds can’t go into the ground until after last frost, and the nights are still cool at that time which may hinder germination.
That said, using the soil-block system for starting seeds allows me to start seeds that are resistant to transplanting, since they won’t be disrupted much in the process. That said, I DO start bean seeds indoors in the “mini” soil blocks, and this has worked very well. When I do this, I start the seeds about 10 days before I intend to transplant them outside. I don’t want them to get too much growth in the blocks so they won’t be disturbed too much during transplanting. Starting the seeds in blocks also affords me the advantage of being able to plant in nice, neat rows without empty spots where beans had not germinated. These beans are covered overnight after transplant early in the summer with our plastic sheeting over hoops. If it’s really cold on a given night, frost cloth is placed on top of the beans as well. Bush Beans are a winner here. I don’t eat a lot of them, but I will continue to dedicate at least one bed each season to beans.
In 2019 I thought I would try seeding some beans directly in the garden bed rather than starting them indoors. (The “Speedy” variety.) I don’t know what came over me, and I will not do this again. I later put a few of these beans in the soil blocks to fill in the empty spots where there were no sprouts, and fortunately they were able to be harvested before frost. The few that sprouted and grew were very nice beans, and I might try this variety again, but will start them in blocks.
IN THIS GARDEN I HAVE GROWN:
Masai Hericots Verts | 58 Days – These were first harvested 88 days after transplant, and were delicious.
Mascotte Bean | 50 Days – These were harvested 100 days after transplant, however due to my injury they probably should have been harvested much sooner. They were a bit neglected.
Speedy Beans | 50 Days – These were my 2019 experiment that I direct-seeded. The few that grew were first harvested 62 days from sowing.
I hadn’t thought I would want to use up too much space in the greenhouse for a crop like beans, thinking I would need to use too much space for a decent harvest, but in the spring of 2018 I dedicated an area about 30” x 8o” for beans. I had some leftover Mascotte seeds from the previous summer to plant. I knew they were compact plants, so I planted them pretty close together (maybe 8” apart). There were 40-50 plants in that spot. The description says that these plants will be 16-18” tall, but they hadn’t been that tall in my outdoor garden, and in the greenhouse they grew to maybe 10-12”. These little plants were PACKED with nice, tender, stringless beans. I harvested about 4.5 lbs of beans off these little plants. The beans should have been good for the soil, too, and I will definitely plan to grow these in the greenhouse again.
One year I decided to grow some dry beans, “Hutterite” beans, to see how well they might do. Generally, since this garden is smaller than our previous one, I don’t want to use up space with dry beans since they are so inexpensive and easy to buy. But, I wanted to give these beans a try. As it turned out, I got about 1 ½ cups of beans out of one bed. These beans grew well, but were slow to reach harvest, and were barely ready when freezing temperatures arrived. All plants were pulled up and hung in our crawl space until well dried. I don’t think I’ll be doing this again