Sow and Grow Bush Beans

Fava Beans

While my preference is to grow pole beans for vertical gardening purposes, some bean varieties only come in a bush type of plant.  Two examples of bush only types of bean plants include edamame/soybeans and fava beans .

While most bush bean plants like warm weather, there is one exception which is the fava bean.  While the seed companies recommend sowing bean seeds outdoors, I start mine indoors as noted below.   Fava beans should be sown in early spring.  Other bush beans should be sown after the last chance of frost.

Edamame Beans

Helpful tips for bush beans:  1) soak the seeds overnight (12 hours) to speed up germination and/or wrap the seeds in a damp paper towel and put them in a ziplock overnight, 2)  mound the soil up one or two inches and then sow the seeds one inch below the surface so the seed does not sit in a puddle of water, 3) space the seeds 6 inches apart or more as noted on your seed packet, 4)  cover the area where you planted the seeds with netting or a row cover to keep the birds from eating the seeds (once the seedlings start sprouting, don’t forget to remove the cover,  5) use a small pole for support in case you have windy weather and 6) give plenty of water by using soaker hoses as beans get thirsty .

If you have grow lights in your house, I would suggest starting the bean seeds inside the house.  I use the Pro-Hex seed starting trays because the seedlings don’t like their roots disturbed.    I use something thin like an old steak knife to remove the seedlings from the trays to minimize hurting the roots.  I find the germination rate is better with my T5 lights.  Once the seedlings get a few leaves, I harden them off for a few days outside and transplant them.

While fava beans are cold tolerant, I still transplant them under cover in the spring because the spring weather in Pittsburgh is totally unpredictable.  For the bush bean plants that like warm weather, I don’t use a cover.    Also, I usually pick a rainy evening to transplant.   Just like my suggestion with the seeds, I like to mound the dirt up after I transplant  the seedlings so they don’t sit in a puddle.