Growing and Saving the Seed Of Beans

Beans are the perfect crop for almost any climate. Heirloom beans are easy to grow, and produce delicious pods and seeds. They are high in protein and inexpensive to produce.



Beans are an ancient crop of the Americas. They were a staple crop of Native Americans, who grew them along with corn and squash in their famous Three Sisters gardens. Other bean relatives have been cultivated all around the world for thousands of years. Dry beans have been found in Egyptian and Aztec tombs. Asian cultures have cultivated soybeans for over 4,000 years.


  • Culinary




  • Beans are very easy to germinate. Keep in mind that they must have warm weather in order to germinate; cool weather will cause beans to rot in the soil.
  • Direct seed or sow indoors.


  • Sow seeds 1 inch deep and 2-4 inches apart. Keep seedlings moist but not soaked. 

  • Ideal germination temperature is 70-80 F.

  • Seeds germinate in 5-8 days.




  • Bush green beans do not need support and should be thinned to 4 inches apart.
  • Continuously pick to keep plants productive.
  • Pole green beans will need support. Try growing them up a fence or constructing a trellis.
  • Thin pole beans to 6 inches apart.
  • Dry beans are grown just like green beans. They can be harvested when immature and used like green beans or left on the vine to dry.
  • To harvest, pull the plants and shake them vigorously into a bag to release the beans from their pods.


  • Use drip irrigation to keep leaves dry and disease free.
  • The Mexican bean beetle can be a difficult insect pest. Apply organic insecticidal soap to the undersides of leaves to control the eggs. 




  • Beans do not easily cross pollinate and can be grown close to one another, making them the ideal seed saving project for beginners.
  • Save seeds from the best-looking, best- tasting, and most vigorous beans.
  • Store in a cool, dry place for the winter. (A glass jar in the refrigerator works well.)