By Jennifer Poindexter
Are you considering growing a different kind of green bean? If so, you don’t want to overlook Roma (or Romano) bush green beans.
If you’ve read many of my articles, you know I’m a bush bean type of girl. My husband grows pole beans every year, but my heart will always belong to the bushier varieties.
I love their tender consistency and the way they keep my garden looking tidy. Yet, Roma bush beans provide even more as the plants produce a wider, tender green bean.
Many gardeners enjoy growing them because you get a lot of bang for the effort you put into them. If you’re interested in growing Roma green beans, here’s what you should know about how to start the process:
Growing Conditions for Roma Green Beans
Roma green beans have a special place in my heart because I have fond childhood memories of my great grandmother preparing these beans for our meals.
I’ve never met a person since, that cooks them the way she did. For this reason, I like to incorporate these beans into my garden each year. If for no other reason, to serve as a reminder of her.
Whether you share similar memories or just want to grow a different green bean, Roma green beans could be for you.
These beans come in both bush and pole varieties. We’re going to discuss how to grow the bush variety. Though, there really isn’t much difference in how you plant or grow the different varieties besides the obvious need for pole beans to be staked.
Plus, bush beans produce a harvest in a two to three week period, where pole beans produce their harvest over a longer period.
When preparing a planting location for these beans, select an area which receives full sunlight ( approximately eight hours of direct sun) and has well-draining soil.
Beans like a slightly acidic soil, so be sure to test prior to planting. You can amend the soil prior to planting if needed.
Don’t worry too much about your planting zone as Roma bush beans are known for growing as annuals in planting zones two through eleven.
If you can supply these basic needs, your Roma bush beans should have what they need to start the growing cycle on the right foot.
How to Plant Roma Green Beans
Roma green beans are simple to plant. You may either grow them in the ground or in a container. Should you choose a container, be sure it has proper drainage.
Also, be sure that the planter is at least fifteen-inches wide and twelve-inches deep. Fill the container with well-draining soil and plant the seeds.
Since beans are smaller plants, you may grow one plant for every two inches of space in the container.
Once planted, keep the soil evenly damp and wait for the seeds to germinate. This should take around eight to ten days.
The other method to growing Roma bush beans is to plant them in the ground in a traditional garden plot.
In this case, you’ll prepare the growing area by tilling the soil and amending it, as needed, prior to planting.
When the soil temperatures are at or above 60-degrees Fahrenheit, you may sow the seeds. You generally only need one to two plants for each person in your household.
However, if you’re an avid canner, you may wish to sow more seeds. Don’t forget to sow a few extra incase some seeds don’t germinate.
Sow the seeds three-inches apart and at a depth of one-inch. Keep the soil evenly damp and wait for the seeds to germinate in approximately eight to ten days.
Once the plants have sprouted, thin them to where there’s one plant per every half-foot. You can get away with planting seeds closer in a container because the gardener has more control over the growing elements and can quickly provide more water or nutrients to balance things out in a smaller space.
You don’t have the same luxury when growing in the ground, so it’s best to ensure the plants aren’t overcrowded and won’t need to compete for nutrients.
Remember, your plants should produce a harvest at approximately the same time if growing a bush bean variety.
Therefore, you may wish to succession plant Roma beans to spread out your harvest over the growing season. This will be up to you.
Now that you have an idea of different ways to grow Roma bush beans, let’s discuss how you should care for these plants.
Caring for Roma Green Beans
Caring for Roma bush green beans is another simple task. This shouldn’t be all that surprising since these are easy plants to grow.
They’ll need water, fertilizer, mulch, and adequate weeding. When watering Roma beans, be sure to do so deeply.
This allows you to water the plants for a longer period, fewer days of the week. In the process, you’re saturating the roots of the plant along with the ground around and beneath the plant.
As the days progress, and the plant needs more water, it’ll dig its roots into the soil to retrieve it. This encourages a stronger root system and a healthier plant.
Be sure to check the soil between watering sessions to know when to apply more. Insert your finger into the dirt next to the plant. When it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to water your green beans again.
Next, be sure to apply a 5-10-15 fertilizer prior to planting and again when the plants begin to form beans. You may apply a little extra throughout the growing season if your beans look as though they’re in need of a boost.
You also must apply a layer of mulch around your green bean plants as this helps keep the weeds down and retain necessary moisture.
Lastly, remove any weeds around your plants. Allowing weeds to take over your growing space provides room for pests and diseases to hide. Plus, it creates competition for your beans as they’ll have to compete with the weeds for water and nutrients.
These are the few things Roma bush green beans will need from you when growing in your backyard garden.
Garden Pests and Diseases to Avoid for Roma Green Beans
Though Roma beans are a simplistic plant to grow, you must still remain alert to potential threats. These beans do face a few risks when growing in the garden.
The pests which most frequently impact this plant are spider mites, beetles, and aphids. They can each be treated with an insecticide and should be handled promptly to avoid further issues.
Diseases which most commonly impact Roma green beans are rust, powdery mildew, and other fungal based issues.
These can be avoided by growing your green beans in adequate growing conditions. This means supplying plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil.
Both of which will ensure the plants aren’t grown in a cold, wet location which is a breeding ground for fungal issues.
Should your plants develop a fungal disease, be sure to treat them promptly with a fungicide. You may also remove damaged parts of the plant.
These are the most common threats these plants face. By remaining alert and ready to move upon spotting these issues, you’re ensuring your plants have every opportunity to recover if faced with these struggles.
Harvesting Roma Green Beans
You’ve provided adequate growing conditions, you’ve planted Roma green beans with success, you’ve provided proper care, and you’ve even kept your plants safe from the risks they may face in the garden.
Now, it’s time to partake in the harvest you’ve worked so hard to encourage and protect. Thankfully, this part of the growing process is also simple.
Roma green beans take around fifty to seventy days to reach maturity. At this point, they should begin producing beans.
You’ll know the plants are ready to harvest when the pods are wide, green, and have prominent beans within them.
When you find beans ready to pick, gently pluck them from the plant. Take them indoors, clean them, and either prepare them to enjoy right away or refrigerate them for use in the near future.
You may also preserve green beans through canning and freezing. Decide what you’d like to do with your green bean harvest and put your efforts to good use around your kitchen.
If you’ve ever wanted to grow a different style of bush bean, Roma green beans could be for you. There’s little difference to growing this variety of bush bean in comparison to other varieties.
However, these beans are wider and have a great flavor. When growing bush beans in your garden, utilize these tips to have a positive growing experience.