By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you get confused when you hear people talk about green beans? Maybe you aren’t fluent in the lingo surrounding this plant.
There are different types of green beans, and they have a few distinct differences. It’s important to understand the types of green beans as this can help you make an informed decision when adding them to your growing space.
I’m going to walk you through the major types and differences of this crop and share a few characteristics of each. These are the types of green beans and what makes them different:
Two Main Types of Green Beans
The two main types of green beans are bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans are some of my favorite green beans to grow, while my husband prefers pole beans.
Which variety you choose will boil down to personal preference. A bush bean grows to be approximately two feet tall and forms a small shrub.
Pole beans are climbers and can reach heights around six feet tall. This type of bean typically requires a structure to climb up to keep a tidier growing space. It also makes for easier harvesting.
Many gardeners will plant the three sisters (corn, squash, and pole beans) together. The pole beans will use the corn as a trellis.
Which bean you choose may depend upon your growing area and physical preferences. I like to grow bush beans because I feel they remain tidier in the garden.
The beans are more tender, in my opinion as well. However, picking bush beans is more physically demanding as you must bend over to pick the beans.
Pole beans generally produce larger yields, and they’re easier to pick as the bean plants grow taller. However, the green beans develop a tough texture if they aren’t picked regularly.
Consider your gardening method, physical capabilities, and preference in bean types when deciding between these two main types of green beans.
Differences Between Bush vs. Pole Beans, Explained
We’ve discussed the obvious differences between bush and pole beans. This is the height of the plants, growing structures required, and harvesting.
However, the differences go a little deeper than this. When considering which type of bean to grow, you may wish to take the following differences into consideration:
1. Yield of the Green Beans
Bush beans and pole beans don’t produce at the same time or the same quantity. Expect bush beans to produce approximately a half pound per plant.
In comparison, pole beans produce approximately one pound of beans per plant. Yield is an important part of a garden, so take this into account when deciding which style of bean is right for you.
2. Time to Produce
The next difference between bush and pole beans is how long they take to produce. Many gardeners enjoy bush beans because they produce a large harvest within one month.
However, pole beans produce a larger yield, but it takes longer to receive it as pole beans produce over a six-to-eight-week period.
3. Space Saving Techniques
The final difference between bush and pole beans is the amount of space they take up. Pole beans take up more space in the garden even though they grow vertically.
However, don’t let this discourage you as green beans don’t take up much space in the garden no matter the variety chosen. Bush beans only grow to be approximately two feet tall and two feet wide (as previously discussed).
Yet, bush beans have the ability to be sewn in double rows. Therefore, you can get twice the harvest in the same size row.
These are the major differences between bush and pole beans. Now, let’s explore other types of beans that fit into both of these categories.
Even More Types of Green Beans You Should Know About
There are other types of green beans which come in both varieties mentioned above. The first variety to discuss is the French green bean.
This type of bean is frequently referred to as haricots verts. They come in both bush and pole bean varieties. French green beans are generally longer and skinnier than more common green bean types.
The next type of green bean to discuss is the Italian green bean. Romano green beans are the typical Italian green bean. It’s a wider, flat green bean.
This type of bean also comes in both bush and pole varieties.
Wax beans go by the names yellow or butter bean. This type of bean gets these names due to its yellow exterior. These beans also come in pole and bush varieties.
The last bean type to discuss is yard long beans. These beans can become as long as three feet and come in both bush and pole varieties.
These are some of the different types of green beans, which come in both bush and pole bean varieties. If you’re looking for a different style of green bean, some of these options may be for you.
Which Is Best for Common Gardening Methods
Now that you know some of your different options, let’s take things back to our two main categories of beans: bush and pole. Which is best for each common type of gardening? Bush beans are a great option for containers, raised beds, or typical garden plots.
They don’t require trellising which makes it easier to grow them in compact spaces. However, pole beans have their place in the garden as well.
Pole beans grow well in traditional garden plots and can be grown in containers or raised beds as well. Should you grow pole beans in a raised bed, consider creating an arch between two beds.
This will allow the climbing beans to grow up and over the arch. Not only does this make for easier picking, but it’s a beautiful and compact way to grow more beans in a small space.
You may also grow pole beans in a container. However, make sure to place the container close enough to an item which could work as a trellis.
In summary, both types of beans can work in most garden settings. Consider your garden set-up to see which style of bean might work best in your growing space.
Which Is Best for Common Preserving Methods
This next question is one which has many different opinions amongst avid gardeners. If you enjoy canning or freezing your green beans, you must consider both yield and flavor.
I prefer to grow bush beans for preservation because of their tender consistency. I plant green beans multiple times in my garden throughout the growing season, so I end up with the yield I desire.
Bush beans are also great for canning because they produce their harvest in a shorter window. This makes it easier to get all of your canning done in large batches, which I prefer to do.
However, my husband prefers to grow pole beans for preservation. He thinks they produce a higher yield which means he can get by with planting less.
If you’re someone who likes to preserve food in smaller batches, you may prefer to grow pole beans. This will allow you to gather smaller harvests and preserve when you have enough for a single canner.
Ultimately, which type of beans you prefer for preserving will be a personal decision for you to make based upon the quantity you’re trying to preserve, how much time you have to care for your plants, how many times you’d like to plant green beans throughout the growing season, and your preference for the texture of the bean.
Also, you must consider the physical toll of picking bush beans versus pole beans. Take these points into consideration when trying to decide which type of bean you should grow around your garden for preservation purposes.
Hopefully, you have a good idea of the different types of green beans which are available to you for your garden. You should also understand the two major types of green beans and what sets them apart.
Whether you’re growing green beans in a small garden for fresher ingredients, or you’re growing large quantities for preserving, this information should help you make an informed decision for your home garden.