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University of Minnesota Extension

Growing beans in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Edible beans include snap beans, shelling beans or dry beans.
  • Bean plant growth habits include pole beans, bush beans and half-runners.
  • Bean plants do not need as much fertilizer as other crops.
  • Plant seeds directly in the garden once the soil has warmed.
  • Install pole bean supports at planting time.
  • Pick snap beans before the individual seeds inside the pods bulge.
  • Pick shelling beans when the pods are thin and tough, but not dry.
  • Pick dry beans when the pods are dry and the beans inside rattle.

Beans for different uses 

The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), is a popular garden vegetable in Minnesota, grown for snap beans, shell beans or dry beans. Some varieties are suited for all three uses.

Pods of all types may be green, yellow ("wax"), purple or striped. Purple coloring disappears during cooking. Cooked purple beans will appear dark green.

Selecting plants




How to keep your bean plants healthy and productive


Managing pests, diseases, and disorders

Many things can affect bean leaves, flowers and pods. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis. 

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get input.


Authors: Marissa Schuh, Extension educator, and Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2022

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