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Tips for growing beans: Plant beans when the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees F — never before. To get a good early start, soak bean seeds in tepid water for several hours until they swell; rinse gently and place in a single layer on several moist paper towels. Cover directly with another moist paper towel (so it is in contact with the seeds). Enclose the covered seeds in a plastic bag and keep them at 70 to 80 degrees F. Examine the seeds daily. When the first sprouts appear, plant them directly in the garden, spaced two inches apart.
Use a light hand when applying high-nitrogen fertilizer. Otherwise, you will get lush plants and few beans.
For a harvest that lasts all summer, sow beans every two weeks. If you’re going to be away, skip a planting. Beans do not wait for anyone.
If you like pole beans, an easy support for them is a “cattle panel” — a portable section of wire fence — 16 feet long and 5 feet tall. The beans will climb with ease, and you won’t have to get into contorted positions to pick them.