Growing Black Beans

Last updated: 9/14/20

Over the years, I’ve considered growing black beans. However, by the time I was ready, I found it quite tricky.

There were a lot of things to know and loads of things to watch out for. So, I decided to do research. After all, I wanted to get a healthy harvest.

I found some things quite insightful. And I’ve decided to share them with you.

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Best Types of Black Beans to Grow

When growing black beans, the first thing to do is to make a choice. You’ll need to decide what variety of black beans you want to go for – bush beans or pole beans.

While both are mostly similar, the difference is in the support that the beans need. So, before making a choice, here’s what you need to know.

Bush Beans

Just like its name, the bush beans take the form of a bush as it grows. It usually fits best into wide garden beds. Well, this is because it doesn’t grow too tall.

Usually, it won’t grow beyond 2 feet.

The great thing about this option is that you get a large harvest at once. So, if you’re one who likes to can or freeze, then this might be your best bet.

Also, this variety doesn’t need any form of support as they grow. However, it wouldn’t be wrong to plant them close to each other in double rows. 

grow black beans

This way, they still get some light support. From this, you’ll be going for the bush bean variety where your garden has width.

Varieties of Bush Beans

If you decide to go for this option, here are some varieties that I find cool. You can also try them out.

  • Blue Lake 274: It has a unique flavor and delicate texture. You’ll get a heavy yield, and almost at once
  •  Contender: It comes as slightly curved and provides a tasty fresh feel
  • Bush Kentucky Wonder: It provides an excellent flavor with its carmine seeds, fleshy, string less, and tender feel. You’ll find it as the Old Homestead in some stores
  • Derby: It provides an excellent flavor and high yield

Pole Beans

In this case, your bean will grow up in poles or trellis rather than in rows. As such, you’ll need to provide some support to your beans.

Typically, you can either use a pole or trellis on which your bean can climb. You can even get a trellis made particularly for your pole beans.

Also, unlike the bush beans, your harvest comes over a long period. In most cases, it can reach as much as eight weeks.

From all this, the pole bean will be your best bet if your gardening space is small.

Like you now know, pole beans grow somewhat out. So, you wouldn’t have a problem planting them in a garden that lacks width.

Varieties of Pole Beans

If you decide to pick pole beans, here are some varieties that I find nice.

  • Blue Lake: It has a sweet and juicy flavor. You’ll get a massive and extended yield
  • Fortex: It comes as tender, nutty, and mildly sweet
  • Emerite: It provides a sweet flavor and productive yield
  • Romano: An Italian variety, it provides a unique flavor

Unlike the bush beans, your harvest comes over a long period. In most cases, it can reach as much as eight weeks.

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Best Time to Grow Black Beans

You’ll find out that getting the best harvest depends on your sowing time. And this is even more relevant when it comes to growing black beans.

Typically, beans love the heat. As such, you will be doing loads of good by growing them during the summer. Even more, the hotter months in summer is your best bet.

So, ensure you only get planting when you’re sure winter is over. In fact, it would be best to wait for a while after the frost has left.

This is because black beans need as much as 140 days under warm weather before they can mature. And where the roots are damp or too chilly, they will not grow.

So, wait till around late May before you start thinking of growing black beans. You’ve got to be sure your bean can get warm weather for a minimum of 3 months.

Ideal Soil Condition for Growing Black Beans

Beyond knowing when to plant your black bean, you need to consider the soil. For the best effect, here are two things to put in mind; soil condition and fertilization.

Soil Condition

Like we already stated, you need warm weather. So, you can already tell your soil condition is quite important.

Typically, you’ll do your bean lots of favors with your soil within the 6.0 to 6.5 pH range. As such, ensure you confirm that your soil falls within this range.

It’s quite easy to do this. I do this myself with a pH test kit every time. If you don’t want to do this, you can always take your sample to a local garden center.

black beans growing

So, here’s the thing. You’ll usually find your soil pH to be either higher or lower than you need it to be. Luckily, it’s not the end of the road.

I find sulfur very useful if you need to reduce your soil pH. Alternatively, you can add lime to increase your soil pH.

Also, remember that adjusting takes quite some time. As such, you might want to start early before summer. You might also want to try a raised bed for the best effects.

Then, remember that your soil temperature is also essential. It would be best to get a minimum of 16 degree Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit)

Fertilization

Another important aspect of keeping your soil in top condition is fertilization. Although your bean plants hardly need fertilizers, it might be necessary.

And this is where you’ve had other plants on the soil before your bean plant. In such a case, you would need some organic fertilizers to enrich your soil.

However, remember to go for fertilizers low in nitrogen. This is to ensure you’ve more beans than leaves.

Always remember that your black bean isn’t best suited to too much water. So, only do this where you find your soil and leaves extremely dry.

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Water Requirements for Black Beans

So, next up is the water needed for your black beans. Well, whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced gardener, you can tell watering is essential.

Well, here what you need to know while watering your black bean.

Pre-Planting

After my first experience, I found it quite useful to soak my beans. Well, it helped my black bean seeds germinate faster.

So, before planting your seeds, soak them for a minimum of two hours. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to soak them overnight, though.

Of course, ensure you use clean water for the best effect.

Post-Planting

Your black bean seeds don’t just need water before you plant them. You’ll also need to water them regularly after planting.

However, remember that your goal will be to ensure that the soil is moist, not soggy. As such, you’ll need to ensure your watering is light after planting.

If you find your bean plants wilted, you might need to provide some water.

Always remember that your black bean isn’t best suited to too much water. So, only do this where you find your soil and leaves extremely dry.

Common Pest & Disease for Black Beans

Another critical aspect of growing black beans is looking out for pests and diseases.

The fact is that pests and diseases are a common occurrence with plants. And that’s the same with your black beans. Well, here are some pests and diseases you should look out for.

Mosaic Virus

Although there are some resistant variables, your black bean can be quite susceptible to the mosaic virus.

In case you’re wondering how you know about this. It’s simple.

You’ll find your plants stunted. Even more, your leaves will be puckered or curled. In such a situation, you’ve got a mosaic virus issue.

Luckily, I’ve found this to be a result of aphids. So, to avoid the mosaic virus, you would want to keep aphids out of your black beans.

For you to do this, pyrethrin sprays come in handy. However, you might need a respray after rainfall. You can also use live ladybugs around your bean patch. From my experience, it works magic.

Insects

Another set of pests I faced were insects. They are so disturbing that you’ll need to watch out for them.

You’ll have to face

  • Bean beetles, 
  • Flea beetles 
  • Leaf hoppers

However, you can easily get rid of them by removing them with your hands. You can also apply some insecticides to keep your black bean even safer.

Tips for Harvesting Black Beans

Now that you have your bean all grown, the next step is harvesting your black bean. You’ve done all the hard work so far, but it’s no time to relent.

When it comes to harvesting, here’s what you need to know.

When to Harvest Your Bean

It isn’t obvious knowing when to harvest your bean. Well, I know this because I was once here.

Well, you don’t have to stress anymore. Here’s what you need to know.

Harvest Your Bean When Its Pods Turn Dry and Yellow

If you’re wondering if your pods are ready, then this is it. As soon as they become hard, dry, and yellow, then they are.

Also, while you can harvest while your pods are green, you can’t remove the bean just yet. In such a case, you will have to wait and let them dry and mature completely. Afterward, you can get the beans out.

Also, remember that your bean should get matured between 90 and 140 days. You’ll get all your pods matured at the same time if your black bean the bush variety. 

However, you’ll have to harvest all through the season if you’ve got the vining variety.

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Cut Off Mature Pods from Your Bean Plant

Now that you know when to harvest, let’s get to how you’re to do this.

So, the first thing to get yourself a small pruner or a pair of scissors. Now what you need to do is snip off your mature pods.

I know you’re wondering how you tell your pods are mature. Well, here’s a thing that works for me.

I break one of the pods open. Then afterward, lookout for a black and dry bean. In case your bean appears pale and moist, then they aren’t mature. So, don’t harvest them.

You can also bite one of the beans. If your teeth catch a dent, then your bean isn’t mature.

Once you’re sure it is mature, then you can apply your scissors to the plant.

Other Tips

I’ve sometimes found myself in situations where my black bean took more time than I expected. Then, I had the rain coming.

Well, in case you find yourself in this situation, here’s something that can help.

Bring all your bean plants indoors. Then hang your plants upside down. This will help your plants dry up fast and easy.

Saving Your Seeds

One final thing to note is saving your seeds. While I was excited about reaping my efforts’ rewards, I figured I would have to plant again.

So, that’s where this comes in. It would be best if you kept some plants as seed savings. In this case, you will want to avoid picking any pods from the plants.

Also, don’t water them or feed them unless they are scorched. Usually, this might cause leafy growth instead of having your pods develop.

It would be best also to avoid green pods. This is because they don’t have seeds that are mature enough for savings.

It’s also not a bad idea to save your plant roots. All you’ll need to do is ensure they get enough heat to say alive.

Final Thoughts

Growing black beans appears complicated. However, with the right information, you can get it all simplified.

Well, that’s what I’ve done. Still, remember you need loads of sunlight every day. And at least 6 hours each day.

By keeping all this in mind, you can enjoy a great experience growing black beans.

Related Questions

1. How Long Does It Take for Black Beans to Grow?

It takes as much as 10 to 14 days for your black beans to germinate. Then, you should get a mature bean in around 140 days.

2. Are Black Beans Climber?

Typically, black beans are half-runners. As such, they place between support-needing pole beans and self-supporting bush beans.

3. Can You Plant Black Beans from the Store?

You might find it hard with beans from the store as they are sometimes too old or irradiated. However, yes, you can, although it would have to be a dry bean to germinate.

4. How Tall Do Black Beans Grow?

Your black bean can grow as high as 3 feet.

Green Thumb Gardener
easy black beans growing

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