How to harvest your Beans

Your bean harvest time will depend on what you plan to do with the beans after picking.

Snap beans or green beans harvest: Green beans are ready for harvest when they are about the size of pencil. The seeds inside will be just visible–they’ll look like small bumps. Depending on the variety you have planted, snap beans will be ready for picking 50 to 65 days after planting. For a big harvest, pick green beans every day or at least every couple of days. If you allow beans to mature, the plant will stop producing new beans. So pick regularly for an extended harvest. Pinch or cut off beans; be careful not to pull beans or you may uproot the whole plant. Aging pods will turn yellow and leathery; streaked pods are mealy inside.

Shell beans harvest: Beans for shelling are picked when the seeds reach full size but are still tender. Pick shell beans when the pods are still green and the swollen seeds are visible from the outside. Shell beans are usually ready for harvest 66 to 75 days after planting. Like snap beans, keep picking shell beans and the plant will keep producing; don’t allow the pods to yellow.

Dry beans harvest: Dry beans stay on the plant until the seeds are hard and rattle in the pods. The alternative is to cut the plants when pods turn yellow and hang the plants in a warm dry place until the pods become brittle and the seeds rattle in the pods. It’s best to harvest dry beans before the pods spilt open and the beans spill out. Dry beans are ready for harvest 90 to 100 days after planting. If the weather forecast calls for rain or frost, pull up the bean plants and dry them indoors. (Pick the pods off of pole beans which are too big to pull up whole. Dry pods on screens or racks indoors.)

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