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Jul 28, 2010 01:20 PM

what happens to green bean plants after i pick the beans?

hi hounds,

i'm growing green bush beans for the first time ever ... i picked off my first crop last week and enjoyed the harvest.

but now what? do i leave the plants? or do i rip them out and plant new ones in their place? will the existing plants continue to grow more beans?


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  1. Beans will continue to grow & flower. (It takes a flower to get a bean.) Don't pull them up until they stop flowering. Different varieties have different lifespans. Do keep the beans picked; beans drying on the vine will lead to diminished flowering (thus fewer beans).

    5 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      The first time I grew Kentucky Wonder bush beans, I harvested and then left the plants alone for a month. They did not produce any more flowers. So now I rip 'em out and start again. What kind do you grow, that keep flowering?

      1. re: small h

        Blue lake, pinkeye purplehulls, yard long beans...never planted Kentucky wonder myself. It's an old-fashioned variety...but the three I just mentioned have definitely produced multiple crops.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          Thanks. I'll give the Blue Lake a try next year & see what happens.

          1. re: small h

            i'm growing blue lake bush beans ... fingers crossed for a multiple harvest!

      2. re: Hungry Celeste


        thanks for the info! i'll keep the plants in the ground and the beans picked! :)


      3. My experience no matter what type of bush bean is that I get a good sized first harvest, a smaller second harvest, and maybe, if I'm lucky, a negligible third harvest, enough for dinner. Anything after that usually isn't worth picking because the plants are exhausted. I cut the plants off at ground level and till the roots into the ground because beans are wonderful nitrogen fixers and the tilled in roots will release nitrogen and improve your bed.

        I much prefer pole green beans and have had great success with Kentucky Wonder. No bending to harvest, easier to find the beans, takes up less space since it grows vertically and you can plant other crops under them and with care, they'll bloom and produce until frost kills them.

        The advantage to bush beans is you can seed them earlier than pole beans and they'll start producing about 2 weeks before the pole beans will. I plant a small amount of bush just to get them on the table sooner but I don't enjoy tending them.

        5 Replies
        1. re: morwen

          hi morwen,

          thanks for the post ... this is our first year doing beans ... so far, the bush variety seems to suit us. we're using a VERY narrow patch of land and don't have a lot of vertical space so we thought the bush variety would work well. the only thing that we weren't ready for was the ALLERGIC reaction that i get along my hands/arms when i touch the leaves! haha - so hubby is now stuck tending/harvesting...

          1. re: lilaki

            Really, an allergic reaction from the bean leaves? Can you eat the beans and be ok? I noticed I get itches like poison ivy, I think its poison ivy but maybe its the bush beans. Personally I planted bush bean Contender and although fun for a beginner I can't really see the beans being worth the $$$. I have about 20 plants, and I get about 6 beans on average a day. I think my greatest harvest was 12 beans.

            I think peppers and tomatoes are a better deal since the time to pick is so much less. :) I can't believe how much fun it is to check on my tomatoes and peppers every day, and I don't even like raw tomato.

            I see beans mostly as educational, since beans are so hardy you will grow lots of beans even if your a noob like me. I would never had guessed that vegetables grow flowers.

            1. re: lilaki

              Many vegetables have tiny spiny structures on their leaves or stems. Bean leaves produce microscopic scratches, which can be uncomfortable and itch like the dickens as they heal. Corn and most cucurbits have the same potential for skin damage with zucchini some of the worst. Then there are thorns on okra and the calyxes of some eggplants. Sometimes gloves, long sleeves and long pants are a gardener's friends even though they can be uncomfortable in hot weather.

              1. re: Eldon Kreider

                I know with my Zucchini that I don't want to touch the stems for long. Thanks for the info Eldon.

            2. re: morwen

              If you still have the seed packet; look if it states determinate or indeterminate. The former, sets all the beans, blossoms, at one time, while indeterminqte will continue to produce over a longer period.
              If you have determinate plants, keeping the plants growing will not produce any more veg.

            3. I plant varieties of Haricot Vert, the thin French green bean. I get beans until I am too tired to pick and leave the beans on the vine.

              1 Reply
              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                Your plants are indeterminate; most heirloom varieties are such. The determinate, many are hybrids, were developed for commercial agriculture. Operators want to pick a field once and then plow it under,; one large burst of production is better for them than a steady stream of fruits/veg ripening over a longer period. For the home gardner, quite the opposite is desirable. Better to have a constant supply than a flood all at once.