Kidney beans are a popular and versatile legume that can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to soups and chili.
They are not only tasty but also packed with essential nutrients, such as protein, fiber, iron, and vitamins.
In this guide, we will provide you with everything you need to know to grow kidney beans in your own backyard or container garden.
Reasons to Grow Kidney Beans at Home
Growing kidney beans at home offers numerous benefits:
Cost savings: Growing your own kidney beans can be more cost-effective than purchasing them from the store.
Taste and freshness: Homegrown kidney beans often taste better and are fresher than store-bought options.
Environmental benefits: By growing your own beans, you can reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable food system.
Gardening as a hobby: Growing kidney beans can be a rewarding and therapeutic hobby.
Choosing the Right Kidney Bean Variety
There are two main types of kidney bean plants: bush kidney beans and pole kidney beans.
Bush Kidney Beans
Bush kidney beans are compact, self-supporting plants that grow to about 1.5-2 feet tall.
They have a relatively short growing season, usually producing beans within 50-60 days.
This makes them suitable for regions with shorter summers or for gardeners looking for a quick harvest.
- Red Kidney Beans – Approximately 30 Seeds – .6 Oz.
- Plants are 24″ inches tall and produce vigorous, dark green, 4-5″ long pods.
- Plant 1 1/2″ Deep.
- Non GMO and Neonicotinoid Seed
- Marde Ross & Company has been a Licensed California Nursery since 1985.
Pole Kidney Beans
Pole kidney beans are vining plants that require support, such as a trellis or stake.
They can grow up to 8-10 feet tall and generally produce beans within 70-90 days.
Pole varieties are suitable for gardeners with limited space, as they can be trained to grow vertically.
Preparing for Planting
Before planting your kidney beans, take the time to prepare the area to ensure optimal growth.
Selecting a Suitable Location
Choose a location in your garden or container that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Kidney beans require well-draining soil and do not tolerate waterlogged conditions.
If planting in a container, ensure it has drainage holes to prevent excess moisture.
Preparing the Soil
Kidney beans thrive in loose, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
Amend your garden bed with compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil structure and fertility.
If planting in a container, use a high-quality potting mix.
Soaking and Germinating Kidney Beans
Soak the kidney bean seeds in water for 8-12 hours to speed up germination. This helps to soften the seed coat and allows the seedling to emerge more easily.
After soaking, drain the water and place the seeds on a damp paper towel, folding it over to cover the seeds.
Store the seeds in a warm, dark place for 1-2 days, checking daily for sprouted seeds.
Planting Kidney Beans
Once your seeds have germinated, it’s time to plant them in the garden or container.
Planting Bush Kidney Beans
Plant bush kidney bean seeds about 1.5-2 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart in rows.
Space rows 18-24 inches apart to allow for adequate air circulation.
Gently pat the soil down around the seeds to ensure good soil-to-seed contact.
Planting Pole Kidney Beans
Plant pole kidney bean seeds about 1.5-2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart along a trellis or other support structure.
Space rows 24-36 inches apart. As the plants grow, guide the vines onto the support structure and secure them with loose ties if necessary.
Caring for Kidney Bean Plants
With your kidney beans planted, it’s essential to provide them with the proper care to ensure a bountiful harvest.
Water your kidney bean plants consistently, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
Aim for approximately 1 inch of water per week, either through rainfall or supplemental irrigation.
Avoid overhead watering to prevent the spread of diseases.
Kidney beans are legumes, which means they can fix their own nitrogen in the soil. As a result, they typically do not require additional nitrogen fertilizer.
However, you can apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or side-dress with compost during the growing season to provide essential nutrients.
Pest and Disease Management
Monitor your kidney bean plants for signs of pests, such as aphids, spider mites, and bean beetles, and take action to control them as needed.
Use organic methods, like insecticidal soap, neem oil, or introducing beneficial insects, to manage pests.
Keep an eye out for diseases, like bean rust or bacterial blight, and remove affected plant parts to prevent their spread.
Harvesting Kidney Beans
You can harvest kidney beans in two ways: as green beans or as dry beans.
For green beans, pick the pods when they are firm and well-filled, but before the seeds become too large.
For dry beans, allow the pods to mature and dry on the vine. Harvest them when the pods become brittle and the beans rattle inside.
Remove the beans from the pods and store them in a cool, dry place.
1. Can I grow kidney beans in a container?
Yes, kidney beans can be grown in containers. Choose a container that is at least 12 inches deep and 18-24 inches wide. Ensure it has drainage holes and use a high-quality potting mix.
2. How long does it take to grow kidney beans?
The time to harvest depends on the type of kidney bean you’re growing. Bush kidney beans generally take 50-60 days, while pole kidney beans take 70-90 days.
3. When is the best time to plant kidney beans?
The best time to plant kidney beans is after the last frost when soil temperatures have reached at least 60°F (16°C). Kidney beans are sensitive to cold temperatures and can be damaged by frost.
4. How do I store harvested kidney beans?
For green beans, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. For dry beans, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. They can be stored for up to a year or more.
5. Can I save kidney bean seeds for next year’s planting?
Yes, you can save kidney bean seeds for planting in the following year. Allow the beans to dry completely on the vine, then remove the seeds from the pods. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place, in a paper envelope or airtight container, until it’s time to plant them again.