Beans are one of the nutritious crops to grow for off-grid survival. They mature in about two months and have a long shelf life.
Additionally, they show high resilience to pests and diseases in the field and indoors. You can extend your cultivation period by growing beans indoors year-round.
Beans perform well both indoors and outdoors, provided there is enough light. Due to their vertical growth, you can plant them in the limited space indoors.
You just need support for them to climb on and choose the appropriate variety.
If you are to grow beans indoors, what factors should you consider? We will talk about how to grow beans indoors and care for them from planting to harvesting. Keep reading for details!
- Can You Grow Beans Indoors All Year Round?
- How To Grow Beans Indoors?
- How To Care For Beans Indoors?
- Harvesting And Storing Beans
Can You Grow Beans Indoors All Year Round?
Yes. Indoor bean plants can thrive and give as good yields as the ones grown outdoors.
Apart from the returns you get from your indoor beans, you also enjoy the attractive green foliage of the bean plants.
The sight is both satisfying and rejuvenating as they improve the air quality indoors.
Beans are well-suited for indoor cultivation because they grow in pots and just require vertical space for growth.
Beans don’t need any lateral space since they are climbers. That means they won’t take up your entire living space.
The compact size and quick growth habit make beans best suited for container culture. With just 6-8 hours of light, your indoor beans will give you the best yields.
Caring for beans is also not as extensive as other crops.
How To Grow Beans Indoors?
Growing beans indoors is not a complicated process. There are well-defined steps you need to follow to get the expected yield at harvesting time. Fortunately, everyone can follow them. They include:
- Choosing bean cultivar to grow indoors
- Prepare a properly sized container and enough drainage
- Fill the container with a good potting mix
- Sow seed beans
- Keep seeds moist until germination
This is the first phase of growing beans indoors. It involves choosing the bean variety, preparing the potting material, and providing germination conditions.
Seeds that germinate without any stress are likely to become healthy and give high yields. Let’s dig into the details.
Choosing Bean Cultivar To Grow Indoors
There’s a secret in growing beans indoors, and that’s the type of beans you choose.
Beans are categorized into bushy beans and climbing or pole beans. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages, as discussed below.
Bush beans can grow to about 3 feet tall and require more lateral space than pole or climbing beans. They are self-supporting, meaning you don’t need a trellis or other support mechanisms.
They may be easier to grow indoors because they are more compact, but the yield is lower.
Bush beans perform best at a temperature of between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also tolerate up to 60 degrees if there is a warm light supplement.
If the temperatures go beyond 90 degrees, the performance may be significantly affected.
Some bush bean varieties to consider include:
- Porch Pick
- Landreth Stringless
- Stringless Green Pod
- Cherokee Wax
- Gold Mine
- Kentucky Wonder 125
Pole or Climbing Beans
As the name suggests, these beans will need a trellis or support system to climb on. They can grow as tall as possible, meaning you will get the best yield.
However, it may be challenging to erect trellis indoors, and the vertical space may be limited.
Apart from the support system needed for your pole beans, all other conditions remain the same.
Temperature, soil moisture, and nutrient requirements don’t vary that much. Some pole varieties to consider include:
- Lazy Housewife Bean
- Asian Winged Bean
- Kentucky Wonder, Old Homestead
- Scarlet Runner Bean
- Rattlesnake Pole Bean
- Climbing French Bean
- Oriental Yard-Long Bean
- Purple Podded Pole
You may also consider your indoor bean variety regarding the pod structure. Green beans produce smooth, slender pods.
These beans are also referred to as French beans, string beans, or snap beans. The name depends on your location.
The other type is the runner beans. These are characterized by rough pods and take a slightly longer time to mature and produce sets.
When choosing the beans to grow indoors, you should also consider weather conditions.
Soya beans, lima beans, and other varieties are best suited for warm tropical climates. Such types may perform poorly in areas with severe winter weather.
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Prepare A Properly Sized Container And Enough Drainage
The type of container you choose for your indoor beans depends on the variety. For bushy beans, you require long, narrow containers with enough room for the roots.
If you are planting pole beans, consider looking for a climbing apparatus in advance.
Beans grow very fast. Hence, the need to prepare everything before planting the seeds. Tie strings to the hooks on the ceiling and let them hang freely down to the planting containers for pole beans.
Beans grow well in drained soil. That means you need drainage holes at the bottom of the container to drain away water. Water stagnation will likely produce root rot, ruining your plants.
In general, the planting container should have enough space for the roots and allow for drainage. Small containers will hinder proper root development and may require frequent water.
Choose your platers appropriately to help you keep maintenance practices at a minimum. The container should be about 12- to 24-inch wide and at least 10 inches deep.
Fill The Container with a Good Potting Mix
Most bean varieties perform best in well-drained, loose, sandy soil that is slightly acidic.
You can help improve these properties by adding compost manure to the potting mix. The ideal mixing ratio is 2 parts soil and 1 part compost.
Beans are leguminous plants. So, you are unlikely to add fertilizer later at the growth stage if you have enough compost in the potting mix.
Preferably, consider chicken manure to add the needed nutrients to your soil.
Another factor to consider when choosing the potting mix is soil health. Some pests and diseases are soil-borne. Using infested soil will infect your beans and significantly affect the yields.
Sow Seed Beans
Most gardeners like starting their gardens from seeds. That’s the same thing you should do with beans. It’s cost-effective to buy seeds and plant them directly into the pot. In this case, there’s no need for potted seedlings.
You can buy beans from a nearby store if it’s your first time in this venture. The package will have all the information about that variety.
You can read through the descriptions, which should indicate whether it’s perennial, biennial, or annual. For beans, it will be stated whether it’s a bushy or pole bean.
The package has a lot of information you should read through, including the germination percentage. You may not get a 100% seed germinating, but you should go for higher values.
The next step after acquiring your seeds is showing them into the soil. Ensure that your potting mix is moist and ready to receive the seedlings.
Plant the seeds about 1-2.5 inches deep and cover them with soil to get enough warmth.
If you are planting in large containers, keep the plants about 2 inches apart.
Keep Seeds Moist Until Germination
Keep watering your just planted container to maintain soil moisture content while avoiding over-watering.
With the right conditions, the bean seeds should germinate in about one week. There can be a slight variation, depending on the variety and soil conditions.
How To Care For Beans Indoors?
Before thinking of planting beans indoors, think of how you will take care of them. There are regular maintenance practices you should face head-on if you intend to benefit from your indoor venture.
Some are done once in the lifetime of your beans, while some are recurring.
Ensure the following for the maximum return on your investment on indoor beans:
Add A Trellising If You Choose Pole Varieties Beans
Trellis is a must for pole or climbing bean varieties.
There is no specific design, provided the resulting structure is sturdy enough to hold the weight of your fruiting beans. Your creativity may be the limit.
However, when erecting trellis or any support structure, you should consider lighting conditions. Also, you should allow easy air circulation between the bean plants.
If you want to share your living space with your vegetables, create hooks on the ceiling and tie strings on them.
Let these hang freely to the planters to allow the bean vines to climb on them. That’s just one of the ways. Use your creativity to come up with the best design possible.
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Light And Temperature For Indoors Beans
Beans require between 6 to 12 hours of daylight to grow well and flower. You should choose the site near the brightest window to allow maximum light energy to penetrate through it.
This is also a factor to consider when erecting trellis. Avoid shady conditions as much as possible.
Providing the required amount of light in the winter seasons can be challenging. To ensure you produce all year round, you may require artificial light.
The red and blue lights are the most effective ones for plant growth. Also, the light source should provide the heat needed by the plants.
Beans are warm-weather crops. They will do well in places with temperatures of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
But that can slightly vary based on the variety. However, it should not fall below 60 or go above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Most bean cultivars cannot tolerate such extremes.
You have an advantage if you plant the beans near a south-facing window. They will get all the warmth they need naturally.
Water For Indoor Beans
Outdoor beans may not require watering as part of daily care, but that’s not the case when you take everything indoors.
They are more vulnerable when grown in pots or containers because of the limited space. The plant will most likely use the available soil moisture faster than expected.
The secret to keeping your indoors beans healthy and less stressed is to ensure they have the best soil moisture.
Keep the soil moist but not wet. Wet soil around the root zone of the plant will encourage root rot and possible nutrient leakage.
Test the soil water content by poking through it with your finger. It should feel slightly cool with a hint of moisture. Water your indoor beans in the morning.
Fertilizer For Indoor Beans
As mentioned, fertilizer may not be necessary if your potting mix contains enough compost in it.
The nutrient should support the beans from germination to harvesting. However, look for light fertilizers that will be quickly used up by the plant.
If you want to replant the beans in the same containers you used without changing the soil, you should replenish it with fertilizer.
That’s because the nutrients are likely to have been used up by the previous plants.
Pest For Indoor Beans
Like all other vegetables, beans are also being attacked by pests and diseases. The most prevalent among different bean cultivars are the cutworm, bean leaf beetles, and spider mites.
These pests attack seedlings when they still have soft stems. They can ruin your indoor beans if not controlled.
The control measures include using a healthy potting mix and wrapping an aluminum foil around the seedling stems. The former is the best method, but if you have noticed their presence, use the latter.
Bean Leaf Beetles
These pests feed on the leaves. Affected beans will have circular sections that have been eaten on the leaves.
Since they affect the mature plants, you can help prevent them by covering your window with insect nets.
Alternatively, you can handpick beetles on the beans. This is only possible indoors because you will not have many plants to inspect.
Spider mites also attack mature beans. You will identify their presence by yellow, raised spots on the leaves.
You can help your plants to fight spider mites by watering them properly. Also, you can wash away the mites by channeling a high-pressure hose to the affected plants to wash away the mites.
Harvesting And Storing Beans
Bush beans will take about 50-55 days to mature. Pole beans, on the other hand, take about 60 days.
But these figures are dependent on the variety. If we account for all bean cultivars, your beans can mature as early as 45 days from planting or as late as 75 days.
How do you know your beans are ready for harvesting? Turn your focus to the pods. Green beans should produce about 3-inches long pods that become as thick as a pencil at maturity.
Also, they should easily split into halves to expose the seeds. Flexible pods are yet to be ready.
Matured pods can be handpicked from the vine. There’s no specific time for this since your production is all year round. Just harvest them when they are ready for use.
Fresh beans can be stored in a fridge, where they can last for up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze fresh beans and store them in a freezer.
The last option is drying them in moderation and storing in food-safe storage containers with airtight lids. Dried beans last longer than fresh beans.
Don’t use the plastic bags that you usually purchase them in if you want them to remain fresh for as long as possible. Once sealed in the container, keep it in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight.
Can you grow bush beans in the winter?
Yes, but it requires more care. Most bean cultivars are heat sensitive, requiring a temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can maintain this indoors but not outdoors.
Also, growing fava beans in winter can help increase your yields since they are less heat-sensitive compared to other varieties.
How many hours of light do beans need?
Most bean varieties will do well with about 6-12 hours of light a day. This may be challenging to produce indoors, especially during winter.
Fortunately, you can supplement it with artificial red or blue light as required by the plant. Maintain that minimum light requirement and remember to provide heat as well.
Will a bean plant grow faster inside or outside?
The growth rate of beans is independent of where it’s grown. It’s the growth conditions that matter. High temperatures are likely to accelerate growth, but enough nutrients and water are required for that.
If you want your beans to mature faster, provide the named conditions. Maintain temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beans are among the few vegetables that can adapt well to indoor conditions and grow all year round.
From the information provided in this article, you can grow potted beans for a constant food supply all year round.
Just remember to water them as appropriate and provide light and plant nutrients.
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