Where Do Green Beans Grow?

Green beans are grown by many different farming systems in many different areas of the world including North & South America, Africa, the Middle East, China, and Europe. China is the major producer of green beans growing 75% of the green beans produced on earth.

Beans are full of nutrition and one of the best non-meat sources of iron. They are a great boon against malnutrition in poor parts of the world.

Beans are also known as nitrogen fixing. This means that they pull nitrogen out of the air and fix it into the soil. Nitrogen is the nutrient most needed by plants and this is another great benefit to poor areas with limited access to fertilizer.

Green beans are a warm weather crop that do well with air temperatures from 60-85 degrees. Green beans are not cold tolerant and will die with a light freeze. In 2019 the global green bean market was estimated at $19.1 billion.

What Countries Grow Green Beans?

China is by far the largest green bean producing country growing more than 10x the second most green bean producing country Indonesia in 2019. The third most green bean producing country is India followed by Turkey, Thailand, Egypt, Italy, Morocco, Spain, and Bangladesh.

The green bean is planted widely in China but is mostly grown in the southeast and northeast. Intercropping, planting more than one plant type in a field, is common practice in these areas.

What States Grow Green Beans?

Wisconsin is the leading grower of green beans in the US producing 37% of the green beans produced in the nation. Other states that grow green beans include New York, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

A Wisconsin farmer accredited the high amounts of green beans grown there to the processing facilities that sprang up in the early 1900’s to process green beans being grown then. Most green beans being grown are canned or frozen so proximity to a processing center is important.

Where Do Green Beans Come From?

Green beans originated in Mesoamerica with bean pods found collected in Peru dating back to 7,000 B.C. Beans were then spread through indigenous populations moving around and eventually found their way through the modern Mexico-America border where beans along with squash and corn became staple crops for Native Americans throughout modern day America.

The three crops are known as The Three Sisters. They are companion plants that grow well together and fit together nutritionally. The three plants are also the ones that could adapt to Northern climates and shorter growing seasons.

Around the time of Columbus in the 1490’s green beans were brought back to Europe and quickly became popular around the Mediterranean countries of Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

Once called string beans, modern green bean varieties have been bred to get rid of this fibrous string that runs the length of the pod. In 1889 Calvin Keeney was the first grower to do this and developed the stringless beans for the company Burpee.

Green Beans Grown In Fields Vs. Greenhouses

Most green beans grown in fields will be canned or frozen. The amount of field green beans grown in an area is strongly tied to the size of the processing space in the area. Here are two sample budgets for green bean fields one in Pennsylvania and the other in California.

In greenhouses pole varieties are grown mainly for fresh consumption. These are commonly grown in early spring or late fall. Varieties that do well indoors are the French pole bean and Yardlong beans.

To learn more about how green bean plants grow and are grown commercially check out “How Do Green Beans Grow?

Soil for Green Beans

Beans are not picky about the soil they grow in and do well in almost any type of soil. Like most vegetables, they do best in loamy soil that’s rich in organic matter.

Loamy soil is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. The three materials have different size particles that creates space between them allowing air, water, and roots to easily travel through loamy soil.

Adding compost, organic material, makes sandy soil more water and nutrient retentive and heavy clay soil better draining and looser for roots, air, and water to travel through. Organic matter also adds nutrients and beneficial bacteria to the soil.

Beans will grow in a soil PH range from 5.5-7.5 but the ideal range is 6.0-6.5. If the soil PH is too alkaline or acidic plants are not able to use the nutrients that are in the soil.

Adding lime or sulfur to the soil is the common solution to bring the PH level up or down but it is a long process and you can figure about a years time for every 1 point in PH change.

The big three nutrients in soils are listed on fertilizers as N-P-K, Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium. After the main three nutrients come sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals. This home test kit will tell you 13 nutrient levels in your soil and the soil PH.

Buying potting soil is great because it is ready made perfect growing soil. In most cases if you’re using bagged potting soil you will not need fertilizer for a whole growing season.

Here are two great options for potting soil. A standard potting soil from Miracle-Gro and an organic option from Organic Plant Magic.

If you want access to large amounts of compost it’s a great idea to call your local government or city workers and find out if they have mulch piles. You should be able to find access to huge amounts of mulch that comes from the city collecting leaves and grass clippings.

If you have any thoughts or comments about green beans share them in a comment below.

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