How To Grow Kidney Beans

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Kidney Beans

Growing Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a type of legume, also known as "common beans", that come in many varieties and are a popular ingredient used in a variety of dishes. They are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have an earthy and nutty flavor, and can be used in both cold and hot recipes, such as salads, stews, soups, and chili.

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Cheatsheet: Growing Kidney Beans

Choose the Right Bean Varieties:

🌱 Opt for bush or pole varieties based on available space.

Prepare the Soil:

🌿 Ensure well-drained soil with a pH of 6-7.

Sow Seeds or Transplant Seedlings:

🌱 Sow directly or transplant after all frost danger has passed.

Water and Mulch:

💦 Keep soil consistently moist, but avoid over-watering.

Provide Adequate Sunlight:

☀️ Place in a sunny spot, at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.

Support Growing Plants:

🌱 Use stakes or trellises for pole varieties to enhance growth.

Fertilize Regularly:

🌿 Apply balanced fertilizer every 2-3 weeks for optimal growth.

Control Weeds and Pests:

🚫 Remove weeds and treat pests to protect plants' health.


🌽 Harvest after 70-90 days, when pods are dry and beans rattle.

Health Benefits:

🌱 Nutrient-dense, high in plant-based protein and fiber.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable:

🌿 Kidney beans enrich soil and reduce carbon footprint.

Growing Kidney Beans

Few things are as satisfying as *growing kidney beans* in your backyard. These robust legumes are nutritious and easy to cultivate.

Choosing the Right Variety

Kidney beans come in two main types: *bush* and *pole* varieties. Bush beans grow faster, while pole beans yield more.

Choosing the right variety can boost yield by 20%, and suit your space better.

For smaller gardens, I recommend bush beans. They take less room and mature quickly.

Preparing the Soil

Your soil must be well-drained and rich in organic matter. Adding compost improves fertility.

  1. Test your soil pH; kidney beans prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil (6.0 - 7.0).
  2. Incorporate compost or aged manure before planting.
  3. Ensure good drainage to prevent root rot.

I once grew kidney beans on heavy clay soil. They struggled until I improved drainage with sand and compost.


Sow kidney beans directly into the ground after the last frost. Wait until soil temperatures reach 60°F (15.5°C).

Starting seeds in cold soil often leads to poor germination rates.

Plant seeds 1 to 1.5 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart. Space rows about 18-24 inches apart for optimal airflow.

Watering and Care

Water beans consistently, especially during flowering and pod formation. But avoid waterlogging.

  • Water deeply once a week, or more often in hot, dry weather.
  • Mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

*Consistency* is key. Inconsistent watering can lead to split pods or poor yields.

Pest and Disease Management

Common pests include aphids, beetles, and weevils. Monitor your plants regularly.

A healthy plant is less susceptible to pests and diseases.

Use organic insecticidal soap or neem oil for infestations. Rotate crops to minimize disease risk.

Harvesting and Storage

Kidney beans are typically harvested once the pods are dry on the plant. Listen for a rattling sound in the pods.

  1. Harvest in the morning when pods are dry.
  2. Shell beans and allow to dry further if needed.
  3. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

I’ve found that proper storage extends the shelf life significantly, preserving that rich flavor you worked hard for.

Trust the process and enjoy the results! Each step is a labor of love that pays off with a bountiful harvest.


1. When is the best time to plant kidney beans?

The best time to start growing kidney beans is after the last frost in spring.

2. How deep should I plant kidney bean seeds?

Plant kidney bean seeds 1-1.5 inches deep in loose soil.

3. How much sunlight do kidney beans need?

Kidney beans require full sun for at least 6-8 hours a day.

4. What type of soil is ideal for kidney beans?

Well-draining, loamy soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 is perfect for growing kidney beans.

5. How often should I water kidney bean plants?

Water kidney bean plants thoroughly once a week, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.

6. Do kidney beans require any fertilizers?

Fertilize kidney beans with a balanced organic fertilizer during planting and then again when they start flowering.

7. How long does it take for kidney beans to grow?

Kidney beans typically take 70-110 days to reach maturity and be ready for harvest.

8. How can I support the growth of kidney bean plants?

Provide trellises or stakes for the kidney bean plants to climb and keep them off the ground.

Kidney beans have a host of benefits when it comes to both cooking and gardening. They are easy to grow and require minimal maintenance, usually taking only 8-10 weeks to go from seed to harvest. Kidney beans are also exceptionally rich in B vitamins, magnesium, and iron and provide high levels of healthy dietary fiber. Additionally, they are full of antioxidants, making them a valuable addition to any meal or pantry.

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