As summer progresses there are fewer warm-season crops that you will be able to plant and still have a dependable harvest. A late planting of beans is one crop you can usually plant in mid-summer and still get a harvest.
A late planting of beans
When putting in a late planting of beans you need to keep a couple of things in mind.
1. The days to maturity of the variety you have chosen.
2. The declining amount of sun as you move towards fall.
What varieties to choose for a late planting of beans
In order to be successful with a late planting you really need to have at least 75 days until your first real threat of frost.
This also means you need to choose varieties that have a pretty short maturity date. Green beans will really be your only choice for a late planting of beans. And I would recommend that you choose bush varieties, not pole beans.
Bush beans spend a lot less time growing plant material and seem to just get into the business of growing beans a lot quicker. There are a lot of tasty varieties of bush beans that have maturity dates right around 60 days. I would suggest choosing one of these varieties. To learn more about growing green beans check out my complete guide to green beans!
Declining sunlight as fall approaches
One thing to keep in mind when planting beans later is the declining amount of sunlight as fall approaches. In mid-summer, we hardly even think about shorter days. But as your late planting of beans progresses day-length will become an issue. Be sure to add at least 10 days to your maturity date before deciding what varieties to plant and when.
Choosing the latest date for planting
As a warm-weather vegetable beans are very sensitive to frost. So the planting date you choose for your late planting of beans needs to be based on your average first frost date.
Find the days to maturity for the bean you have chosen on the back of your seed package. In the case of the variety, I’m planting this year the days to maturity is 60. Add 10 days to that number to account for the declining sunlight 60+10=70.
So my beans need at least 70 days to mature. My average first frost date is October 1st. So counting back 70 days gives me July 20th. So my absolute drop-dead date for planting beans is July 20th. But I want a little time for the plants to develop a good-sized harvest so just for good measure I add another 10 days. So my goal is to in my late planting of beans by July 10th. In my area, this is really as late as I can go.
So now find your own last frost date and count backward at least 70 days and you will find when you can plant your beans.
A late planting of beans is a great way to fill some empty space in your summer garden. Smaller bush bean plants fit well into a mature garden and are a great option for rounding out your summer garden.