Beans (Types and Uses)
If you are new to gardening, then you may be unaware of the many different types and uses for beans. You really need to know what you want to use your beans for, how you want them to grow, and how you are going to process them before you order your seed.
Many bean varieties are runner beans or pole beans. This means that they will grow very large as vines, and need to be staked or trellised. You can also purchase bush beans that are much shorter and do not need staking.
Stringless or not?
If you read your seed information, the stringless varieties will boast about their lack of strings. If the seed packet does not mention whether or not it is a stringless variety, it probably is not. If you would like to eat the bean whole like a traditional wax bean or green bean, then you definitely want a stringless variety. Otherwise, you will have the added labor of removing the strings on each bean before you eat it. If you are planning to leave the beans on the vine to dry to use as a bean for soups or baking, then the string doesn’t matter, as the pod will need to be opened anyway.
Stringless yellow wax bean Young bush type bean plants
Wax or baking?
Your wax beans are typically for eating fresh and whole, although if you wait too long on the vine to eat your wax beans the can become tough. Your baking or drying beans typically are not great fresh, as they can be tough and stringy, but they are great for drying and cooking. These beans are typically left on the vine until the pods start to open on their own. At this point, you can harvest the dried beans to be used in soups and baking.
“Calypso” or “Yin and Yang” baking type beans Soybean plant
Soybeans are slightly different than wax or baking type beans. With soybeans, the pod is not edible, but you can eat the bean seeds fresh, or they can be dried. I prefer to eat them fresh. This is referred to as edamame.