The Q&A Archives: Poor Flavor of Beans

Question: I planted two 20-foot rows of green bush beans this season. I am happy with the size of the harvest, but am unhappy with the flavor of these beans. They are not bitter, but they are definitely not sweet. In fact, they just don't have much flavor at all. I harvest every two days and try not to let them get overgrown. I am planning a second planting; is there anything I can do to make the beans have more flavor?

Answer: I think one of the reasons there are so many different varieties of beans available is because everyone's taste is different. Some beans varieties are described as tasting very "beany," while others are considered more mild-tasting. You may want to try several different varieties and see if you prefer one over the others. Consider planting some pole beans as well--some of the older, "heirloom" varieties may have a stronger flavor. Stress (lack of water, excessive heat) can also affect the taste and texture of beans.

To get plants off to a good start, prepare the soil prior to planting by working in lots of organic matter to help retain moisture and make root penetration easy. Plan to supply 1-inch of water per week, supplementing natural rainfall if necessary. After the plants are up and growing, mulch with organic matter to suppress weed growth and reduce moisture evaporation. Most bush bean plants will produce within 60 days of planting; pole beans may take a little longer.

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