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How to sow and grow bacon beans

These bacon beans produce delicious 20 cm-long green beans with fairly broad, flat pods. This variety grows more than 2 meters tall, so let it climb up a trellis. You'll get a lot of juicy beans.

The more you pick, the longer you harvest.
Spekbonen in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Bacon bean

What are bacon beans?

Bacon beans are part of the legume family. 

They look like a cross between string beans and green beans. The pods are at least as long as string beans, but as firm and rounded as common green beans - though they're also thicker. They taste like green beans, but sweeter.
You can harvest early or you can wait to harvest the pods when the beans inside are plump. Then the bacon beans are tougher and you cook them longer. 

Bacon beans and your health

Bacon beans contain some vitamin B11 (folate), C, and K and lots of carotenes like lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin. They work as antioxidants to help prevent inflammation and diseases like type 2 diabetes. 

Bacon beans are also rich in potassium and magnesium and super high in fiber, which is good for our gut bacteria. 

And calories? Hardly any 🙂
Spekbonen en snijbonen uit de Makkelijke Moestuin
Left: bacon beans. Right: Romano pole beans

More about our bacon beans

These delicious bacon beans produce long, juicy beans: the tastiest green beans you can grow. The more you pick the longer you harvest.
  • Species name: Neckarköningin
  • Family: legume
  • Plants per square patch: 8 along your trellis
  • Height: 200 cm and up
  • Sowing time: May and June
  • Sowing depth: 2 to 3 cm
  • Germination: 21°C in 7-10 days
  • Time to harvest: after 9-10 weeks
  • Sunlight: full sun
Want to buy bacon beans? We sell seed bags separately, or, you can get them as part of a seed pack: 

What do you need to grow your own bacon beans?

Just this:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, nutrient-rich soil mix
  • bacon bean seeds
  • a spot with at least 4 hours of sunlight a day
  • a trellis or something similar for the plants to grow on
In other words: an MM-Mini, or a square patch in one of our garden boxes, an MM-Klimrek trellis, and MM-Mix.

Growing your own bush beans is easy with the MM-Mix. If you grow in low-quality (potting) soil, disappointment is pretty much guaranteed. So don't skimp on soil mix: go for the best.
Bacon beans growing up a trellis

How do you sow and grow bacon beans?

Bacon beans are included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each plant goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next.

So you don't need to know how to grow beans before you start: the app takes you through every step.
But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the process looks like:
Kleine spekbonen aan het klimrek
A young bacon bean

Level 1: Pre-sow bacon beans

Beans need a lot of heat to germinate. If it's just a little cold or rainy outside, the seedlings won't sprout or they'll be weak when they do.

So, pre-sow your beans indoors in a pot with equal parts MM-Mix and vermiculite.
Spekbonen voorkiemen in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Pre-sprouting bacon beans

Level 2 and 3: Sowing bacon beans

As soon as the seedlings are visible, transfer them to a square patch in your vegetable garden box. 

Here's how:
  • make 2 trenches of about 5 cm deep: 1 in front of and 1 behind the trellis
  • scoop the seedlings out of the pot with a spoon
  • plant the 4 best seedlings in each trench
  • carefully cover the trenches with soil mix
Now you have a bean patch 🙂 

In a week or so, you should see something come up. It depends a bit on the weather. 

If it's still cold out, you can cover the patch with a crop cover like the MM-Muts or a few plastic containers. These help keep in the heat and keep out birds and snails.
Voorgekiemde spekbonen planten in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Bean plants coming up strong

Level 4: Taking care of your plants

After a week or 2, your seedlings have already become small plants.

They'll grow quite fast in the coming weeks. You don't have to do much about that, nice and easy 🙂 

Level 5: Guide your plants up the trellis

Once the tendrils have found the trellis, they'll wrap themselves around it and climb up.

In a few weeks, the first flowers and pods appear. Then it's time for the next level.

Level 6: Harvesting the first bacon beans

About 9 to 10 weeks after sowing, you can harvest the first beans.

By harvesting early, the plants produce more flowers. More flowers mean more beans.

It's normal for the leaves to turn a little yellow and get uglier, especially around the bottom of the plant.
De eerste spekbonen zijn klaar om te oogsten in de Makkelijke Moestuin
The first beans

How do you harvest and use bacon beans?

Cut the bean pods from the plants when they're about 20 cm long. I use scissors so I don't damage the beans.

Never eat bacon beans raw, always cook them.

Cook them just like green beans: you can boil or stir fry them. Briefly cooked and cooled, they are also delicious in salads. 

Where I'm from, we leave bacon beans hanging longer, until the beans themselves have thickened. Then you have to cook them longer. It's not for everyone, but we like it.
Oogstbare spekbonen in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Harvest-ready bacon beans

The last levels

Keep harvesting your bacon beans until there's none left. By harvesting a lot early, you extend your harvest. The plants produce more flowers, and more flowers mean more beans. 

You can keep this up until October.
Spekbonen kan je blijven oogsten tot oktober
You can harvest bacon beans until fall
The plants may grow high above the trellis. No worries: just guide them to the side or below.

Bean plants can't handle cold weather. Then the leaves get ugly and brown, and the flowers stop blooming. 

Then it's time for the last level: empty your patch and get ready to sow something new.
Bacon beans grow taller than the trellis

So: want to grow your own bacon beans?

It's a tasty vegetable with a huge yield per square patch. Plus: with our materials and with help from the app, you can't go wrong 😉

Get your bacon bean seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:

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