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How to sow and grow butter beans

Our butter bean plants produce lots of long, tasty, tender beans. This compact green bean is actually yellow 🙂

It has a creamy taste and softer flavor than other green beans.
Boterboontjes in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Butter bean

What are butter beans?

Butter beans - or wax beans - are pale yellow green beans with a creamy, buttery flavor.

This variety produces lots of tender stringless beans in bunches of 4 or 5. They're best when they're about 13-14 cm long.

In France, butter beans are more popular than green beans and are eaten more often. You don't see them as much in the Netherlands. That's why we grow our own 😉 The good news is: that's not hard to do.

Butter beans: full of antioxidants and fiber

Butter beans don't have a lot of vitamins and minerals, but they do contain tons of carotenes: lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin.

They also are an antioxidant, which helps prevent inflammation and diseases like type 2 diabetes. Flavonoids in butter beans - like quercetin, kaempferol, and catechins - enhance their antioxidant properties even more. 

Butter beans are also high in fiber, which feeds our gut bacteria. 

And calories? Hardly any 🙂
Boterboontjes: vol anti-oxidanten en andere gezonde stoffen
Super healthy butter beans

More about our butter beans

This variety is a compact yellow green been, with lots of tender stringless beans in bunches of 4 to 5. Harvest them around 13 cm long: that's when they're tastiest.

  • Species name: Minidor
  • Family: legume
  • Plants per square patch: 9
  • Height: 40-50 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 8-9 weeks
  • Sunlight: full sun

You can find butter bean seed bags sold separately in the shop, or as part of our Seasonal packet:

What do you need to grow your own butter beans?

Just this:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, nutrient-rich soil mix
  • butter bean seeds
  • a spot with at least 8 hours of sunlight a day
In other words: an MM-Mini, or a square patch in 1 of our garden boxes, filled with MM-Mix.

Growing your own butter 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.
Boterboontjes in een Planty
Butter beans in an MM-Mini

How to sow and grow butter beans?

Butter 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 butter 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:

Level 1: Pre-sowing butter 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 stay fragile.

So, germinate your butter beans indoors in a pot with equal parts MM-Mix and vermiculite.
Boterboontjes binnen voorzaaien Makkelijke Moestuin
Pre-sowing butter beans indoors

Level 2 and 3: Sowing butter beans

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

Here's how:
  • poke 9 large holes in the square patch: 3 to 5 cm deep
  • scoop the seedlings out of the pot with a spoon
  • plant 1 seedling in each hole
  • cover up the holes carefully 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 them 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.
Gekiemde boterbonen planten in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Butter beans sprouting and ready for the garden box

Level 4: Taking care of your plants

Now your seedlings will become small plants. 

You hardly need to do anything. Just make sure they get enough water and remove any weeds. They'll grow all on their own. Easy 🙂 

Level 5: Give your butter beans a support rack

A mini-trellis will keep your plants from growing outside the square patch. It's easy: just fold some garden wire fencing over the patch. 

It's not really necessary for an MM-Mini: it doesn't matter if the bean plants spill out over the sides.

Another week or 2 and the first flowers will appear. Then it's time for the next level.
Steun boterboontjes in de Makkelijke Moestuinbakmet een rekje
Support your butter beans with a rack

Level 6: Flowering butter beans

See your first yellow flowers? The beans will soon grow from there.

Maybe now you can see the first beans emerging.
Bloeiende boterbootjes in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Fresh green leaves of the Chioggia beet

Level 7: Harvest the first butter beans

About 8 to 9 weeks after sowing, you can harvest the first beans.

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

It's normal for the leaves to turn a little yellow and get uglier, especially around the bottom of the plant.
De eerste boterboontjes zijn rijp om te plukken
The first butter beans are ready for picking

How do you harvest and use butter beans?

Cut the beans from the plants when they are 13 cm long and still a little greenish. That's when they taste best. I use scissors so I don't damage the beans.

There are lots of options for cooking butter beans. Most popular: boil butter beans briefly and eat them warm as a side dish. Or cool them quickly and add them to cold salads.

Butter beans are great in stir fries too. You can find recipes for butter bean quiches or bread if you feel creative 😉
Salade met o.a. boterboontjes uit de Makkelijke Moestuin
Salad with cooked and cooled butter beans

The last levels

Keep harvesting the butter beans until there's none left and you don't see any new flowers. This usually takes about 3 weeks. 

From 1 square patch, you can harvest tons of beans. 

For the last level, empty your bean patch and get it ready for the next round of sowing.

So, want to grow butter beans yourself?

Me too 😉 It's a tasty and healthy vegetable to have in your garden. Once the seedlings are strong, growing butter beans is a piece of cake.

Plus: our materials and the app make it pretty much impossible to fail.

Order your butter beans here or get started with a complete starter kit:

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