News from the Research Desk

News from the Research Desk Blog

Beans: Bush, Pole, Snap, and Shell

The end of May is typically a great time to plant any type of bean in the northeast region of Illinois. Usually by this time, the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed sufficiently.

Generally, beans need to be grown in a location that receives full sun for at least 6 hours a day and can be grown successfully in most soil conditions. Successive plantings every 2-4 weeks until early August will provide a continuous harvest throughout the summer and early fall.


Plant seeds of all varieties one inch deep. Plant seeds of bush beans 2 to 4 inches apart in rows at least 18 to 24 inches apart. Plant seeds of pole beans 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart; or in hills (four to six seeds per hill) 30 inches apart, with 30 inches between rows.

University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow

Bush beans are the easiest to grow and the most common in home gardens. Pole beans must be supported so pods are off the ground and kept dry. There are many varieties that can be grown as green/snap beans and/or shell beans.

Beans are harvested in three different stages for cooking: they can be picked early when they are tender (green/snap beans); removed from fresh pods (shell beans); or left on the vine to dry (dried beans). Most bean varieties can be frozen and/or dried and stored for use throughout the year. Beans are a versatile vegetable and it’s no surprise that they are one of the most popular vegetables in home gardens.

For a selection of current magazines related to vegetable gardening (or any subject you can imagine!) check out our offerings from RB Digital.  You will need your current MPPL Library card number and PIN–then follow the instructions to get started.

If you need assistance with access or other questions, please contact us via Live Chat:; email:; or phone: 847-253-5675 or 224-210-5198 and leave a message–we’ll call you back.

Planting Out in the Garden

tomato seedlingMemorial Day weekend is the time to plant vegetable gardens for many home gardeners. Generally, the weather is favorable for planting warm weather vegetables, but each year’s specific conditions need to be considered individually.

Make sure seedling are hardened off and ready to go in the ground. There’s no harm in waiting a few days/week before planting to ensure proper timing, otherwise there’s a risk of damaging young seedlings if they are not ready or weather conditions are not ideal.  It’s best to plant on a cloudy day or later in the evening. Young seedlings can get stressed if planted during the heat of the day, especially if it is hot and sunny.

Handle plants with care. About an hour before transplanting, thoroughly water plants and soil in the containers (pots, bands, flats, etc.). Roots of plants in flats should be blocked out with a knife to get as much soil as possible with each root. Carefully remove plants without disturbing the roots. Keep a ball of soil around the roots. Keep the roots moist at all times when they are out of the soil.

University of Illinois Extension: Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide

For more information, please log in to the Web Resources page (MPPL card number and PIN required) and access Article Finder. There, you can search for current how-to gardening articles (try using the terms: “planting tomatoes,” or “vegetable gardening”).

If you need assistance with access or other questions, please contact us via Live Chat:; email:; or phone: 224-210-5198, if we don’t answer, please leave a message–we’ll call you back.

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