If you like green beans, you’re going to love the prolific topcrop bush bean. It has been around since 1950 when it was introduced by the US Department of Agriculture as a more flavorful and disease-resistant green bean.
Read on to learn more about how you can put this bean in your diet and in your garden.
Getting to Know the Topcrop Bush Bean
The topcrop bush bean will grow nearly anywhere in the United States, with the exception of the upper northeastern and upper midwestern parts of the country.
Its straight, stringless beans, each stretching to six inches or more in length, grow in heavy concentrations on plants that reach 18 inches high.
A Great Way to Get Your Veggies
While some fussy cooks rate the topcrop bush bean as mediocre, it’s viewed in many quarters as meaty and flavorful.
A big plus for this green bean variety is that it is acknowledged as great for canning, freezing or preparing straight from the plant or the grocery store. That diversity makes it a year-round choice for the dinner table.
Using the Topcrop Bush Bean in Home Cooking
The topcrop bush bean can add an easy and nutritious touch of flavor to dinnertime. And happily, they need not be relegated only to Thanksgiving’s green bean casserole.
There are numerous ways to prepare this green bean, from baking to sauteing to grilling. There are a host of recipes for them, from combinations with other vegetables to pickling them to featuring them with garlic and other enhancements.
For a complete look at how versatile the topcrop bush bean can be in the kitchen, check out these green bean recipes from the Taste of Home website.
Snacking on the Topcrop Bush Bean
Outside of mealtime, the topcrop bush bean can be dehydrated to become a healthy alternative to potato chips.
Dried green beans can be bought at many grocery stores, but you can also do it yourself at home. All it takes is steaming the beans and then placing them in the oven. The process does, however, take several hours.
Kids, Eat Your Beans
As with lots of other vegetables, getting youngsters to eat the topcrop bush bean can be a challenge. One way, though, is to roast them, giving them a bit of crunch like a snack food.
Health Benefits of the Topcrop Bush Bean
Green beans like the topcrop bush bean are an important energy food. They are loaded with iron, which is a part of your body’s red blood cells. Those cells are essential for transporting oxygen through the body.
Also importantly, green beans act as a diuretic and can help in efficiently removing any toxins from the body.
Additionally, this green bean variety is among the vegetables that contain flavonoids, which have considerable anti-inflammatory properties. Among other things, flavonoids can help forestall dangerous blood clots.
Where to Buy Topcrop Bush Beans
Because they grow just about anywhere, the topcrop bush bean likely will be readily available at your local grocery store.
But to be sure you’re getting this particular bean, you’ll want to talk with the store’s produce manager, who should be able to tell you about the available bean varieties.
A better source for ensuring that you’re getting the authentic and versatile bean likely will be your local farmers’ market.
While at the market, don’t miss the chance to talk with the person who actually grew the beans to learn how they got to you from the field.
Grow Your Own Topcrop Bush Beans
Of course, the best way to ensure you’re getting the freshest possible topcrop bush beans is to grow them yourself, either from seeds or as a young plant. Happily, bringing in a crop is a relatively simple endeavor.
Where to Buy Plants or Seeds
As always, the best place to find plants or seeds for your home garden is your local garden center. But if you have trouble finding topcrop bush bean plants or seeds locally, you can easily find them online.
Be aware that they’re sometimes listed as “top crop” bush beans by retailers.
How and Where to Plant Topcrop Bush Beans
Whether you’re starting out with seeds or plants, you’ll need a spot with plenty of sun if you want a bumper crop of this versatile green bean. Put your seeds or plants in the ground only after the danger of frost has passed, and in just couple of months, you’ll have beans.
Growing the topcrop bean from seeds rather than plants will require some additional steps. Initially, place seeds an inch apart, no deeper than 1.5 inches into the soil, and be sure to keep the ground moist.
After the plants emerge from the ground, and once you see leaves formed, thin them out so plants are spaced at least two inches apart.
You can apply a nitrogen fertilizer to your plants, but one of the good things about growing them on your own is that they don’t need particularly fertile soil in which to thrive.
Watch Out for These Pests!
While topcrop bush bean plants don’t need a lot of fussy care to produce a good crop, there are pests for which home gardeners should be on the lookout.
Aphids, insects commonly found in home gardens, can be a problem for the topcrop green bean variety. Also potentially problematic are slugs and snails.
If you spot insect pests on your plants, you can simply remove them, and drown them in soapy water. Other ways to deal with infestations include removing deformed bean pods, or pods containing holes, from the plants.
Beyond those pests, this bean is susceptible to the common mosaic virus, along with fungal and bacterial infections.
There are a number of fungicides that can help with these sorts of problems, but there also is a pre-emptive measure you can take. Increasing the space between plants, improving airflow among them, can improve conditions in your bean patch.
Enjoy Topcrop Bush Beans in Your Kitchen!
We hope this post has given you some insights into how to grow the topcrop bush bean and how to prepare it for your table.
Want to learn more about beans? Visit our bean plants page to discover more about beans!