|'Hickman Snap' is an heirloom variety, with dry beans generally ready for harvest 90 days after sowing. These multi-colored beans appear in gray, brown, tan, black, white, and also in various pod-shapes, the longest 7 1/2 inches with 9 beans per pod, and the smallest a narrow 6 1/2 inches long. After growing this bean for several seasons, it sometimes degenerates into two separate types, but this does not compromise the flavor of the dried beans, which is of country smoked bacon, and is excellent when prepared with a liberal dose of sea salt.
This group of beans is a favorite for the home garden and can be grown just about anywhere because they have a relatively short growing season. They can be planted from seed as soon as the soil is warm (day temperatures are around 60 degrees Farenheit), in full sun and loose, well drained soil. Bush type beans are very easy to grow and manage, reaching a height of only 2 feet tall. To control harvest, bush beans can be planted every two weeks. To decide how many crops you can plant, divide your growing season by the maturation period of the variety you are planting.
When preparing soil, be sure not to mix in too much nitrogen (5-10-10 is best) or you will get all plant and no beans. 1 pound per 100 square feet is plenty. There is no need to soak beans prior to planting and no need to heavily water right after planting. If coat is cracked too early, germination may be poor. Beans should be planted about 1 inch deep and two inches apart, with rows at least 2 feet apart. Pole type beans should be planted at least 4 inches apart, 6 inches being better, and have rows 3 feet apart. Pole beans will require some type of trellising system, with the tee pee system working quite well. It is alright if beans are a little crowded, as they lend each other support, however, thinning to 4 inches is best.