• Growing pole beans is a bit more labor intensive than growing bush beans (due to the fact they need to be trellised)
  • Most gardeners agrees that if you’re growing pole beans you’ll produce a finer tasting, tender bean over a longer period of time than you would with bush beans

WHEN TO PLANT

  • Pole Beans can be planted directly into the soil in the spring when soil temperatures reach 60F.

WHERE TO PLANT

  • Pole Beans do best in a sunny location with well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

PREPARING THE SOIL

  • For nutrient rich, well-drained soil, mix compost thoroughly into the soil as beans do not grow well in heavy soil
  • Beans do well even when nitrogen levels are low
  • Adding well-composted manure will increase production
  • P (phosphorus) and K (potassium) levels can be moderate and pH levels can be as low as 5.0
  • Ideal growth will occur at pH 6.0.

SEEDS AND GERMINATION

  • Presoaking is not necessary when planting beans
  • Presoaking in compost tea for 25 minutes can help the seed against disease
  • If you choose to pre-soak for sprouting purposes, be careful as the bean sprout is delicate and you could damage the root
  • Beans take approximately 7-10 days to germinate
  • The use of row covers will accelerate the germination process by helping to maintain the correct soil temperature
  • Bean seeds remain viable for 3 years

GETTING STARTED INDOORS (and transplanting)

  • Beans generally do not transplant well
  • If your area has a short growing season try starting them indoors in peat pots 4 weeks before your last frost date
  • Pole beans take longer to mature than bush beans (10-11 weeks)
  • Pole beans germinate in approximately 14 days

SOWING AND GROWING (Planting seeds directly into the garden)

  • Plant the first crop at least 2 weeks after last expected frost
  • The air temperature should be about 70°F
  • Pole beans are particularly sensitive to cold
  • Row spacing 3’-4’
  • Plant double or triple rows (for trellising) at 1’
  • Seeds depth 2”
  • Plant spacing 10″
  • When using a teepee structure, plant hills 3’-5’ apart, and sow 6-8 seeds per hill, later thinning plants to 3-4 per hill
  • Set your supports directly after young plants appear
  • To increase bean production (up to 3X that of bush beans), train your pole beans
  • Maintain bean health by using a good liquid organic leaf spray every 14 days.

WATERING

  • Be careful not to over-water seeds
  • Soggy, cold soil will cause your seeds to rot before they have a chance to germinate
  • Pole beans prefer an increasing water supply throughout the growing season
  • Keep water levels low at planting, moderate at flowering, and heavy during production

COMPANION PLANTING / ROTATION

  • Crops such as corn benefit from the nitrogen-fixing qualities of beans
  • When beans are rotated after corn they provide an excellent nitrogen amendment after corn’s heavy summer usage
  • Bad companions include cabbage, onion family, kohlrabi and sunflower
  • Rotation of crops: Follow corn; don’t follow peas, or bush beans

WHEN TO HARVEST

  • Picking beans begins when beans are tender
  • Harvest beans when no larger than a pencil
  • Seeds should not yet be seen forming inside the pod
  • Harvesting daily encourages a greater harvest
  • The more you pick, the more you get, and the longer your growing season

STORAGE

  • Refrigeration gives beans a week of freshness
  • Once production passes your consumption you may preserve your beans by canning, pickling, or freezing

COMMON PESTS AND PROBLEMS

  • Pest and problems in Pole Beans are varied
  • Most problems with beans are avoided when the soil is loosened via composted material and properly pH balanced
  • Contact your county extension for specific information for your area

SAVING SEEDS

  • Beans are self-pollinating . Some growers claim that beans and other legumes can be planted side by side and not cross-pollinate, while others have experienced up to 25% cross-pollination
  • The percentage of cross-pollination depends on a number of factors: pollen-carrying insect population (such as bees), the quantity of nectar sources in the area, and the type of flower on the bean plant (larger flowers attract more pollinating insects)
  • To be safe, do not plant bean varieties right next to each other especially in desert and mountainous areas where pollen sources are sparse
  • Harvest seeds when the pods turn brown and the seeds rattle inside. The pods should be dry enough to break open and the seeds fall free
  • If you have a rainy spell and your beans need to dry, cut the whole plant off at the ground and hang them upside down in a warm place to dry
  • When drying is complete, put the shelled beans in an air tight, or lidded container and store in a dry, cool place for next years planting. They should keep up to 3 years

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