How To Grow Pole Beans And Have This Delicious And Healthy Vegetable At Your Table Every Day

As you might have noticed in my recent posts, I’m all about beans recently. There are so many of these available, and I’m dedicated to cover them all. What there is to know about pole beans?

Let’s find out!

Pole beans are a tender vegetable and a great addition to any garden. The main difference between pole and bush beans is the plants’ growing styles: pole beans will vine and need to grow more compactly, and they need to be grown up trellises or stakes, while bush beans tend to grow more compactly and do not require support.

Many people, including me, feel that pole beans have a richer flavor than bush beans. The effort of trellising them is repaid by the ease of picking, and their abundant and extended harvest. They are also an excellent choice for small gardens, just because they use vertical space.

We grow pole beans because they are my boys’ favorite vegetable, and in this article, I will show you how to grow this exciting and delicious plant. It also includes natural, step by step instructions for growing pole beans and how to save seed from pole beans.

And don’t worry, i will keep it short, simple and understandable, as always!

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Origins Of Pole Beans

Pole Beans

Let’s bring up some interesting facts about the history of the bean crop, shall we? This veggie originated in South and Central America, and there is evidence that it has been cultivated in Peru and Mexico for thousands of years.

Christopher Columbus introduced the crop to the Mediterranean region in 1492, and by the 17th century, it was cultivated all around Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Nowadays, it is an important crop virtually everywhere!

Characteristics Of Pole Beans

Pole Beans

Both commercial growers and home gardeners stand to benefit from pole beans. Let’s get into the advantages to these vining types over the bush beans:

  • Pole beans have a longer harvest window
  • Pole bean flavor is far better than the best bush beans- they are starchier and sweeter
  • Pole beans can be harvested upright, giving your back a break!
  • Pole beans yield more beans and are very disease resistant, compared to bush beans

The main disadvantage over the bush beans is that the cost investment and the initial time needed to grow pole beans is higher than it is for bush beans because one needs to set up a trellis system.

Recommended Pole Beans Varieties

Pole Beans varieties

Many of my grower friends and I grow the flat-pod organic Notheaster, although I have seen the round fillet beans like Carminat (purple), Fortex (green) and Monte Gusto (yellow) do quite well and develop a considerable following in the markets.

My favorite is Emerite pole beans, which are a French heirloom. These beans are great over a range of sizes. They have to be overgrown to get chewy and tough, so if few beans are missed during one picking, the odds are that they will still be good at the next.

I got my seeds from my mother, who got them from my uncle, and I have been saving seeds each year.

If you would like to try purple beans, which can be easier to find when picking, I suggest Purple Podded Pole Beans. The yield is not quite as high as the Emerites, but they are a solid producer.

I suggest you try them all and decide which is best for your garden or farm.

Preparing The Soil And Growing Tips

Growing

Grow pole beans in a container or garden bed

Full sun is best, but plants will tolerate light shade. The best soil pH is about 6.5-7.5 (neutral soil). Beans like phosphorus and potassium, but I suggest you avoid excess nitrogen.

Plant outside, when the soil has reached 60℉

They can be sprouted inside to get a jump start, but beans don’t transplant well. Ask any school kid who has started one in science class only to bring it home to the garden to plant and die.

Plant pole seeds 1”deep (2.5 cm)

Pole bean plant spacing

If you want to grow them around pole or pyramid, try four plants per hill/pole, with hills around 18 inches apart. Just don’t be fooled by the tiny size of the seeds. When they are appropriately cared for, these magnificent plants will get huge!

I prefer planting a double row- one row on each side of the trellis. A second double row can be planted three to four feet away, so you have room to move between them for picking.

Pole bean seeds should germinate in 7 to 10 days

Watering needs

Soil should be damp (never soggy) at planting. Keep the pole beans moist while they are growing, and make sure to provide plenty of water when they start producing. If the plants get too dry, they will stop making beans.

Harvest pole beans every 2-3 days

If you leave mature beans on the vine too long, the plant thinks that its job is done and will stop setting fruit. Do not forget to make sure they get at least an inch of water per week if rains fail! No water-no beans!

Pole Bean Care, Pest And Diseases

Caring

Do I fertilize my beans? No! Please do not over fertilize your beans, as too much nitrogen will give you lush leaves and very few beans. Beans are modest feeders, and like all other legumes can help improve the soil by creating their nitrogen from the air (Nitrogen is the “N” in NPK fertilizers).

There is just one trick with this - it is not the beans that make the nitrogen, it is the bacteria that live on their roots. Without nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil, the bacteria cannot colonize the plant roots, and your beans will struggle.

If you have been successful growing beans, try a microbial inoculant when you plant. It is the black powder which you coat your seeds with before planting or a powder that is added to the planting trench that contains the needed bacteria. Other than that, some well-aged manure or compost in your planting area and you should be good to go!

Most common diseases that attack the beans are Alternaria leaf spot and Anthracnose (fungal diseases). Soils with nitrogen and potassium deficient soils are more susceptible, so plant beans in fertile soil. Fungicide application may also be required.

Bean rust is also a fungal disease - the spores spread from one field to another by air. The best way to prevent this is to grow resistant varieties. And if the crops are already infected, you should destroy the infected debris.

As for pests, expect the usual: aphids, armyworms, corn earworms and cutworms. If pest population is limited to just a few shoots or leaves, then the infestation can be pruned out to provide control.If the infestation is high, use insecticidal soaps or oils such as canola or neem oil.

How Do I Save Pole Bean Seed?

Save Pole Bean Seed

To save pole bean seed for replanting, they must be fully mature. That is, they should ripen and dry on the vine. As a northern grower, my season is relatively short, so I designate the end of a row for seed, and that area isn’t harvested from during the season. However, southern growers might be able to pick once or twice and still be able to let a later crop mature.

To save bean seed, you have to:

  • Keep different bean types at least ten feet apart.
  • To maintain a healthy gene pool, at least thirty plants should be saved for seed. However, this can be difficult in small gardens. I suggest getting your friends to grow the same variety and swap seeds.
  • Allow beans to dry and mature entirely on the vine.
  • Pick dry bean pods and remove seeds from hulls. Allow to dry thoroughly in open tray for about a week, and after that, store in an airtight container. Make sure that your seeds are totally dry before storage.

Conclusion 

To recap- plant pole beans in warm soil with microbial inoculant. Do not us much fertilizer. Get your trellis up while the beans are small. Water them deeply, and pick them up every two to three days.
And keep in mind that every food you grow is far better than the one you buy, so enjoy!

I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any bean growing questions or tips, leave a comment and share them in the comment section below.

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