What You Need To Know About Growing Pole Beans With Or Instead of Bush Beans

Pole beans are quite useful plants in the small garden.

They can be used as a fast growing hedge plant that will climb up and cover a trellis or fence. They provide beans for fresh eating and the best thing of all is that the bean flowers are quite attractive in their own right. A climber for privacy that provides both veggies and flowers for the gardener. What more can you ask?

Yellow Pole Beans

Yellow pole beans growing up a concrete reinforcing wire trellis

Important Note

The only thing to note here is that pole beans really have to be grown up a trellis or pole or some form of support.

If you try to grow them on the ground, they will wind around each other in a form of plant wrestling that will see them choke each other to death.

Keep the support to a height you can harvest, by August the beans should be pretty well up to the top of a six foot pole and hanging down over the tops. If you give them taller poles, harvesting becomes a bit of a problem.

How much seed to plant?

Well figure that a hill (you plant them in a small circle of slightly raised ground called a hill) contains 3 plants.

Two ounces of seed will give you approximately 25 hills.

Estimate around one pound of harvested beans per hill. Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less depending on the season, fertility levels and the amount of rain you get.

Growing Tips

Sow the seed as soon as the ground warms up and the last frost is done.

Plant 5 to 6 beans in each hill but when they germinate and start to grow, thin the hill to only the 3 strongest plants.

Remember what I said about wrestling matches? If you try to grow too many plants in too small a supporting system, the same thing will happen. They'll strangle each other instead of producing beans (this plant has never learned how to play with its closest neighbours).

Yes, this bean wants full sun just like other beans.

It does like well-drained locations and a soil high in compost will give you great beans.

If you haven't graduated to organic gardening yet but insist on using chemical fertilizers, do so very carefully on pole beans. While other vegetables can handle a little too much fertilizer, pole beans will simply burn up.

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As with many other garden vegetables, it is generally recommended that you NOT weed pole beans when the plants are wet or when the dew is still on the plants. This tends to spread moisture from plant to plant and with that moisture some very tough diseases could spread as well. Wait until the sun dries things off to work your plants.

Use them like any other bean.

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