Pole beans, also known as runner beans, are quick-growing plants that can be grown over fences and trellises, or up poles in the garden to save space. Pole beans are similar to bush beans in many ways; both types of beans grow from bushes or vines and produce large yields of flavorful green beans, but pole beans have several distinct advantages over bush beans when it comes to planting and growing them in your garden. In this article, you’ll learn how to plant pole beans and grow them successfully so you can enjoy fresh green beans all summer long!
I currently reside in a townhouse neighborhood and have a vegetable plot in a nearby community garden. Because space is limited, I am always seeking methods to expand my growing area. Pole beans are an excellent technique to develop a large number of plants in a short space.
What are Pole Beans, exactly?
Beans are endemic to Central and South America (Phaseolus vulgaris). Bush beans are little bushy plants that grow up to 2 feet tall, while pole beans are vines that grow 10 to 15 feet long and are trained up poles or other supports. Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), such as the scarlet runner bean and yardlong beans, are sometimes referred to as “pole beans” (Vigna unguiculata subsp. Sesquipedalis). Half-runner beans are in the middle, reaching 3 to 10 feet in length.
Pole beans develop faster than bush beans. Within 50–55 days of planting, they begin to yield. Pole beans take a bit longer to mature, taking 55–65 days after planting to produce beans.
Bush beans yield fewer beans over a longer period of time than pole beans. Bush bean plants will yield their beans all at once unless you stagger your plantings. Pole beans normally take around a month to yield their beans.
What exactly is nitrogen fixation?
Beans, regardless of their shape, are nitrogen-fixing plants. That implies plants can manufacture nitrogen on their own without the need for fertilizer. They are able to do so because of bacteria that live on their roots and can collect nitrogen from the air and transform it into a form that plants can utilize. Photosynthesis, the process by which plants make “food,” requires nitrogen.
Beans are a good crop to follow heavy feeders (which consume a lot of nitrogen) like pumpkins or tomatoes if you adopt crop rotation. The beans will replenish the soil’s nitrogen levels, which were reduced by the previous year’s harvest.
Pole Bean Planting Instructions
Install your trellis or tepee before planting your beans. If you attempt to do it after your beans have begun to develop, you will end up damaging the delicate roots. If you’re utilizing tepees, leave 3 to 4 feet between them. Your vines should be supported by something 6 to 8 feet tall.
Pinch off the tops of the vines as they reach the tops of your supports if you want additional beans. This will motivate the plants to focus their efforts on producing beans rather than developing longer vines.
Pole beans should be planted directly in the garden. It’s not a good idea to start them indoors since their roots dislike being disturbed. It’s possible that transplanting bean seedlings will destroy them.
Plant your seeds when the soil temperature reaches 70°F in the spring. In cooler soil, germination will take longer. Germination takes place best at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I wait till the end of May or the beginning of June in my zone 6 New Jersey garden for my soil to warm up sufficiently for my beans.
Plant your seeds 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart at the base of your trellis if you’re using one.
In 8 to 10 days, the seeds should germinate. If your soil is too cold, it might take two weeks or more.
Pole Beans: How to Grow Them
Pole beans need direct sunlight. Your vines’ output will be reduced if they are partially shaded. Beans like soil that is rich, well-drained, and somewhat acidic, with a pH of 6.0–6.8. Beans don’t need fertilizer since they manufacture their own nitrogen.
If you must water by hand, use a long-handled watering wand to ensure that you are watering at the soil level. Avoid using a sprinkler or watering from above.
After the plants have developed their second set of genuine leaves, cover them with a heavy layer of mulch. Mulch will keep the soil wet while also preventing weeds from competing with your plants.
Flowers should appear two months after the seeds are planted. On most pole beans, they are white. The blossoms on runner beans are generally more vibrant.
Pole Bean Harvesting Techniques
Pole beans are simpler to pick than bush beans since they do not need bending over. You may pick them while standing since they grow on supports. Your beans should be ready to harvest approximately 2 months after you plant them, depending on the type you’re growing.
When the sugar levels in your beans are high in the morning, harvest them. Pulling or snapping the beans from the vines is an option, but be cautious not to harm the plants. To avoid injuring the plants, I like to snip the beans from the vines using my pruners.
Every day, go out into your garden and gather your beans. The more you choose, the bigger it becomes!
How to Keep Pole Beans Freshly Harvested
Freshly collected beans may be kept for four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They get more difficult after that. They may also be blanched and frozen for up to a year.