Growing pole beans saves space, makes picking easier and can be grown as green beans or dried beans.
Growing green beans in your backyard is a great way to add protein and fiber to your diet.
Green snap beans are the more practical choice for backyard gardens and are featured in this article.
If you have the room, try some dried varieties. Beans are a great source of nutrients and add bulk to any meal.
Beans are native to America and were cultivated by the Indians. Beans grown in Europe may have been of the Dolichos genus.
Although bush beans grow to 18 to 24 inches in height, climbing or pole beans can get to 8 to 10 feet in length in some of the drier climates.
Snap beans can be green, yellow and purple. Both snap and shell beans can be dried to use in baking but snap beans provide more eatable vegetable.
Nutrients in; a 3/4 cup (100 gm) of green beans contains the following:
Vitamin A 950 units
Vitamin B1 .060 mg
Vitamin B2 .100 mg
Vitamin C 8 mg
Phosphorus 50 mg
Calcium 55 mg
Iron 1.1 mg
Protien 2 gm
Experienced gardeners have their favorite variety of pole beans. Kentucky wonder is the number one variety and Blue Lake is next. I grow Blue Lake pole beans and try a couple of new ones each year.
So far Blue Lake Pole is my favorite variety as it is very prolific and provides beans into the fall, enough for eating and canning.
Beans and peas fix nitrogen in the soil, so use beans to rotate around your garden to enrich the soil for other vegetables. For example follow bean crops with corn the next year.
When your soil has warmed and can be worked, it’s time to prepare your growing spaces.
Here in Utah late April and early May is when the soil has dried enough to work. Work mulch and compost into your rows.
Pole beans need a support for their vines to grow on, a list of different supports are listed on the vertical gardening page.
I like to use pine furring strips. They are 7-8 feet long and inexpensive. The bean vines attach easily to the rough wood and slide off the poles in the fall when it is time to clear out the garden.
There are two ways to configure your furring strips; in a tepee or crossed with a top support.
I use 4 furring strips for each tepee or 3 strips in a tripod. Make rows 30 inches wide. Push two poles into the soil on one side of row and the other two poles on the other side of the row. Tie poles at the top to keep tops together.
Place each tepee 18 inches apart in rows. Make your rows 3-4 feet apart, wide enough to walk between the rows.
Beans are tender and don’t do well in wet cool weather or when transplanted.
Plant your pole beans when the day time temperatures reach the 50’s during the day and above freezing at night.
Bean seeds germinate in 4 to 7 days and mature in 75 to 80 days. If you want to can or freeze beans for winter eating, plant all at the same time.
If you want to have beans to eat through out the summer, plant each tepee a couple of weeks apart. If you keep your beans picked you will enjoy beans for 5-6 weeks.
Plant 4 bean seeds at the base of each pole. Poke a hole an inch deep and drop in a couple of seeds. Cover and water lightly. Beans grow quickly when the weather is in the 70’s and 80’s.
If you soil is rich your beans will not need extra fertilizer. Keep an eye on the young plants. If plants show signs of yellowing, side dress with a balanced vegetable fertilizer or compost tea.
When plants reach about 6-8 inches tall they will begin to send
out tendrils and reach for the poles. Keep your beans weed free by
mulching around plants and between rows after soil has warmed.
Flowing will start at the bottom of your plants and continue up to the top over the summer.
Pole beans will produce into the fall if harvested every other day.
Harvest when beans are almost full grown before the seed inside is fully developed.
Beans should snap and be succulent and juicy inside. There are lots of ways to cook your green beans.
Beans get tough and stringy when past their prime and the plant will shut down if beans are left to mature fully.
Store beans in a plastic bag placed in the refrigerator. Beans keep up to a week and are so good cooked fresh. When plants are done in the falls let the vines dry.
Clip string support at top of tripod and slide bean plants off the poles. Store the pole in a dry place during the winter. The poles will last for years if taken care of.