Pole beans are healthy and delicious, whether you enjoy a basic pot of southern-style pole beans or prefer beans for canning or drying. Not only that, but growing your own bean plants is easier than you think, even if you do not have a spacious yard. We show you how to plant pole beans from seed in the vegetable garden and ways to care for your plants for a bountiful harvest.
There is a wide range of pole beans, including snap beans with long, rounded pods and runner beans with flattened pods. Then, there are the heirloom types such as Kentucky Wonder, Scarlet Runner, Kentucky Blue, and Blue Lake Stringless Beans.
While they require some help to grow, pole beans are the perfect addition to the vegetable garden. Growing pole beans is a little different from bush beans since the plants take up less space. However, they are a vertical grower, and trellises or vertical supports are necessary.
Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Pole Beans
An upward growing habit makes pole beans easier to harvest while adding interest to the garden with flowering vines. Pole beans also have an extended crop period and yield nearly three times more than the bush varieties.
While planting pole beans takes a bit of patience since they need a little extra training to grow up a trellis or other structure; once you get them going, they fill the garden with tasty beans in no time at all. Other than using a support system, you can plant bush beans almost the same way.
A good bean crop provides you with five or more harvests during the growing season. The key to growing beans is to plant the seeds outdoors at the right time. Discover when to plant pole beans, what these beans love for healthy growth, and when to harvest your garden beans for the dinner table or storage.
How to Prepare for Planting Pole Beans
Unfortunately, planting pole beans is not as simple as just burying some seeds beneath the ground. These plants demand the right soil type and sunshine to flourish.
A support structure is also necessary for their vining growth. Here is how to prepare the garden for the best results from your bean plants.
Pole Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Just like all other plants, beans grow well under the right conditions. These plants prefer fertile soil, so it’s vital to fertilize the ground with organic matter before you plant pole beans.
They grow best in well-drained, moist dirt with moderate acidity and low salinity with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.5. They also love growing in full sun for six to eight hours a day, preferably when the temperatures are above 60°F.
There are many legumes and bean types, but pole beans, such as string beans, green beans, Emerite French Filet beans, Romano beans, and even some types of kidney beans, are pole beans varieties that require support to grow.
A trellis is the most popular for vine growing, but other structures are ideal candidates, too. Many garden centers carry teepee trellises, but these structures are easy to make yourself with some bamboo poles or sturdy sticks.
Whichever one you choose, make sure to position it beside or over your beans when planting the seeds.
When to Plant Pole Beans
A properly prepared garden bed is not the only thing to consider when growing a garden. For example, bean plant seeds want the perfect soil temperature for germination.
Otherwise, your efforts go to waste. Here is when to plant pole beans outside in the garden, depending on where you live.
While it is definitely more convenient to start your vegetable seeds indoors, it is important to sow pole bean seeds in the garden bed since they don’t tolerate the transplanting process.
Therefore, it’s vital to plant the seeds in the ground when the soil temp is just right.
Pole beans prefer growing when the ground and ambient air are both 60°F, so check your location on the USDA hardiness zone and compare it to the pole bean seed packet. Once the last frost passes, get prepared for planting.
How to Plant Pole Beans from Seed
These vegetable plants do not handle transplanting well, so planting pole beans from seed directly in the garden is the way to go. Once you determine that the ground is at the proper temperature and the weather is just right, it’s time to get planting.
Here is how to grow pole beans from seed and how far apart to plant pole beans with the right spacing and depth.
After the spring frost is long gone and the soil temperature is 60°F, prepare the garden for planting by checking the dirt and adding organic material and fertilizer. Epsom salt works great for green beans and a variety of other plants.
Follow the seed packet instructions, press the seeds into the ground at a one-inch depth, and cover them with soil. Plant them in rows two to three feet apart and space the seeds four to eight inches from each other.
If you grow them in hills, plant them by sowing four to six seeds in intervals around the hill. After planting the seeds, give the garden a good watering until the top two to three inches of dirt is moist, and position a six-foot-high trellis for the vines to climb.
Germination takes about eight to ten days, and after the young plants emerge, consider spreading mulch to halt weed growth and retain moisture.
Caring for Pole Beans during the Growing Season
Planting beans is only the first step in the gardening process. Gardens demand a lot of care and maintenance to thrive and produce, and pole beans are no exception.
Learn how to train the bean vines up a structure and the food and water your plants desire as they grow.
While caring for your plants, do not let the soil get dry, but avoid getting it soggy to prevent rot and mildew. Water them so that they receive about an inch of water each week, especially during dry spells.
Pole beans do not want as much fertilizer as other plants since they produce their own nitrogen, so you only need to feed them right before planting.
Position a support structure with the seeds planted at the base. Most vining beans climb the trellis on their own, but sometimes they need a little encouragement from you.
Once you notice the plants are long enough to begin twining around the support, gently move the top part over, around, or beneath the pole. Doing this is often sufficient to get the plant to continue twining.
As pole beans grow, keep an eye out for garden pests, such as aphids, Mexican bean beetles, spider mites, and leafhoppers.
If you notice chew marks or holes on leaves or stems, check them for insects and use insecticidal soap to kill the bugs or remove them by hand.
When are Pole Beans Ready for Harvesting?
We always look forward to harvest time when planting vegetables and fruits since that’s the main point of growing home gardens.
But, some plants produce a crop early, and others take quite a while. How long do pole beans take to grow, and when are they ready for eating?
Pole Bean Harvest and Storage
The time varies depending on the bean type, so it’s a good idea to start checking your plants daily once you notice bean pods emerging.
Harvest the pods when they are swollen and full, and pick them every three to five days to avoid the woody and bitter taste of old beans. This also encourages longer living vines and new flowers.
To harvest the beans, hold the stem with one hand and pull the pod with the other or use garden scissors to clip them from the plant. Avoid jerking or yanking them to prevent breaking the vine.
If you cannot eat the beans right away, consider storing them for later use. To keep them fresh, save them in a cool, moist area with a relative humidity of 95% and a temperature of 40 to 50°F, such as the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Set them in a perforated plastic bag to keep them from drying and use them within eight to 12 days. If you prefer longer storage, consider freezing the beans or preparing dry beans.
It’s important to be able to tell if fresh green beans are bad before you eat them. Use your senses to determine if they are edible or more suited for the compost bin.
Growing beans seems like a daunting task since bean vines require support from a structure to thrive. However, they are actually easier to grow than you may think.
Plant pole beans at the right time of the season, give them a trellis to climb and some tender loving care, and these plants reward you with tasty beans several times throughout the growing season.
Now that you discovered how to plant pole beans properly for a delicious crop of flat, round, and long beans, why not share our pole bean growing and harvesting guide with the gardeners in your life on Facebook and Pinterest?