Pole beans can be quite useful in the garden; you can use them as a fast growing hedge plant that will climb up and cover a trellis or fence, beans for fresh eating and the the 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?
When to Plant
Plant after the ground has warmed up in mid-to-late May.
Where to Plant
It does best in full sun, 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.
How to Plant
Plant each seed 1.5 – 2 cm deep. Plant 5 to 6 beans in each 30 cm wide hill, but when they germinate and start to grow, thin the hill to the 3 strongest plants.
If you try to grow too many plants in too small a supporting system, they’ll strangle each other instead of producing beans (this plant has never learned how to play with its closest neighbours). 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.
Care & Maintenance
Harvest the pods when they are still young and tender (a mature bean pod is a ferocious thing to try to eat) You should get a harvest at least once a week for about six weeks before the frost takes them out.
And finally, when frost is threatening, go out and rip-harvest your beans. Pull up the vines and take every bean (including all the babies). Do this for two reasons. The first is that the small beans are quite edible and tender and the second reason is that it is far easier to take down bean plants when they are still green and alive rather than just hit by frost and rather messy/wilted.
How much seed to plant? Well figure that a hill contains 3 plants. 50-60gms of seed will give you approximately 25 hills.
Estimate .45 kg 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.
Keep the support to a height you can harvest. By August the beans should be up to the top of a 1.8m pole and hanging down over the tops. If you give them taller poles, harvesting becomes a bit of a problem.
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 as this encourages the spread of disease. Wait until the sun dries things off to work your plants.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cm
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm