Achieving Success With Pole Beans and Bush Beans

 Achieving Success With Pole Beans and Bush Beans

There are many different types of beans to choose from as a gardener. You can grow snap beans (sometimes called string beans) for tender beans, shillings for tender seeds, or dry beans to store all winter as a high-protein food. These beans can be green, yellow ("wax"), purple, or striped depending on the variety you're growing.

All of these legumes are generally divided into two groups: pole beans and bush beans. Pole bean plants have towering vines that will clamber up a trellis and bear beans all season long. Bush beans produce most of their pods together on vigorous plants.

Let's learn about the unique characteristics of bush and bean beans and how to use these differences to make your garden a success.

Pole beans

Pole beans are long vines that can reach impressive heights. Throughout the season, the main stem grows from a terminal bud and double vines that wrap around anything nearby as they climb up. They require adequate exposure to support heavy plants, and are ideal for small spaces and market gardens alike.

Distinctive characteristics of pole beans are:
       Indeterminate: column beans can be between 1 and 4 meters (3–13 ft) high depending on the variety, although many column beans average 2 meters (6 ft).

       Long Harvest Period: As the vines grow, they continue to produce flowers and pods, so you'll have fresh pods from the plant's first flowers until they die back at the end of the year.

       High yield per area: Because pole beans grow a large vertical plant, they can produce many beans in a small space. Pole beans yield an average of 3.6 kg per 3 m (8 lb per 10 ft) of row.

       Perfect for Small Spaces: As long as they have something to climb on, pole beans do very well in small gardens or containers.

       Warm Weather Growth: All pods will drop their blossoms and production will stop when temperatures rise above 32°C (90°F). Pole beans will stop producing during hot weather and resume when the weather cools.

       Days to ripening: Most beans ripen in about 50 to 70 days. Bean ripening days is the period from germination to flowering of the plant.

       Good disease resistance: In general, most types of pole beans are resistant to many common diseases.

Popular types of beans

Here are some bean varieties you can try in your garden:

Hilda Romano - (60 days) Hilda Romano is green, flat and almost without strings. It is very productive with constant picking. When the beans are about 23 cm (9 in) long, do not let them ripen or they will become tough. Fortunately, Hilda Romano remains much milder than previous variations.

Monte Gusto - (58 days) A yellow 'wax' bean about 20 cm (8 in) long. Many say Monte Gusto has the best flavor of any yellow bush bean.

Purple Peacock - (70 days) This plant produces pale purple flowers followed by dark purple pods on rich green vines. The beans mature to 13 cm (5 in) long and have a great flavour. Like all purple beans, they turn dark green when cooked.

Tips for growing beans

In general, we prefer growing beans to bushy varieties. Here are some tips for successfully growing these giant plants:

Avoid transplanting: Like all legumes, grape varieties have a weak root structure and don't handle transplants well. Sow directly if possible, or use compostable pots.

Trellis: While pole beans can be left along the ground to track, they are susceptible to disease and breakage, and your crop is more likely to be eaten by animals. It is best grown on a trellis. Verify that the trellis is sturdy enough to hold the plant's weight and tall enough to accommodate the vines.

Prepare Trellis When Planting: Make sure the trellis is in place before planting beans. It's easy to damage young plants when trellising after germination, and you don't want vines to collapse if you don't get help in time.

Good spacing: Plant the beans about 15 cm (6 in) apart in rows 60 cm (2 ft) wide. Conventional wisdom says to plant pole beans 8 to 10 cm (3-4 inches) apart and then thin them out. We prefer direct sowing in our rows 15 cm (6 in) wide by 60 cm (2 ft). Thus, the plants do not need to be thinned out, and any loss of germination will not significantly affect spacing.

Harvest regularly: Pick your beans regularly to encourage more beans to be produced. If the pods are left to ripen or dry out on the vine, the plant will assume that its life cycle is complete, and will stop producing new flowers to focus on growing the seedpods. This could need daily picking throughout the height of the growing season, but the extra work will be well worth it because the crop will be bigger.

Full Sun: Beans grow best with 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. Space them out so they get enough light, but remember that taller plants will shade each other and other plants.

Watch the wind: A strong gust of wind can blow heavily laden trails. Keep in mind that some vines grow taller than others, so check to see whether the trellis can sustain the bean variety you're planting. It might be prudent to select bush beans if you reside in an area with minimal shelter from the wind.

Bush beans

Bush beans are small, bushy plants that stand upright on a sturdy central stem. The stem is quite short, but the bush pods still produce a very good crop.

Bush beans are famous for:

       Determine: The average bush pods are 60 cm (2 ft) long and about the same wide. When it reaches a particular height, the main stem of a shrub bean stops growing like other determinate plants (such tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes), and the plant instead expends its energy on removing stems and creating pods.

       Concentrated Harvest: Another distinguishing feature is that bush beans produce the majority of their flowers at the same time, and the beans ripen in a short window. This is ideal if you plan on stocking, as the bulk of your crop can be picked in 1-2 weeks.

       Faster ripening: Most bush bean varieties take 40 to 60 days to flower from germinate.

       Low maintenance: Because it does not require trailing, bush beans are relatively low maintenance and require only watering and weeding until harvest.

       Good Yield: In general, bush varieties produce fewer pods than vines. To give you an idea, bush beans will yield about 2 kg per 3 m (4.5 lbs per 10 ft) row.

       Disease susceptibility: The majority of bush bean types are more prone to disease than pole varieties, however this is not a full list.

Popular varieties of bush beans

If you are interested in growing bush beans, here are some varieties we recommend:

Strike - (55 days) We have been developing it for many years with good success. The upright plants are somewhat disease resistant, and the stringless green beans taste great and freeze well.

Gold Rush - (58 days) Yellow bean with excellent flavour, 10 cm (4 in) pods grow in clusters near the main stem.

Taylor Horticultural - (80 days) This is one of our favorite all-purpose cereals. It is a good early bean when young and matures into a really excellent dry bean. The flowers are pretty pink, the pods are cream and red, and the pods themselves are orange with deep red streaks. They've been cultivated in North America since the 1800s, and we've had great success drying them on the plant in our short season.
Tips for growing bush beans

When growing bush beans, here are some tips for a successful year:

Crop rotation: Since bush beans have a low disease tolerance, be sure to tighten crop rotation. Avoid growing beans and other related crops in the same location for 3 to 4 years to prevent the spread of diseases.

Successive planting: Since bush beans produce most of their pods at once, plant several crops two weeks apart to ensure you'll get pods all season long.

Pick regularly: String beans will still produce a limited number of beans with frequent harvests even if they won't continue to produce as well as pole types.

Good plant spacing: As with column beans, we usually plant our shrub varieties 15 cm (6 in) apart in 60 cm (2 ft) rows, but space them 30 cm in all directions. Good success.

Potted Beans: Because of their short stature, bush beans do very well in containers.

Choose the right beans for your garden

Choosing among the myriad of legumes can be a little overwhelming, but trying new cultivars is one of the joys of gardening. Pole beans and shrubs have their own benefits depending on the needs of your garden. Some years we grow both while other years we grow one or the other.

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