Newbie seeks bean advice/poles/supports

tanya47May 14, 2008

I have some bean questions, I am new to gardening. I am growing Kentucky Wonder, and have just started some Romanos.

I have sandy/organic soil, and full sun exposure, though I expect to get coastal overcast possible in May and June, but so far, lots of sunny weather and the beans seem happy

I chose pole beans because I have very limited space , so am trying to start with vegies that grow UP! But also I have a small community garden plot, and structures higher than about 5', as that can shade the next door plot are not allowed

My Kentucky wonders have reached the top of the bamboo poles (6') I teepee'd for them.As well they are pretty thick with secondary runners lower down. The beans are just starting to set and grow. Should I train the tendrils back down the poles? Should I prune the tips , would that harm the plant or would that encourage better setting lower down?

I just planted the romanos a couple weeks ago, and they are just putting on the second sets of true leaves,I have found some 5' natural alder poles, and set them in 2 rows ( with end posts and cross support, for the beans to grow up. But I imagine that the plants will want to grow higher than 5'?

Any advice greatly appreciated !!!! Thanks !!!

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Growing most pole beans on short supports is like trying to house-train a moose. Messes will happen. ;-)

My best recommendation would be to use a trellis (such as fencing) rather than poles, and train the vines horizontally as much as possible. You might also want to prune the first runner immediately, to encourage several smaller runners instead (note: this can backfire with some of the more rampant varieties, including some Romanos).

It's too late now to change planting... but in the future, to grow shorter pole beans, one method is to crowd them. This will lead to fewer & shorter runners, but it also runs the risk of disease problems, should moisture & cool weather weaken the plants. Note that "moisture" includes overhead irrigation.

In future years, for the community garden plot, you might want to look into growing "half-runner" bean varieties. As their name implies, they are only half-hearted climbers. Some Appalachian beans, and many "cornfield" beans, have shorter runners.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 5:37PM
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