When to plant out bush beans

pommesMay 14, 2010

Hello, I'm a beginner so I have a stupid question that I should know already.

I have some French dwarf, bush beans and some pole beans I started indoors.

When should I plant these guys outside? Here in Austria we are having a heavy rain spell for a week and the night temperatures are expected to drop in the mid, high 40's.

So it's very wet and colder than usual for this time of month.

Should I wait till the end of May or so?

Another Problem? Many of my plants have turned kind of a yellowship green color and 2 of the pole beans have light brown spots on the lower leaves and around the edges. Is this bacteria or blight already?

The yellowship green leaves kind of have a stiff, lifeless texture to them although they're not dead, of course.

Hope these beans aren't already on death row before they even make it out to the garden.

Thanks for any expertise.

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anney(Georgia 8)

pommes

A picture of your bean plight would be helpful.

Yellowing leaves while something is being grown inside is usually a sign of overwatering. OR it could be that the plants need a very LIGHT sprinkling of diluted fertilizer if they're several weeks old. The yellowing is probably unrelated to the spots on the leaves unless they, too, are due to overwatering. See if cutting back on water helps any.

Soil temperature is the best measure of when to plant beans or any crop as a matter of fact. If your soil is consistently 65 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, you can plant beans at any time with the exception of limas and cowpeas, which need much warmer temps, about 10-15 degrees warmer! It doesn't sound like you're growing those!

If you need reminding, harden off all inside-grown plants before setting them outside.

While soil temperatures will vary somewhat in synchronization with ambient or solar temperatures, soil temps are slower to warm up or cool down of course. So when ambient temperatures are unstable, I'd be cautious about planting when it's apparent that the soil temperatures could drop again.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 10:55AM
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pommes

Thanks anney. I'm having difficult sending you a few jpeg pics. how do I format and attach for this forum? I didn't really get the directions on here.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 2:26PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Pommes, it sounds like you are getting the cold weather that just came through my region. We had several nights of sub-freezing temperatures, and even some snow - very unusual for this point in May.

If the beans were started indoors, what is the light source? And how many hours each day? The yellowing could be due to chlorosis caused by insufficient light. Beans do very poorly under most artificial lights, or if in partial sun (such as an east or west facing window). If the plants also appear abnormally tall, that could be the problem.

Other possibilities could be that the temperature around them is too low, or as Anney suggested, that the plants were over-watered.

I don't generally recommend fertilizer for beans; but if grown indoors for an extended period, a light application may be necessary, depending upon the fertility of the planting medium.

Your climate is, I believe, very similar to mine. I start a lot of pole beans indoors too, chiefly because I grow mainly for dry seed, which takes 6-8 weeks longer to mature than the snap bean stage. Transplants give me enough of an edge to grow seed successfully, even when Spring weather delays planting, as it has the last two years. Pole beans have a very high yield per plant, which makes them very cost effective as transplants.

In contrast, bush beans have a low yield per plant, and mature very quickly... so most likely, there is no need for you to go through the trouble of starting them as transplants. You should be able to direct seed them when the weather & soil have warmed, later this month.

I would recommend that the bean seedlings be moved into full sun as soon as possible; either in a protected location (solar greenhouse or hotbed), or outdoors when the night temps get above 10 degrees C.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 2:42PM
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pommes

Thanks zeedman.

The only light my beans get are next to a very large window that gets the strongest sun of the day (1-7pm) but it does face west. The problem is that we haven't had very consistent sunshine. I'm living in Vienna, Austria...where all clouds gather.

I started bush beans along with the Pole beans because I wanted to get a head start against slugs and snails which have been a plague here.

You mentioned to plant out as soon as the night temps get above 10 C. That would still mean pretty cold ground temperatures.

It was mentioned that I should plant out when the ground tempurature is around 65° F (18° C). I can only see that happening sometime in June with our freaky weather.

What's the best? Also, can somebody tell me how to attach a few pics. I need a diagnosis of 2 sick pole beans.:( thanks.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 4:56PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Pommes, the problem with cool soil for beans is that it often causes poor germination. The 18 degree C. soil temperature is a good baseline recommendation for planting bean seeds, although I prefer it a little warmer. Once germination has already occurred though - such as with transplants - the soil temperature is less critical. You can put transplants into the ground earlier than seeds.

Some bean seeds are more cool soil tolerant than others, such as the pole beans "Emerite" (black-seeded) and "Fortex" (brown-seeded). There seems to be a relationship between dark seed coats & good cool-soil tolerance. I grow mainly pole beans, but there should be bush beans with similar tolerance. These might offer an alternative to transplants.

My Wisconsin weather sounds much like yours. June 1st is my target date for direct-seeding beans, soybeans, okra, and other heat-loving crops. In the event that the soil is too cool or damp at that time (as often happens) I just plant them indoors instead, transfer them to a solar greenhouse as soon as they germinate, and transplant them as soon as conditions allow. The only beans I actually start early are long-season beans (such as limas) which would otherwise be a challenge for my climate.

In recent years, I've compared the days-to-maturity of the same beans, both direct-seeded and started as transplants. Provided that the transplants are given full sun immediately following germination, and not kept in the pots long enough to stunt their growth, the days-to-maturity are comparable.

If slugs are a major problem, I understand why you would want to use transplants. There might be other options that would be helpful. I'm not sure what chemical products are available where you live, but here there are iron-based slug killing formulations that are very effective, and are even certified for organic agriculture. You might also try sprinkling diatomaceous earth around young seedlings to protect them from slugs.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 10:28PM
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pommes

Got it. Thanks.

zeedman, you raised one last question from something you said...

"...and not kept in the pots long enough to stunt their growth,....."

That's exactly what I've done. I've had both my bush and pole beans in the same pots (I believe 4 inches) for some weeks now.
I know that by now they have formed root balls,,,actually for some time now. So,...now I'm wondering at this point if it's just better to start over again and plant seed directly in the ground come June???

What do you think? The bush beans look good and pretty large but if I've stunted future production, not good.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 4:02AM
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booberry85(5)

Pommes, It sounds like we have similar weather. I usually don't plant beans until the end of May / beginning of June. The past two years I've planted beans in July and have still gotten a decent crop. There's still plenty of time to plant outside from seed.

I would plant the seedlings you have started outside. If they don't take you still have plenty of time to direct seed outside.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 8:28AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

pommes

I think one reason the instructions for posting pictures don't always work is that some browsers may be producing various windows that others don't.

But I'll tell you how I post my pictures, once they're in my computer.

1. Registered for photobucket.com
2. Uploaded pictures from my computer to photobucket.com If you can put them in jpg format, that's best.
3. (Instructions are given at the Photobucket site for uploading that are pretty easy)
4. After the pictures are uploaded, save them there and return to the Photobucket home page.
5. Then put your cursor over the picture you want to post.
6. A dropdown list of various formats will appear.
7. Choose the one that is labeled "HTML Code" and begins with A HREF=... by placing your cursor over it and right clicking on it. That will copy the address for you.
8. Go to GardenWeb in another window and make your post. Insert the HTML code anywhere in the post.
9. Leave a space before and after the picture code.

  1. If you've done it correctly, the preview will show your post with the picture included.
    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 8:31AM
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pommes

Thanks for all that help anney. I'll look into it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 2:54PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Oh, dear, a mistake. In #7, follow directions but left-click on it to highlight it and while your cursor remains poised over the code, immediately press Ctrl C to copy it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 3:19PM
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tomtuxman(6bNY)

I concur with Zeedman that cool soil often retards germination. Also soil that's too wet, which sometimes coincides with too cool in Springtime.

My personal solution for beans has been to pre-germinate using the damp coffee filter in a plastic baggie method (stick seeds into damp filter, enclose in sealed baggie, set atop warm refrigerator top or the cable box). They'll germinate in 5 to 10 days. Then I plant the seeds out, with their little tale of root already there, so I know they're viable.

I planted my just-germinated bush bean seeds out on May 15 here in the Mid-Hudson Valley, z6b. I've got first seed leaves pushing up on about a third of them this a.m.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:29PM
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