How do I make pole beans climb?

macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)June 5, 2008

This is my first year planting pole beans. I have 160' of fortex, rattlesnake, and kentucky wonder. They are planted adjacent to field fence which I am using for a trellis, about 1' from the planting site. How do I get them to climb up the field fence? With cucumbers, it's easy. I just move the plant to the fence and they climb. With the pole beans, they are sending up runners but they seem a little brittle to pull to the fence. Any ideas?



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When they get tall enough they will fall toward the fence and start wrapping themselves around anything they can find including each other. Be patient.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 10:52AM
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I usually give them a 'clue' where the fence is by just pushing the vines over to the trellis and gently hooking the vines on the trellis. Belinda is right, be patient. They can grow plenty tall before they need support. Once the vine has contact with the trellis, it wastes no time in wrapping around it. Always in a counter-clockwise direction viewed top-down.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 2:15PM
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Always in a counter-clockwise direction viewed top-down (snip)?

In Britain and other European countries they do the opposite: counter-clockwise when viewed from the base of the plant, ie the beans meet their support and start curling right and up. When viewed from top down, it appears as clockwise rotation.

Both runnerbeans and ordinary 'French' beans rotate in the same direction in Britain/Europe, although some gardening books state the opposite. It is helpful to observe how beans climb so that plants can be gently pulled towards a support and twisted around it in the right way. Provided the beans were long enough in the first place, they will stay and soon cling to their support tightly once they have been helped to climb in this way.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 2:41AM
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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

I've always noticed that climbing plants seem to sense tall items around them and instinctively grow towards them. Sometimes there's a rebel but it can usually be gently guided in the correct direction.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 8:20AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Sometimes mine twine around each other, but they eventually find the taller thing to start climbing up.
Sometimes, if its a smaller area of plants, I put a piece of string gently across them so that they lean more towards the fencing I want them to climb.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 10:22AM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

Now that sounds like a good idea. I think I'll try that.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 2:23PM
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... Speaking of rebels, I have an Emerite bean that was "supposed" to grow up a column in the bean cage that is conveniently right in front of the plant. It chose, instead, to wrap around the olumn of it's neighbor's instead, about 6 inches away.

:D as long as it's climbing, I will leave it be.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 3:59PM
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