A chart to how many hills of beans to plant

jolj(7b/8a)July 5, 2012

Anyone know of a chart to how many hills of beans to plant to get a pound of dry shellys.

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Depends are you growing bush or pole beans?
What variety are growing to grow?


    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:38PM
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Pole beans, but a chart that compared pole with bush & each variety as well as taste & storing tips would be good.
I know I am asking a lot, but I need to start some where, I will keep a detail record of what I grow, but planting 100-150 feet apart(prevent crossing seeds) will take up a lot of space.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 11:48AM
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I did another search on Garden Web & Google, I found a few web site that have full threads on how many seeds produce per hill & some on spacing hills.
Here on Garden Web on some threads I found a few post, too.
But no chart, so I guess I will have to make my on chart.
Here is some of what I found:
One pound of bean harvested for every ten feet row.
Four pounds of beans per ten foot row.
4X8 raised bed on SFG site gets four pounds.
Pole beans with space & good soil,mulch can produce 200/1 seeds,Garden Web clippings.
I guess I will have to keep a bean journal as well as a tomato journal.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:25PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Quoted from another thread: "zeedman, what is the maximum spacing for pole beans if you have all the room in the world?
6",12",18" or 24" in the row & 16" or 24" between rows, so one can lean into the raised bed to pick the inside row, without stepping on the bed?
At 16" one can get 3 rows out of each bed, at 24" one can get 2 rows out of each bed. Or do you recommend not using raised beds, but fertile soil in standard rows. At 200 - 300 to one I will plant anyway you say works.
With mulch, should one use a soaker hose to get even watering?" (Jolj)

I moved that post to this thread, since it is more applicable here. Jolj, you are indeed asking a lot... this is gonna be a long one. ;-)

The first question being: by "dry shellies", do you mean dry beans? All of the comments that follow will be for dry beans. If you are interested in shellies - beans picked ripe, but not yet dry - the yields by weight would be much higher than the figures I will quote below.

Proper spacing & yield will vary by variety, and are additionally influenced by many other factors... the weather in the Midwest this year being a great example. Water, temperature, soil fertility, disease pressure, and hours of sunlight can all - individually or collectively - have a major impact on yield. I have grown the same beans in different plots, or in different years in the same plot, with major differences in performance.

I don't believe that there are charts for gardeners, giving the proper spacing & comparative yields for specific bean varieties. There is information on commercial cultivars, which you could probably get through your nearest Extension office; but keep in mind, most commercial dry beans are bush. John Jeavons lists SFG yields for several types of beans, but not specific varieties.

Now, you asked about optimal spacing if you have "all the room in the world". That would be the wide spacing that I & others (such as Fusion) have used for maximum seed multiplication. My default spacings can be listed two ways; either row or hill. Planting in hills (groups) is advantageous if your soil is heavy, since several seeds can more easily break through the crust, whereas single seeds might not. My soil is heavy, so I use hills when direct seeding. Spacing by seed is best in sandy or friable loam soils

For bush beans, I use a final spacing of 6" between plants, or hills of 2 @ 12", with 24" between rows. If I am planting two rows only, I might decrease the row spacing to 18"... but if growing a sprawling variety (such as "Jumbo" or black beans) that could make harvest difficult.

For pole beans, I use default spacing of single plants 12" apart in the row. You can get this either by use of transplants, or by planting 3-4 seeds in a hill & thinning after germination. That is my default spacing, the first time I grow a new variety; I adjust that for the next planting based upon observations of habit & performance. For example, "Fortex", "Emerite", and "Soissons Vert" have fairly wispy vines, so I use 2 @ 12" for them. "Ma Williams" (a.k.a. Goose) and "Ky Wonder White #191" are very rampant vines, so 1 @ 12" will still fill the trellis. For most pole shellies, I recommend 12" spacing.

For maximum seed increase, I use 15-18" between plants. I use this only when starting with a small amount of seed, at which time I am usually using transplants. This spacing may not, however, give the best yield per foot of row; so if you have sufficient seed, it might be better to follow the previous paragraphs.

Row spacing for pole beans involves an issue that doesn't apply to bush beans - shade. Regardless of how you orient the trellises, there will be significant shading of adjacent rows, unless they are spaced beyond the shadows. As an example, my default row spacing for pole beans used to be 36", with trellises over 6 feet tall. For the more vigorous varieties (such as "Ma Williams") this resulted in the lower 1/2 of the vines being shaded at full growth, which reduced the yield in that part of the vines. So I increased my default row spacing to 42-48" for any variety which has heavy growth, and get a good yield from top to bottom on all rows.

The dry seed yield for beans varies wildly, but as my rule of thumb, I plan on a minimum of 1 oz. / plant from bush beans, and about 6 oz. / plant from pole beans when grown under good conditions with wide spacing. Conservatively, that means that 16 ounces per 10 feet of row for bush beans, and about 3 pounds / 10 feet of row for pole beans, should be attainable most years. You can see just how wildly this can vary if you look up my observations in the "Bean Science" thread. I hope Fusion or Rodger can chime in with their observations, since their climate is more similar to yours.

Interestingly, after mentioning all the room in the world, you then mentioned raised beds of a limited size - which changes the planting strategy. Having read the previous paragraph, you can see that multiple rows of pole beans might not be the best use of a narrow raised bed. However, you could plant a row of pole beans on the North side of the bed (where they will not shade the rest of the bed) then plant bush beans in the remainder. This would give you the maximum yield of dry seed per bed.

But you also stated above: "...but planting 100-150 feet apart(prevent crossing seeds) will take up a lot of space." If saving seeds, you have now introduced the spacing between varieties into your planting strategy.

There is wide disagreement over the degree to which beans cross, and just how much separation is required to save pure bean seed. Personally, I use a minimum of 30' between varieties, with barrier crops (other plants which flower at the same time) between them. I grow cucurbits, limas, okra, and annual flowers as barrier crops. My crossing has been little to none, under 1%. I wouldn't use 200 foot spacing unless I was growing commercial seed, or preserving an irreplaceable heirloom.

When I have sufficient seed, I grow several rows of a pole bean variety in a block, and only save seed from the center row. This further reduces the chances of crossing. My recommendation to you would be to use this method - without the use of raised beds. That will depend, of course, on how you will be working your soil... unlimited space, without machinery to work it, becomes limited.

Soaker hoses, IMHO, do a poor job. I tried them, and had two problems. The pressure was reduced at the end of the hose, so the water was not evenly distributed. They also plugged up with my hard water. Sprinklers or a drip system would give better results.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 6:00PM
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I goggled & searched Garden web for a chart, all I found was commercial charts & more about space & spray.
I did not know there are only shellies (father called green beans) & dry beans,I thought all shelled beans were shellies.
Thank you for the answers! I understand this is just the beginning & that the hard work is ahead of me.
But I should do better with the knowledge that you so patiently explained.
It is a lot to take in, but I have time as I get the beds/rolls ready for Spring.
Again thank you for taking the time to answer my question & speaking slowly & not using big words.:-)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:01PM
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