Oops! Planted pole beans in a wide row...how to stake?

afishlady(8b)July 5, 2012

This is my first year gardening and I have read of people planting grocery store beans. So, as a groundcover/nitrogen fixer/green bean/dried bean/experiment I planted Great Value black beans in two short wide rows (6' x 1.5') in June. The theory was that commercial growers use bush beans for ease of harvesting.

Wrong.

Definitely getting tall.

Any suggestions for staking these thickly planted beans? They are quite healthy and I am excited about gardening but was surprised by my experiment. Thanks!

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Many bush beans grow short runners. You don't need to stake them; if they get too long, you can snip them off, which will make harvest easier.

Could you define "thickly planted"? Black beans are vigorous plants. If they are too closely spaced, you might get a better harvest by thinning a little.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:54AM
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afishlady(8b)

They are planted a about three inches apart from each other in rows about four inches apart. One plant is getting close to a yard long and others are right behind it. No sign of flowers yet and they are getting taller than the bush beans I planted earlier this year. Healthy plants- probably the healthiest looking bunch in the garden in this heat.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 3:44PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Wow... that's close. Such close spacing will encourage the plants to grow higher, as they fight for sunlight.

Ordinarily, I would advise to thin them considerably, to maybe 2-3 per square foot. However, you mentioned that they are doing well in the heat. It might be that the dense leaf cover has formed a living mulch, which is keeping the soil beneath cool & moist. I would say let them grow, as long as they appear healthy... but at the first sign of disease, it might be necessary to thin them to get better air flow.

The runners will form a tangle, but since you are growing them for dry beans, that should not matter. If you want to support them, you could just place a few sticks in the row, much as you would for pea vines.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 12:57AM
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afishlady(8b)

Zeedman,

Thanks for your help! I put some supports up and they are climbing happily. I've realized that they are going to be a pain to harvest ( if they manage to produce in spite of me) no matter what I do. Inexpensive experiment and haven't really lost anything. Thanks again!

Afishlady

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:45PM
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afishlady(8b)

Results of experiment: harvested a few servings of the young pods and ate as green beans(pretty good), dried the rest and had double the amount of seed I started with.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:52PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Thanks for posting your results. The downside is, the yield was pretty low. That's more or less what I expected from plants crowded so closely. It didn't help that last year was a bad bean year for much of the country.

The upside is:

(a) You still get to eat fresh grown dry beans, which can be more tender & flavorful than the same beans store-bought.

(b) With all of that dense root growth, the soil in that area should be wonderfully fertile, as long as you turn all of that organic matter under. I would recommend planting something there that could benefit from the added nitrogen.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:36AM
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