nine bush beans in one square????

hengal(z5 / IN)January 10, 2006

This will be my first season doing the square foot, and for some reason this sounds like a ton of bean plants in one little square foot. Does anyone have any experience with bush green beans? Does the crowding cut down on production at all? Thanks for your help.

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Actually this worked pretty well for me last year. I filled a 2x8 garden with bush beans and they did just fine. The only trouble I had was the plants on the outside fell over the raised bed a little bit. But I fixed that -- I went to the Dollar Store and bought some of that cheap white plastic fence stuff (about 1 or so high) that you just press down into the soil. This did a good job of keeping the bean confined inside the bed.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 12:27AM
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I built my first raised bed last year. I planted 9 per square foot and they grew just fine. Any further apart, and I think you are wasting space on foliage and not actual bean production. Also, it shades the square very well and helps conserve water during those hot summer months.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 10:41PM
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hengal(z5 / IN)

Thats good to know. This is my first year SFG and I was concerned weather or not planting so close would have an adverse effect on production. You did plant seeds right? Not transplants?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 8:52AM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

With bush beans at 9/ft, you end up with lower production per plant, but more per square foot. Beans are one of the crops to grow from seed if possible (some really short growing areas *have* to use transplants), but it doesn't hurt to soak the seeds overnight first.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 3:10PM
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garden_fever_girl(5 CO)

9 per sq foot has always given me great yields ..they seem to appreciate the shade of each others leaves and don't forget you can plant bunch onions or radishes around them to protect from bugs and increase your yields per sq foot accordingly!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 3:19PM
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Bush beans are always one of my most reliable crops. 9 per square works great. I built 1'x1'x3' square cages out of wire mesh (large enough to get hands thru). They contain the plants well--you just can't place them in adjacent squares!! My favorite variety is Dragons Tongue--delicious, productive over a long season, and the yellow-and-purple pods are easy to spot amongst the dense foliage within the cages.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 3:30PM
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Last summer I accidentally planted bush beans 4 x 4 per square for a fall planting in one of my 3ft x 3ft planters. The planter is not right next to any other planter. I just finished a crop of beans in another of my 3ft x 3ft planters where this time I did the correct 3 x 3 plantings. I think that my crop was bigger last fall than this spring. I don't know if the different beans, or the time of year or the fact it was a different planter made any of the difference, but the extra plants seemed to produce more beans overall. I think I am going back to the 4 x 4 plantings of the bush beans. The statement earlier about the plants leaning over the sides of the planter is true, but since they do not lean over into other planter I don't do anything about them.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 8:49PM
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I have just finished picking my green beans,and pulled plants for my compost pile. Is it getting to late in season to plant another batch?? Thanks, :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 7:30AM
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I actually had the same question and even emailed the SFG people and they said - sure!

So anyway, I did one planting of 9, then the second of 5, then back to 9 - so we will see.

One note though - when you are planting the beans or anything for that matter, visualize the space over time. My first crop has gotten big enough that its starting to cover over the stuff next to it. Fortunately it will be removed before the other one suffers to much (I think).

You can also plan on using them for shade over leafy greans.

And I don't think its too late, I am in CT and will be planting some more tonight.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 5:26PM
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As a follow up, our patches with 9 per square started producing - with nine plants they seem to hard to go through to find beans.

Also, some that grew slower than others became permanently stunted - but I think that would happen with any number.

I may just do 5 or 6 in the future. But 9 definately does grow.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 1:43PM
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maryliz(5b/SE lower MI)

I don't come to this forum often, and don't remember the last time I posted. But I wanted to chime in.

I didn't look up Mel's formula when it was time to plant my beans this spring. I just assumed that four per one foot square was right. I have square after square of those. They haven't flopped over yet. I planted them a bit late, so they still have some growing to do.

I was thinking that I could plant something like a radish in the center of each square, but never got around to it.

(I always find the flopping over to be the hardest part of this gardening method. I planted nine onions (from "sets") in each square, and they're all over the place now.)

Anyway, I also like to try to find a bush bean variety that has pods that are some color other than green. I get a purple bush bean from Johnny's. I find them easier to harvest, because I'm looking for a color that isn't green.

I also get the purple pole beans, for the same reason.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 9:05AM
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Hi Maryliz,

I don't know if a radish in the center would get enough light, even with 4 of the bean plants... If the bean plants are small enough, I guess you could plant a radish and maybe harvest it before the beans got big enough to shade it.

You could probably move some if they have not grown that much also.

Purple beans to be easier to find? Genious! That is a great idea. I saw some in the store the other day, and said that would be fun to grow someday - but that is a really really good reason why!!!

Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 1:15PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

9 per square will do the trick!...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Cripes, I really need to laminate that chart and post it near my garden somewhere! I planted them a flippin FOOT apart last night thinking "BUSH" beans...that means they must be pretty fluffy. Instead of coming in the house and verifying the spacing, I planted about 9 of them in a huge space...idiot.
Tonight I'll move them.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:15AM
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You can also check the seed package for the plant spacing and just plant that distance in all directions. It may not be the same as the SFG book but it will get you lots closer. I think bush beans usually say 3-4" apart.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:59AM
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yeah, I was just lazy is all. I was planting out from a wintersown jug, and my tag said only bush beans, and I never referenced any spacing or size on the tag (idiot), and was simply too lazy to go look it up when I was in the middle of planting out a ton of stuff last night.
I screwed up the Zucc & Squashes, too. I should have just stayed out of the garden altogether.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:12PM
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3rd year sq. ft. gardening, bush beans:

I have one sq, 3ft x 3ft, with 16 plants (all, bush beans). They are doing just fine. I have flowers on the plants already.

Note: If bush stalks have a tendency to fall over, carefully scoop top soil, or compost dirt, around the stalks, a few inches deep and firm up around the base. It helps keep the stalks from bending over on windy days. Good luck.

Same procedure can be used for cow-peas, corn, okra and brussels sprouts.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:23PM
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I know this is an older post, but it's so applicable, I'm taking a risk and reviving it.

I planted bush beans 4/sq ft in a 6'x2' bed, very early in the season. Maybe too early. I read everywhere that they need reseeded every two weeks. How does this work with SFG? Do you plant in between, or seed a new set of squares? Or forget reseeding?

Thanks in advance,

PS-I know beans can go 9/sq ft, but my soil and watering technique leave a little to be desired, so I went thinner to make sure each one got enough nutrition and moisture.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 3:30PM
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I planted additional beans about 3 weeks after the initial planting, but in another square, not in between. I had so many it seemed like I was always freezing a batch, but I had runner beans, and they produce a ton.

Here is a link that might be useful: What's Growing On?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Too bad I don't have a place to plant more. Unless I can still put new seed in when I pull the peas out... Hmmm
Either way, it helps me plan for next year!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:25PM
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