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Growing Beans – Which Is Best: Pole or Bush?

There’s something for everyone to love about growing beans! From the ease of getting a good harvest to the delicious recipes you can make with the fruits of your labor, it’s hard to ignore all the good reasons to make beans a mainstay on your land.

But many folks are asking which method of growing is best, bush or pole? In the battle of pole versus bush beans, both sides have their pros and cons, it’s important to know as much as possible about both methods to ensure you make the right decision for your needs.

Pole Versus Bush Beans – Which Is Better?

Whether bush or pole beans work better will ultimately depend on your own abilities, requirements, and resources. Growing bush beans is perfect for gardeners with less experience, as they’re easier to grow and stand up to the elements a little better than pole beans.

But for those with the expertise and time to make it work, growing beans on a pole can be far more rewarding in the long term. Ultimately, both methods are worth using and come with their own pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which one is best suited to you.

Bush Bean Basics

Growing beans on a bush is pretty simple. All you need is a handful of seeds and a plot of clear land. An inch of water each day will be enough to sate their thirst. Be sure to water in the morning so your little seeds can get their drink in before the hot sun burns away the water. Little else is required, as beans are strong, independent plants, capable of thriving with very little help.

Bush beans will grow in a compact space close to the ground, meaning they’re easy to protect and maintain. In fact, some say due to their durability and low maintenance requirements, they’re the ideal plant for beginner gardeners. And their natural durability and fast rate of growth make them ideal for organic gardens.

Harvesting Bush Beans

When the time comes to harvest the beans from a bush, you’d better have your wits about you! The beans will ripen quickly and all at the same time, so it’s important to harvest them in good time. You’ll need to carefully monitor the color, size, and firmness of each pod, to ensure you don’t miss the optimal picking time. If you prefer to keep up a steady flow of beans, try planting your bushes a week or so apart.

Choosing which level of ripeness to harvest beans is a matter of personal taste. Some folks like to harvest just ripe beans for a crunchy texture. Others prefer to let the pods hang on the bush a little while, for a mushier texture and more distinct flavor. Be sure to read up on your chosen variety for best results.

Perfect Pole-Grown Produce!

Beans grown on the vine have a natural desire to climb upwards. That’s why some gardeners choose to grow their beans around a pole, known as a trellis. The vines can wrap around a natural pole made from bamboo or any other material that takes your fancy, and wind up and up, almost always higher than 10 feet and sometimes as high as 15 feet!

Although growing beans in this way is a little more of a challenge than simply leaving them to grow on the bush, the rewards are greater, with far more beans available come harvest time. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could try placing your pole next to other high-growing plants like corn, encouraging the beanstalk to wind around them and allowing the different plants to complement each other.

Planting and Harvesting

Pole-grown beans are delicious, plentiful, and easy to grow. But if you want to get the best of your bamboo-borne legumes, you can give them a little helping hand to ensure you get some truly quality results. While beans will naturally improve soil quality and don’t need too much of a nutrient boost, it’s a good idea to prepare the soil with a small amount of aged, organic compost before planting to prevent soil crusting.

When it comes to harvesting, the pods will ripen at slightly different times depending on several factors, including their position on the pole. To ensure you get a maxed-out harvest, be sure to keep a close eye on the pole, returning every day or two to harvest newly ripe beans. As with bush beans, it’s up to you to decide which level of ripeness suits your taste and your chosen variety of bean.

Protecting Pole Beans

Although pole-grown beans will give you better rewards in the end, they do sometimes need a little extra help to keep them safe. After all, a single strong wind could knock down your 15-foot pole and uproot the plant, meaning all your work was for nothing! But it’s not too hard to keep them safe with a little extra effort.

Firstly, ensure your trellis system is firmly rooted in the ground. It may need a few extra supports made from metal or some other sturdy material to ensure the pole doesn’t snap under pressure. But for best protection, make use of a windbreak. This could be a wall, fence, or even a hedge. Ensure your windbreak has some holes or gaps, allowing a little wind to pass through to gently break the force of the gust.

Bean Benefits

The benefits of bean growing extend far beyond the time these yummy veggies spend on the bush or pole, and even for months after they’ve been harvested. Beans, like all legumes, play a crucial role in the promotion of soil health, drawing nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil, improving its fertility and ensuring bountiful harvests the following spring.

Beans plants also compete with weeds and other unwanted pests for nutrients, keeping the soil clear in a clean, organic way. It’s actually a great time investment. The time you would have spent keeping the ground free of weeds otherwise can now be invested in growing healthy and nutritious beans.

Watch That Frost!

Although beans are pretty durable plants, able to stand up to rains, winds, and even the occasional bug attack, there’s one thing every aspiring bean grower should watch out for: frost. Even a light frost is likely to completely wipe out your beans, whether grown on a bush or a pole. That’s why it’s so important to check the weather in your area and only plant after the last spring frost has passed, normally in late April or early May.

There are plenty of resources you can use to find the optimal planting time, including almanacs and online forecasts. As long as you keep a close on that date, there’s not much else you need to do to protect your beans. But if you’d like to get a head start on the cold weather, you could cover your chosen patch of ground in advance, ensuring it’s nice and warm by the time you plant your seeds.

Whichever way you choose to grow beans, it’s sure to be a success if you take your time and stay patient with the growing process. They’re fast-growing and durable plants, so as long as you’ve made good preparations, you can sit back and wait for a bumper bean bonanza!

What Month Do You Plant Beans?

Beans are an increasingly popular plant with gardeners of all stripes. They’re easy to maintain, delicious to eat, and capable of surviving in all kinds of climates and soils. But many gardeners are looking for further information on when exactly they should begin growing beans.

It’s certainly a good question, as the time beans are planted can have a huge impact on how they end up. And there are many factors that must be considered when choosing an optimal planting time. But by following a few simple steps, you can get the most out of your organic heirloom beans.

What Month Do You Plant Beans?

Beans 101

Before deciding when to plant your beans, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the plant, helping you to choose the right variety of beans and take care of them properly. Beans are often underrated, but they’re one of the most versatile and durable plants you can choose to grow as they’re unlikely to be wiped out by a touch of bad weather or the odd bug attack.

They come in plenty of different varieties and can be used in all kinds of healthy and delicious recipes, from soups and salads to pasta and rice dishes. But as much as they share these common characteristics, different types of beans share some key differences, so it’s important to learn as much as possible about the specific variety you’re growing to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The Perfect Time for Growing Beans

While there might be some variation in your exact planting time, depending on your chosen variety, growing method, and several other factors, there’s one rule that must always be adhered to when planting beans: wait until the last spring frost of the year has passed. This should be around late April or early May, depending on your region. Although beans are pretty durable plants, they can be totally wiped out by a frost, leaving all your hard work for nothing.

The time of year in which frost is a danger will vary from region to region, but beans ought to be planted when the average soil temperature is no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Check a local forecast for difficulties. To improve early growing conditions, you can cover your plot of land with plastic or tarpaulin a few weeks early. This will warm the soil and create optimal conditions for your beans to get an excellent start on life.

Different Bean Growing Methods – Bush or Pole

Beans can be grown in a variety of different ways, with two core methods forming the bulk of bean growing practices: bush and pole. Bush beans grow naturally from the ground, packing their plants into a compact space. This is the easiest way to grow beans, requiring the least maintenance, so it’s perfect for those with less experience, or limited time to tend their plots.

The pole method sees climbing beans affixed to a pole called a staking or trellis. Pole-grown beans can reach serious heights, between 10 to 15 feet. Although they can be a little more vulnerable to the elements, the rewards are plentiful, with many more beans produced on average. And while the beans on a bush all ripen at once, pole-grown beans provide a consistent bounty over the course of weeks for plenty of picking fun!

Different Stages of Ripeness

Something that’s fun about planting beans is that you get to watch them as they grow. Unlike many root vegetables which grow and develop underground, away from view, bean pods ripen on the bush or pole for all to see. It’s satisfying to get a real-time view of your plants developing, but it’s important to know when beans should be harvested for optimal effect.

Choosing the level of ripeness best suited to harvesting your beans is more of an art than a science. Different varieties suit different levels of ripeness, and the taste and texture of the beans changes subtly with every passing day. Be sure to research the variety you’re growing and pay close attention to the texture and colors of the pods. You could even experiment with different plants, harvesting them at slightly different times to see what you like best.

A Little Help

Beans don’t need a whole lot of help to get them growing optimally, but you can give a couple of healthy organic boosts to ensure you get an optimal harvest. Beans are thirsty plants, and they love to guzzle down water throughout the growing process, so it’s important to ensure consistent irrigation. When planting, cover the seeds in a little aged, organic compost to prevent soil crusting, which should be enough to see them thrive.

Plants should receive around 2.5cm of water each day. Be sure to monitor weather conditions, as you don’t want to overwater your plants on a rainy day. It’s always best to water the beans in the morning, allowing the plants to soak in the moisture before the sun is at its hottest and helping them to avoid fungal disease.

What Beans Do For Soil Health

As much as beans are a wonderful plant in their own right, they also play an important role in the long-term productivity of your land. Beans give much-needed nitrogen to the soil, drawing it from the air and pushing it into the earth, making your land more fertile for future vegetables you choose to plant and helping you enjoy years of bountiful harvests. Beans also clear the soil of weeds, ensuring even better growing conditions next spring.

In fact, bean growing has been used as a crucial element of crop rotation for thousands of years. By planting beans on intensively farmed fields, agricultural workers have been able to revitalize the land and ensure consistently good harvests. In fact, beans could be considered an excellent organic way to boost nitrogen levels in the earth. It’s just another great reason to start planting beans on your own land!

Three Sisters Growing Method

If you’re looking for even more ways to promote the health of your soil while growing yummy, nutritious veggies, take a leaf out of the Native Americans’ book and adopt the three sisters growing method. Alongside your beans, choose some sweetcorn and either pumpkins or squash to grow in the same plot. This will allow you to make the most of your parcel of land while imbuing the soil with plenty of valuable nutrients.

These plants work harmoniously together, sharing space and light to make the best use of the land and its resources. Pumpkin vines thrive in the shade of the cornrows, while climbing beans grown with the pole method make use of the space between the other two plants. It’s an ancient method, but it still holds up in the modern day as a natural method of getting the most out of your land.

As long as you keep these key facts in mind and pay close attention to your plants, you’re sure to enjoy a bumper harvest of delicious beans, as well as boost the health of your land. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather and give your plants plenty of love and care and you’ll be well rewarded by the land.