The Vegetable Garden

Beans, Pole

    Beans are very prolific. A 100' row of bush beans can produce about 50 quarts of beans. Beans are self-pollinating and therefore different cultivars can be grown side by side with little danger of cross-pollination. Never weed or work among the beans while they are wet to prevent the spread of disease.

    When To Plant

    Pole beans are very easy to grow, as they will tolerate a variety of climates as long as there is good sunlight available. An air temperature of 70°F-80°F and a soil temperature of at least 60°F is ideal for beans.

    Pole bean plants will grow in almost any soil with a pH above 6.0. Loose sandy loam soils warm rapidly and are ideal for beans. Soggy soil will cause the bean seeds to rot. Pole beans will do best in well-drained soils rich in organic matter. Beans prefer lighter soils. If you have heavy soil, amend it well with compost prior to planting. Break up large clods of soil and rake the area smooth prior to planting your pole bean seeds.

    Spacing & Depth

    Plant pole beans at 1" to 1-1/2" deep at 3" apart within a row at the base of a trellis or netting or in a circle around a pole. If using a pole, plant at least 6 bean plants at its base.

    Space rows of trellis, poles, teepees, etc. at 4' apart.


    Maintain a consistent moisture rate during germination. Deep watering once a week is recommended as long as the soil drains well. Saturated soil increases the risk of seed rot. Once plants have sprouted less frequent irrigation is required until just before bean plants are about to blossom. Just prior to and during the blossom stage, ensure the bean plants have consistent moisture and deep water once a week if there is no rainfall. Be sure to water the plants at their base and be careful not to knock off blossoms while watering.


    Fresh Beans: Fresh (snap) beans are normally ready for harvest about 8-10 days after flowering. Pick beans when they are pencil thin, the fruit is bright green, the pod is fleshy and seeds are small and green. The bean pods should snap easily when bent - thus the name snap beans. Pinch or cut the beans off rather than pulling them as pulling the beans may pull up the plant.

    Harvest the beans frequently - if not daily - to keep the plants producing. The bean plants will stop producing if bean pods are allowed to reach maturity.

    Over-mature beans loose their bright green color and become pithy and tough.

    Do not pick beans while the plants are wet if it can be avoided. Wet bean plants are ripe for the transmission of disease. Harvest and remove from the field any overly mature pods that may have been missed earlier.

    Dry Beans: Leave the plants alone and let the bean pods dry right on the plant until late fall. If the climate has high humidity or your crop is in danger of being blanketed by snow, pull the plants and hang them upside down in a shed or other protected location with good air circulation.

    Common Problems


    Anthracnose, Bacterial Blight, Mosaic, Rust, Downy Mildew


    Mexican Bean Beetles, Aphids, Cabbage Loopers, Corn Earworms, European Corn Borers, Japanese Beetles

    Bean, Stringless Blue Lake