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How To Grow Pole Beans

Growing Pole Beans In Your Backyard or Garden

Pole beans are a garden favorite. These bountiful plants come in numerous varieties and are easy to grow. They’re also easier to pick than bush beans, because the vines grow straighter and taller on their staking support structures. Choose from our many seed varieties, and add some to your garden this year.

Planting
Plant pole beans when the danger of frost has passed. These warm weather vegetables need a soil temperature of 60 to 65 degrees. That could occur as early as April in southern climate zones and as late as June in cooler northern regions.

Don’t start them from seed inside, as beans don’t like to be transplanted. Never soak bean seed beans prior to planting, as it hampers germination.

A plot with full sun and rich, deeply worked soil is perfect for pole beans. The soil needs a pH level of 6.5. Avoid fertilizing by enriching the soil prior to planting.

Plant seeds one to two inches deep in rows that are six to eight inches apart. Space the rows 30 to 48 inches apart. Avoid crowding plants and allow for adequate air circulation.

Plant seeds every two to four weeks until early August to ensure a continuous harvest.

Pole beans can grow to be 10 feet or taller. Account for the space requirements of the staking support structures. Check their location, too, so they won’t later shade other plants from the sun.

Germination requires temperatures of 70 degrees to 80 degrees. Seedlings emerge in eight to 10 days. Depending on the variety, pole beans take 65 to 80 days to mature.

Support structures
Put the bean support structures into place before planting to avoid damaging the bean plants’ roots.

Poles are the most common, and roughened poles help the vines grow upward. Bean teepees are made from bamboo poles or saplings. Lash them together at one end and spread the untied ends out a few feet apart on the ground. Trellises are another simple way to support bean vines.

Talk to your Southern States dealer about the best planting methods for the seed variety and structure you’ve chosen.

Watering
Water early in the day and avoid getting the foliage wet. Pole beans require consistent moisture of about one inch per week, particularly during flowering and pod development. More watering is necessary during extremely hot and dry weather.

Retain moisture with straw, grass clippings or composted leaves.

Harvesting
Pole beans are ready to harvest one to two weeks after flowering. Harvest them when the pods are firm, smooth and crisp, but before the seed in the pod has developed fully. Be careful, though, not to break the brittle stems and branches.

They take longer to mature, but pole beans produce for several weeks. Regular picking keeps the plants producing.

Weeds, pests and diseases
Pole beans benefit from regular and shallow hoeing to control weeds.

Common pole bean pests are beetles, aphids, leafhoppers, seed corn maggot and spider mites.

Pole beans also are susceptible to diseases, typically wilt or bacterial diseases. Never work with wet plants. Doing so can spread diseases.

At the end of the season, rake up the plants’ debris. Crop rotation is essential to preventing diseases from lingering in the soil year-to-year. Buy new seed annually, too, to prevent seed borne diseases.

Discuss appropriate weed, pest and disease control products with your Southern States dealer.

Do you have pole bean stories? Tell us what works for you and what didn't in our comments section below.

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