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Planting Organic Pole and Bush Beans

Posted May 30, 2022

Green beans like warmth and sun and dislike wind and cold. A sudden frost, either in the spring or at the end of the year, will freeze them and kill them. They grow best in a fertile soil with plenty of well-rotted compost dug into it, and one that is neutral to mildly acidic.  

Beans will produce their own nitrogen once they have a good root system, but to get them off to a good start adding small amount will be beneficial. One of my favorite personal mixes for bush and pole beans alike is Neem Seed Meal, Kelp Meal and Greensand, equal parts, with a small amount of mycorrhizae. I have used this combination for years on beans with great success. I use 2 cups per 15 square foot (3’x5’).  

Bush beans do not require any support, as they stay small and bushy. You can hill up mulch around the base if you live in a windy area. Bush beans will begin to produce in as little as 50 days, depending on the variety. Bush beans are determinate. They produce lots of beans for 3-5 harvests, and then the plant will lose its vigor. Pole beans need some type of support. Bamboo trellis, bean towers, fences or cattle panels all work fine for them. Pole beans will produce in as little as 60 days, depending on the variety, but will continue to harvest until the first frost. They are known as indeterminate. Continue to harvest both types of beans every few days to insure they continue to produce new crops. Otherwise they will put all their energy into seed.  

  1. Work compost into soil.
  2. Sprinkle fertilizer over surface and slightly mix into the top 2-3” of soil.
  3. Make a small 1 1/2” trench and sprinkle bean seeds in, spacing seeds 2” apart. Rows, 6-12” apart.  
  4. Water bed softly with a water breaker (yellow head) so not to move the soil.
  5. Keep soil moist, but not soggy. Be sure to water regularly, especially as soon as the flowers appear.
  6. Mulch around plants to retain moisture once they are 4-6” tall.
  7. Harvest beans every few days when the beans are young, slender, and their tastiest, and before they become overgrown and stringy.

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