Pole beans are another type of beans, similar to bush beans in taste, but the growth habit sets them apart. Pole beans are climbing vines and need a support, trellis or fence on which to climb.
Planting Pole Beans in the Garden
Pole beans usually take longer to mature than bush beans, making them an excellent choice for long-season gardening areas. Pole beans also tend to produce more overall than bush beans so that’s the benefit of the longer growing season.
Pole beans should be planted about 4-6” apart with rows that are 3′ apart. I tend to place my rows closer together in other areas of the garden, but my trellis is 3-4′ apart making it a good choice for growing pole beans. Many people grow pole beans up a series of bamboo stakes tied together at the top like a teepee – making a great shady spot during the summer for children to hide a play.
Plan for about 3-5 plants per person in your family for pole beans. Plant seeds directly outdoors when soil temperature is 60 degrees.
Caring for Pole Beans Through the Growing Season
In the spring, put up your garden supports. I recommend setting up your stakes or trellis first, before planting the pole beans. Plant your pole bean seeds around the trellis, and then thin as needed once seedlings appear. That way you don’t disturb growing plants trying to install your trellis, stakes or support.
In the summer, check your mulch. A good layer of mulch can help preserve water and keep the pole beans evenly moist throughout the hottest part of the growing season. Apply a natural fertilizer if you want, such as kelp or compost tea. Check the vines often to make sure your beans don’t get too ripe on the vine if you’re harvesting for sugar snaps and early beans.
Nothing beats the taste of beans fresh off the vine. Easy to grow and good producing, pole beans are a great way to use vertical space in the home garden.