As the name rightly suggests, pole beans require poles for support, as they are true vines. When compared to bush beans, pole beans are preferred, as the latter taste better and are also sweeter and tender. Pole beans are widely grown in home gardens, as they require less space and produce a better yield, in comparison to bush beans.
Pole Beans and Bush Beans
Green beans are basically categorized into pole beans and bush beans. While bush beans are shrubs, pole beans are vines. Both these types come in numerous varieties. Bush beans are shrubs that can grow to a height of around 18 to 20 inches, and produce beans all at once. In case of pole beans, the vines need to be provided with support, but they produce beans throughout the growing season. If you want a regular supply of green beans throughout the summer, you have to grow successive crops of bush beans, but this is not needed in case of pole beans. Apart from that, pole beans taste better than its counterpart. You may come across several varieties with different colors, shapes, and sizes. Even the size and shape of the pods may vary with each type.
Tips for Growing Pole Beans
The site for planting this beans must have full sun and well-drained, rich soil. The location must be next to the fence, on which you can grow the vines. Or else, there must be enough space to install poles. Once the location is decided, till the soil, and add compost and other manure. Ideally, the pH of the soil must be between 6 to 6.5. It is always better to plant pole beans after the last frost. The soil must get warm, before you plant the seeds. You may either plant them on hills or in rows.
Create a small mount of soil with a diameter of six inches and a height of around three inches. If there are more than one soil mount, then make sure that they are at least eight feet apart. Mark a circle (with a diameter of 4 feet) around the soil mount. Dig six holes at equal distances, along the circumference of the circle. The holes must have a depth of around 20 to 25 inches. Collect some 6 to 8 feet bamboo poles and fix the poles in the holes. Now join the top ends of the poles with a plastic zip tie. Your teepee trellis for the pole beans vines is ready. Repeat the process for other soil mounts.
Growing and Harvesting
Once you are done with the trellis, plant four to five seeds on each hill. Lightly water the soil for around two weeks, which is the usual time taken by these seeds to germinate. Once the seedlings appear, let them grow for a while, before you remove one or two weak ones from each mount. As they grow, train the vines up the poles. It will be better to retain the moisture of the soil, throughout the growing season. Mulching is very much appreciated in case of pole beans, as it helps to retain moisture. Moderate watering will be sufficient for the plants till flowering. As you start harvesting, deeply water the soil once a week. Harvesting is best done, when the pods inside the beans are not that big. Avoid harvesting after watering, as this may make the plants prone to fungal infections. Pluck off the beans, instead of pulling at them. The latter method may harm the plants.
In short, growing pole beans at home is not a difficult task. These plants will provide you with fresh supply of green beans throughout the summer. Cooking these beans is also very easy. Boil them and serve it with butter, or else, saute them with olive oil and serve with salt and pepper.