Pole Beans

How to Grow Pole Beans:

Gardening Mistakes, how do you properly grow pole beans, do pole beans need fertilizer, how often do they need to be wateredPole beans are one of the three sisters grown together by Native Americans. Corn, beans and pumpkins all grew together and helped each other beneficially.  They are native to the Americas, but spread to Europe after the Spanish Conquest. Now they are a great addition to the modern diet, and can still be grown up corn as long as you do not plant too many beans to corn ratio- then they will take over the corn. See Gardening Mistakes for more. Adding pole beans to a garden can also add a nice vertical effect to the garden and can be very aesthetically pleasing.

Planting and Growing:

Generally Pole Beans will produce more beans per plant then the Bush type, and they grow upwards, making them easier to pick. The vines will climb poles, twine, fences and even other plants. They make a great addition to the garden, adding tasty produce as well as ascetics.

In cooler or dryer climates, beans can be sprouted before sowing outside.  Sprouting gives the beans a head start and allows you to determine which plants will be the strongest and healthiest.  About five days before the soil is ready for planting (typically two weeks after last frost), place a damp paper towel on a cookie sheet and spread beans so they are not touching one another.  Then, cover them with another damp paper towel and set on a kitchen counter. Spray them with water every day to keep the paper towels moist. When sprouts and a single root appear, they are ready to sow outdoors.

Start the watering off low and increase as it flowers, and then water heavy when the beans start producing.Pole Bean, how easy is it to grow pole beans, how do you preserve pole beans, when do you harvest pole beans

Pole Beans can be planted in hills of 4 to 5 plants around a beanpole or in rows with plants spaced 3 inches apart next to a trellis.  You can make an easy trellis by placing poles on each end of your row.  String twine every 5-6 inches (12-15 cm) up the poles. Poles should be at least 6 feet tall. Guide the bean vine between the twine, and check them often to keep them from going off in another direction.

As mentioned above, planting beans with corn will provide a natural trellis for the bean vines and nitrogen for the corn from the roots of the beans.

Pole Beans add a fun dimension to your garden for your kids. Grow them in a corner with trellises or twine in a T-Pee shape with an opening so your kids can climb through. There are many fun ways to Pole Beans; really, your imagination is the limit with this fun legume.

Harvesting and Preserving:

Beans can be picked at any time during the growing process; however, picking them when they are small will result in a sweeter taste and a smoother texture. If they start to bulge with beans, you have waited too long, and they will be tough and stringy.  Also, frequent picking will stimulate the bush to produce new flowers and you will harvest a larger crop.

Many times, beans are grown dry and store for use later.  If this is your goal, wait until the fruit and plant is completely mature and dry. They need a lot of air circulation to dry, so plant them in slightly wider rows. If rainy weather is forecast during the drying process, simply pull the whole plant and hang it by the roots inside your shed, garage, or home. When dried, shell them and spread the beans on a piece of paper for a few days to finish the process.  Store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.

Pole beans make an excellent frozen product if you have too many to eat. They freeze better than Bush beans, and they are a bit more forgiving if you do not pick them right away. Prepare them for freezing by washing them and cutting off the ends. Then, pat them dry. Pack in freezer bags and press out air and seal, then place in the freezer. They will stay good for 6 months this way.

For storage up to 12 months, you should blanch them. Heat water for blanching, then wash and trim beans, and pat dry. Pack in boilable bags and press out air and seal. You can add butter and seasonings, if desired. Blanch the bags in boiling water for 6 minutes for young beans and 8 for older beans. Cool and dry bags before placing in freezer.

You can also freeze them by blanching the beans before you place them in the bags, but I do not recommend this method, as it will decrease the quality of the end product. The less water they have contact with the better the texture and flavor will be.  Trim the beans and heat water for blanching. Wash the beans and steam-blanch, 1 lb at a time; 4 ½ minutes for young beans, and 6 minutes for older beans. Cool the beans in ice water and then drain and pack in freezer bags. Press out as much air as you can, seal and freeze.

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