For reliability and yield, you can't beat pole beans.

For reliability and yield, you can't beat pole beans. You'll need some kind of support, of course, so that's a little extra work, but the trade-off is more exposure to sunlight and ease of picking. And because they grow up rather than out, they use space efficiently.

What pole beans want:

They enjoy a fairly nutritional soil (not necessarily excessively fertile) that's situated in an area that receives full sun. I always toss compost into the area where my seeds will be planted and after the seedlings are several inches tall I add mulch. Seeds should be watered lightly until the seedlings pop up. Once the seedlings emerge, keep the soil moist at all times.

Pole beans should be watered moderately but once they begin to flower, kick up the watering a notch until the beans are harvested.  Speaking of harvesting; bean production will be at its best if you collect your green bean bounty regularly. Pole beans tend to stay tender on the vine longer than bush beans, but for the best flavor don't push it.

How to plant pole beans:

Beans can be started indoors several weeks before the last frost date, but they do so well planted directly in the garden that I don't bother starting them early. Plant your seeds about 1 inch deep (or twice as deep as they are long) once the soil reaches 60 to 70 degrees (the warmer the better). If you're planting them at the base of a trellis, plant them about 3 inches apart from one another. When I'm building a tee-pee, I plant the seeds a couple of inches apart in a circle around the base of each pole.

3 Favorite Pole Bean Varieties

Rattlesnake bean

Runner bean

Romano bean

How to harvest pole beans:

Bean production will be at its best if you collect your green bean bounty regularly. Pole beans tend to stay tender on the vine longer than bush beans, but for the best flavor don't push it.

Get cooking with pole beans

Green Beans with Brown Butter & Pecans
Photo/Illustration: 
FineCooking.com
Stir-Fried Green Beans with Ginger and Black Bean Sauce
Photo/Illustration: 
FineCooking.com

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