I love green beans fresh from the garden. Four or five varieties are always included in my spring garden seed order. In the past few years, it’s been getting more difficult to get down to bush bean level to pick the summer bounty. A young friend observed my tomatoes growing on four-foot-tall sturdy square metal cages and suggested that I grow my beans that way too. Wow – what a great idea!
I chose one of my veggie garden’s three-foot-wide beds and placed the cages down the middle about 18 inches apart. Next, I planted pole bean seeds (the climbing type of green bean) 3″ apart and 2″ deep around the inside perimeter of each cage and watered well. Within a week the strong, green seed leaves were popping up all over. As they grew I gently guided the twining tendrils around the metal cage supports.
When the beans appeared they were much easier to harvest and stayed nice and clean since they were too high to be touched by soil. An added benefit was that the Japanese beetles, which in previous years had almost chewed my bush beans down to the ground, stayed on the top leaves of the pole beans. This made it very easy to hand-pick the nasty critters in the evening and throw them in a container half filled with soapy water. Despite the beetles, my harvest was HUGE! I will definitely use this method of growing green beans from now on.
My favorite pole bean varieties for the northeast: ‘Rattlesnake’ – mottled purple color on green make this bean easy to see on the vine & it’s delish; ‘Kentucky Wonder’ – an heirloom variety best picked young; ‘Romano’ – a wide, flat, meaty Italian-type bean with big yields. I buy these wonderful beans and many other garden seeds from David’s Garden Seeds.