Pole Beans, Bush Beans, and Say What?

Pole beans are the most noticeable beans that the home grower plants. The gorgeous way their tendrils gracefully grab onto a support and the sheer height they can achieve makes them a focal point in any garden.

Red Runner beans and the purple podded pole types are some of the most colorful examples you can add to your garden.

For fresh eating pole types are great, because they produce a smaller quantity of fruit at a time, but continue on until the frost. Since they grow vertically, they take up less space than their bush type counterparts.

Pole types can easily grow 8 ft. high and more.

Pole types can easily grow 8 ft. high and more.

There are more varieties of bush beans to choose from than pole; and if you plan on succession planting and/or preserving your crop, they may be a better choice for you. Bush beans will produce more beans in a short period of time than pole beans do, so you have enough for canning, freezing or dehydrating.

If you like to have a selection of beans to store for winter meals, look into bush beans. We especially love dry beans which are easy to grow and a cinch to store.

Bush beans with nary a tendril in sight.

Bush yellow wax beans with not a tendril in sight.

Probably the most confusing thing for gardeners planting beans, is when the packet describes the plant as a bush type and they find tendrils growing.
“Why are my bush beans trying to climb?” is a question we not only had to find an answer to ourselves, but since then have been asked many times.

Some beans are what is known as ‘Half Runner’ beans, simply a bush type that does produce a tendril, albeit a short one. Often the plants will cling on to one another for support, and really there is nothing you need to do but let them grow.

We planted this bed with beans after the voles took off with all but one cantaloupe, and unfortunately never took the time to note which bean seeds they are. We are suspecting it is the Black Valentine, as they are a half-runner type.

Half Runner beans produce a short tendril, confusing many gardeners.

Runner beans produce a short tendril, confusing many gardeners.

Yeah, keeping better notes… another lesson learned the hard way.

August 20, 2013  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Beans

One Response

  1. Kim - August 26, 2013

    Squash bugs…can;t wait to hear how you hopefully ended them. Enjoy your time away~

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