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The term beans can mean SO many things! Green beans, soy beans, dried beans, broad beans – and the list goes on. In this article, I will not only tell you how to grow beans in containers but also talk about the beans based on the plant itself-bush beans, pole beans or runner beans. Any of the previously mentioned beans come in all three varieties.
Do you love the idea of growing beans in containers? Me too! It is a major source of my protein. Because of that, I found The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener Joey Baird, who gives a hands on demo and expert advice on how to plant bean seeds in a container.
What is the difference between a bush bean and pole bean?
Let’s first talk briefly about the difference between bush and pole beans as this makes a big impact on where and how you grow them. Bush beans grow only 1 to 2 feet high. They also prefer warmer temperatures. Since they only grow 1 to 2 feet, they do not require as much labor as pole beans.
Growing Pole Beans in Containers
Pole beans can grow 5 to 6 feet high. Due to this, they need to be planted with some kind of support such as a trellis or pole. You will need to “train” them to use your support. i.e. twine them around the structure you want them to grow on.
If not, they may go where they want-including to other plants. The benefits of pole beans are they take up less space since they just want to grow vertically. They do take longer to mature and prefer cooler weather.
Growing Runner Beans in Containers
Additionally, there are runner beans. They grow to about 3 feet high and are grown more like a bush bean. However, if they are strong producers it would be beneficial to train them up a trellis.
This video is applicable to growing all beans by seed. I am currently growing Calypso Beans which are bush beans-so if you are limited in vertical space like I am, all is NOT lost. Incidentally, Joey Baird’s video talks about growing bush beans in containers.
Growing green beans in a pot (or any bean for that matter)
What kind of pot should you use? Joey is using a pop-up raised bed that is 2ft x 3ft x8in. Other containers can be used as well. Try to keep the same depth though.
When to plant. The best time of year to grow beans are in the spring when the soil is higher than 60 degrees for a week or more. They like full, hot sun and lots of drainage.
What kind of beans do you plant? The sky is the limit here! Joey planted the very attractive Cranberry Beans.
How do you plant them?Most bush beans reach a height of 18 to 24 inches so make sure you are giving them plenty of space to grow.
Beans should be spaced every 6 inches with a one inch depth. The soil should not be less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. After planting the seeds, cover them up with the soil.
What’s next? Water them and watch or consider covering the soil with dried leaves to retain the moisture of the soil and warmth.
More tips on how to grow beans in pots
Yolanda VanVeen of eHow Gardening gives us a few more critical tips for growing beans in containers.
How often do you water? Yolanda, a Botanical Garden Consultant, recommends we water regularly but make sure there is really good drainage so the roots do not sit in water. I recommend that you check by sticking your finger down 3-4 inches in the soil. If it feels dry, then it is time to water again.
TIP: If you are growing pole beans, make sure they have a trellis or support to climb up. 6-8 feet is the optimum height for your trellis or poles.
When do you want to harvest? By late summer to fall, the plant will begin producing beans. You do not want to pick them while they are green though.
Wait until they are brown and look dried out on the stem. Then it is time to cut them off and harvest.
What to do with the plant after you harvest? After you have cut all the beans off, then cut the entire plant down and compost it. You will start this entire process again the following spring!
There you go! You now have the basics for how to grow beans in containers. Gardening is an amazing thing, yes? With diligence and patience, we can go right out our back door and pick out our dinner ingredients! Love! Love!