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Much like other vegetables, growing climbing beans such as runner beans, dwarf beans, broad beans, and peas is so easy that anyone can do it.
Climbing beans can be grown directly in the soil, in containers or pots, in raised beds, or in plots. They grow well in a sunny position with good fertile loose soil and just need watering, fertilizing, and weeding now and again.
This guide will break down everything you need to know about the process so that you can soon enough have your own wonderful patch of delicious climbing beans.
These are my homegrown beans from last year.
Materials You'll Need
Here are some of the main elements you need to grow climbing beans:
- Multipurpose or homemade compost: It does not have to be special compost, as long as it is good compost.
- Grow More fertilizer: I like putting this with the compost. It is a slow-release fertilizer that can be bought at Poundland or garden centers.
- Seeds: These should be for climbing beans, but you can also use seeds for dwarf beans, runner beans, or broad beans.
- Water: It is very important to water the beans regularly after planting and during the growing period. Be careful not to overwater though.
- Stakes, canes or sticks, twigs, dried Chinese bamboo sticks, ropes, or strings: These are used for the beans to climb up so that they will have something to hold them up high. These sticks can be used when the plants are about 4–5 inches tall. You can make a wigwam/tunnel or criss-cross the sticks and train the beans to go up them.
- Chicken dung or pellets: In my country of the Philippines, gardeners like my parents use this mixed with compost before planting the beans. It promotes healthy growth for the beans and bountiful harvests. It can be smelly—but they sell some at Poundland, and it does not smell much when it comes in pellets.
- Containers or pots: You can grow beans in containers or small pots if you haven't got the space to grow the beans.
The Best Place to Grow Climbing Beans
The best place to grow beans is on the ground with good, fertile, loose soil. They can be planted directly in the plot, in a pot or container with compost, in a raised bed, in a greenhouse, or anywhere in the garden. Just make sure that there is enough sunlight and loose soil.
Some gardeners grow the seeds first in a seed growing tray, but I find it is better if I grow them directly wherever I want to grow them.
If you are a first-time gardener, it might be best to try planting in pots or containers first. Then as you become more confident, maybe you can try it in plots or raised beds.
I tried planting beans in all places this year. I planted some direct in the soil or ground, in containers or pots, in raised beds, in the plots, and in a greenhouse to see which would be more successful. The ones I planted in raised beds produced the most beans, while the beans in the containers also did quite well.
When to Put Up Support or Canes for Climbing Beans
When the bean plant is about 4–5 inches tall, it is time to put up some form of support like canes, twigs, or strings to keep the beans upright. You can tell that the beans are ready to climb when you see the grippers come out from the plant in between the leaf and stem. I call them grippers because the plant uses them to grip the canes, twigs, strings, or ropes as it grows upwards.
Another way of providing support is by setting up the canes before planting the beans. Then you can just plant the beans around the supports. Personally, I find it better for me to stake the bean plants after planting, when the plant have grown to about 4–5 inches tall.
Both ways are acceptable though, and it all depends on how you like it better. Why not try both ways and see which works better for you!
When to Harvest the Beans
The beans are ready for harvesting when the pods are full of seeds. If you would rather harvest them early, however, you can begin to do so when you can actually see there are beans formed inside the pod.
It is generally best to let the plant mature a little bit before harvesting though. If you want bean seeds saved for the next planting season, you can leave the bean seeds and pods to mature and dry until they turn yellow in color before you harvest them. Then just keep them dry in a jam jar for future planting. That is what I do instead of buying new seeds, which saves me money.
As a general rule, it is better to harvest the beans once or twice a week to encourage more production of them. The more you harvest the beans, the more often the plant produces more flowers, and then more beans.
When you are fed up with the same kind of beans, you can swap seeds with gardener friends if they have other types of bean seeds that you have not tried growing before—or you can buy cheap bean seeds from Poundland for only a pound.
Uses of Climbing Beans
- Beans make good accompaniments to many meals, such as: stir fries, roast dinners, adobos, stewed vegetables, meat casseroles, spring rolls, and roasted vegetables. Sometimes they taste great with warm or cold salads as well. Beans go well with any meal, really!
- I also like fried green beans, as they are very tasty and good for vegetarians. I like stir frying beans with garlic and eating it with rice if I get feed up with meat.
- You can also let the beans mature and use them for stews or casseroles of any kind, like beef, pork, lamb, or chicken stew—especially if the dish is cooked in a slow cooker.
- If you happen to produce too many beans, you can blanche them, put them in small bags, and store them in the freezer for future use.
- If you still have an overly abundant harvest, you can leave some to ripen and sell them as seeds. Lots of gardeners would surely like to buy and plant all different kinds of beans. You can even sell them on the internet or in your local town market.
© 2014 Linda Bryen
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on October 17, 2020:
Thank you, Mr. Jasper for your comment.
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on May 28, 2020:
Check out my "chopsticks bean poles", You've got to love them for use year after year for the pole beans.
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on September 26, 2018:
So we have things in common then Elizabeth. I am sorry to hear about the fire and that you have to move out leaving your garden behind and your vegetables. I just like growing any vegetables that I like really. Even potted fruits I grow them like blueberries. I grew up in a farm with my parents who are farmers. We even used to grow rice and sweet potatoes because that is our staple foods.
Elizabeth P. Figueroa from 357 Jefferson Avenue Staten Island NY 10306 on September 26, 2018:
I grow different things. I grow, tomatoes, potatoes, green and red peppers, beets. This year I had a full garden but there was a fire next door to where I live and it just ruin me psychology and physically since I had to move out. But thanks to my dad I could grow quite a bit if I have the seeds.
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on September 24, 2018:
Thank you Elizabeth for your lovely comment. I do grow my own beans so I really know how to grow them. We have been growing beans since I was a child so I learnt a lot from my parents.
Elizabeth P. Figueroa from 357 Jefferson Avenue Staten Island NY 10306 on September 23, 2018:
That is an absolutely awesome article on green beans. You have some awesome information and photos. Great Job
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on July 17, 2018:
Hi! Audrey, thank you so much for commenting on my climbing beans. I love this vegetable so much that I grow it all the time for my own consumption. Vegetables are getting dearer now so I grow my own to save money as well. Thank you once more. Have a good day too.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 13, 2018:
When I was a child our yard was full of climbing beans. I would break off a few and eat them raw. Your pictures are so nice. Like you, I stir-fry the beans with garlic and olive oil. So delicious!
Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on February 25, 2018:
Hi! bhernahdeth, thank you for your comment.
bhernahdeth on November 05, 2015:
Hi Linda, nice post. I have bean seeds and I'll try planting it on a pot.
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on June 19, 2015:
Thank you Akriti Mattu for your kind comment.
Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on June 19, 2015:
This is a very good post. I am also growing beans in my balcony. Voted up :)
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on May 27, 2015:
Thank you again monia for your kind comment. I like to grow my own vegetables because I enjoy gardening. It is my hobby and I like sharing my vegetables to my friends too.
monia ben saad from In my Dream on May 27, 2015:
Nice idea and nice thinking , hhh i never thought that something like this is effective . thank you for sharing this .
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on February 18, 2015:
Thank you Patsybell for your kind comment. I just love my vegetables.
Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, SEMO on February 18, 2015:
I think beans are a good choice and I like your variety. It inspires me. ^+
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on February 06, 2015:
Hi! Billybuc, thank you for your kind comment and for visiting my hubs. I love growing my own vegetables like you do. I like your urban gardens and your chickens, they remind me of home.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2015:
We evidently live in the perfect climate for pole beans because we are inundated with them each summer. I mean we have so many that they last us the entire year after giving away some. Loved your article about them; I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to start a veggie garden.
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on January 28, 2015:
Thank you peachpurple for your kind comment. I hope the weather gets warmer then I could start doing my gardening. Thank you for voting me.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 28, 2015:
first, i must remake my garden before i could do that, voted beautiful
Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on January 21, 2015:
Thank you Maureen for your lovely comment. I just thought of doing this hub because last year my beans really did well. I can't wait for the nice weather to come again so that I will start gardening again. I have neglected my garden at the moment as it is so cold out there nowadays.
travmaj from australia on January 20, 2015:
Hello Linda - I missed this post. I'm really into beans and often cook my own 'baked beans' from dried borlotti beans. Delicious.
I must take your advice and try to grow some other varieties. Thank you for this. I love your gardening hubs. Cheers...