ALL ABOUT BEANS: Vertical vs. horizontal growing

Depending on the bean variety you have you will practice vertical or horizontal growing techniques. Beans are available in four growth patterns: bush, pole, runner, and half-runner.  Bush bean plants are bush-like in form and are self-supporting. Pole beans have vines that grow up structures and appreciate stakes or trellises. Runner beans are cool weather condition pole beans and half-runners have a growing habit that falls between pole beans and bush beans.

Bush beans grow horizontally and should be planted about two feet apart to allow healthy growth. This spacing also ensures you are able to weed the area properly and give the plants enough air circulation which helps minimize mold or fungus risk.

Pole beans have stems that are “runners.” Runners like to grow up and on guiding structures and they have a tendency to grow horizontally when given the option. The garden bed where you plant your pole beans should be outfitted with garden stakes or cages before sowing seeds so that you do not damage the seeds or seedling plants.

As pole bean varieties grow they will be guided up the cage or stakes and create vertical gardens rather than a bush bean horizontal garden. You can assist your pole beans by using jute twine to tie the initial vine. Make sure the jute is loose enough that the vine can grow out of it to wrap around the structure. You can cut the jute when the vine has created its own support.

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