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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Shultz

Pole Beans: Expert Climbers

CULTIVARS CURRENTLY IN THE GARDEN:
  • Red Noodle Beans

  • Asparagus Long Beans

  • Kentucky Wonder Green Beans



Image by freepik Description of photo: Small horizontal bundle of green beans wrapped in twine on a brown wooden background


HISTORY

Pole beans are annual vining crops in the legume family. They probably originated in Central America, but have been cultivated for at least 6,500 years. As one of the three plants used in the Three Sisters plantings (corn, squash, and beans), pole beans are believed to be the last of the trio to be domesticated. This combination of beans and corn in this planting provided native tribes with a complete protein, which helped them transition from hunter-gathers to farmers.

Image by wirestock on Freepik Image description: Closeup shot of mixed brown, green, orange, white, and speckled beans on a black plate with a wooden spoon.


Scientific name: Phaseolus vulgaris Flavor: Nutty, green, earthy with smooth texture. Uses: Soups, salads, side dishes, blended for sauces and thickeners. Origin: Central America


Related: Legume family Fabaceae (beans & peas) When used as a dry grain for human consumption, the seeds are also called pulses. Companions: Corn & Squash (Three Sisters), Cucubmers, Dill, Strawberries, Carrots. Beans fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil for availability to other plants, making them desirable for garden soil and many plants. Pests: Aphids, cutworms, thrips, bean leaf beetle, powdery mildew, bean rust, fusarium and blight. Pollinators: beans self-pollinate or wind-pollinate


GROWTH & HARVEST

In Zone 7, beans are a summer crop, so plant when the risk of frost has passed. Beans germinate quickly (sometimes less than a week) and the plants immediately search nearby for climbing structures, so be sure to have trellises or arches installed when you plant the seeds. Pole beans can grow VERY tall, 9-12 feet in favorable conditions, so be prepared with tall structures. Arches can be a very attractive way to grow climbing beans and provide shade for other heat/sun sensitive crops like lettuces. When growing the three sisters planting, plant the corn first and let it grow a couple of weeks or until the corn can get 1-2 feet tall before planting one or two bean seeds per corn plant. After the beans emerge, plant the squash seeds.


BEANS AS FOOD

Beans are a great plant-based source of protein, fiber, iron, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They're low in fat and are considered a healthy food. Most pole beans can be eaten at two stages of growth:

  • Green: Before fully ripe as "green beans", the whole pods are sautéed, steamed or eaten raw.

  • Dry: Ripened and dried on the vine as dry beans removed from pods and cooked with pork to flavor, in soups, or stored for eating later.


Dry beans can be stored for 5 years and still be viable for planting.


Hidasta Beans from SeedSavers.org grown and named after the Hidasta tribe in Missouri River Valley of North Dakota.


Black Pot Liquor Beans from Circa Plants. An heirloom from Kentucky – traditionally cooked in the 'pot liquor' - the liquid left after cooking greens or beans in a pot.




Ingredients: Green Beans

Oil

Garlic


Directions: Boil beans 4 minutes until bright green and just barely tender. Drain and toss with oil and garlic in a hot skillet.


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