Mulching Snap Beans
Bush or pole, snap beans do best when they have some type of mulch covering the soil over their roots. Mulch discourages weeds and moderates soil temperatures. In the early season, black plastic mulch with holes punched into it will warm the soil and increase early growth. Later, as the summer approaches, an organic mulch such as chopped leaves, grass clippings, hay or straw spread about 3 to 4 inches thick over the black plastic or on the bare soil will cool the soil. Mulches also help retain soil moisture by blocking evaporation and discouraging runoff when it rains.
For more information see the file on Mulching The Vegetable Garden.
Watering Snap Beans
Snap beans need about 1 inch of water per week either from rainfall or your watering. Keep the soil evenly moist, especially during germination and from flower opening to the setting of pods. Plant foliage will signal stress, wilting when it is too dry. If it is too hot and dry blossoms (drop)off and pods either do not form or shrivel and drop. Water the soil at midday to cool it and use mulch (See below). Porous hose irrigation systems hooked up to mechanical or computer watering timers are very effective for delivering water in the vegetable garden. However, be careful not to overwater. Waterlogging for even a day or two stunts plants and causes them to (drop)pods. Do not wet leaves when watering, to avoid spreading fungus diseases. In rainy climates, use raised beds to improve drainage.
For more information see the file Watering The Vegetable Garden
Fertilizing Snap Beans
Snap bean plants are not heavy feeders. In fact, too much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, causes them to favor leaves over pod production. Work a slow-acting granular fertilizer into the soil when you prepare it for planting. This should be sufficient for the season. Follow the instructions on the product label.
Providing Support For Snap Beans
Bush Beans - Bush beans do not absolutely require support, but they will benefit from some type of support to keep them from flopping over in heavy summer rains. String lines of wire or twine 8 inches apart the length of the row. Wind them around 3 foot stakes set every 5 or 6 feet. The beans will be cleaner and easier to harvest.
Pole Beans - Pole beans definitely require support. It is wise to set supports up prior to planting so you do not disturb the roots of the growing plants later. Use sturdy stakes, at least 8 feet tall or a stout trellis. If you grow pole beans, we recommend growing them vertically on a trellis rig of some sort. Trellises offer two great advantages over letting the plants just sprawl all over the place: One, they save lots of garden space, and two, you’ll get more beans. The bean pods hang down and tend to be longer and straighter and they have fewer disease and insect problems. The best rule is to set up your trellis before you plant your beans. You can train the plants up vertical stakes, a meshwork design, an A-frame, whatever works to support the plants. The trellis should be at least 6 feet tall. Wide trellis netting allows you to pick beans from both sides of the trellis.
Establish one stake per hill of pole bean plants, or use several stakes lashed together at the top as a teepee for support of many plants. Pound all stakes or trellis supports at least a foot into the soil. Fasten nylon mesh netting or garden twine to make a trellis, or lash poles together for a “teepee.” When the tender young vines are tall enough, coax them onto their support by twining their growing tips clockwise around the netting or stake.
For more information see the file Vertical Gardening
Plant Health Insurance – For Better Production
There are several relatively new organic products available that when applied to green bean plants as a foliar spray, the disease resistance of the plant increases considerably and the plant’s ability to resist pest insects also goes way up. In addition these products help insure the best health of the plant which leads to the largest fruit with the highest nutrition possible at harvest.
Two products serve this benefit –They are Vegetable Thrive and Liquid Kelp. You get the results if you foliar feed these two products on all the leaves of the green bean plants once a month until harvest is completed.
Growing Tricks For Snap Beans
Interplanting Snap Beans: Snap beans are comfortable just about anywhere--besides the vegetable bed, bush beans can go in among other garden plants such as corn, or even among ornamental plants such as peonies, daylilies or small shrubs. Pole beans can be planted among other vining plants.
Mist The Flowers To Get More Beans: When your snap beans are blooming, spray them with a fine mist of water to encourage pollination and increased pod set.