How can I get my green beans to grow faster?

MelissaHess(5)June 1, 2012

I am growing green beans for the first time. Scarlett runners and Kentucky wonder. They were getting eaten by bunnies every time they grew some nice leaves. So I put up a wire fence that the bunnies don't get through so now they are growing and have several leaves. But don't these plants grow fast? The seeds have been in there for weeks and the plants are only about 6 inches tall? I know weather and watering make a difference and I pay attention to that. Are these just slow growing kinds of beans? I don't use any fertilizer or pesticides at all. Just dig and plant. Any tips? Thanks! Zone 5, West Central Illinois.

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Yes, fertilize them!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:09AM
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Sure, fertilizer should help and if the soil texture has little or no tilth then some bulk compost or something is needed. But the question was about bean growth. Many plants start out slowly including beans. I am not familiar with zone 5, but it must be well behind zone 7 and 9 and I would expect beans should have gone in recently or now and therefore shouldn't be that far along anyway.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:24AM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

I've noticed that they take off once the warm weather is solidly here. It's always a surprise on the day you look and notice that your bean trellis is suddenly covered!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:59AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

First, beans like all legumes, do not need nor do they tolerate much fertilizer. Legumes manufacturer their own nitrogen from the air and excess N in the soil gives you big bushy plants but with very few beans.

Second, pole and half runner varieties are not fast growing plants normally and are especially slow if given cool soil and cool air temps. That's why yours are likely slow right now and as others have said, they will kick into a growth spurt once it warms up. Already planted in zone 5 is too early IMO. Commercial growers are just now planting them here in zone 7.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Digdirt: im in zone 5 also and my plant date for beans was may 10-17. But its actually been very hot here. I think our last frost was in March.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Dig is right, guys around here have just gotten to planting soybeans, and some fields are as much along as 2 weeks, but that's the earliest beans for us this year.

Beans don't like wet feet (soggy soil for long periods) and they won't tolerate frost or cold temps. So most people wait until conditions are better than the cruel April to plant beans.

For higher bean yields try an inoculant. It's not necessary, but it is said to help dramatically. All legumes fix their nitrogen through the air, like dave said, beans have nodules on their roots where a couple different types of bacteria can "invade" the roots, and convert atmospheric N to a form of ammonia that the plant can use. I haven't used one yet, mostly because I'm afraid that I'd be up to my neck in green beans, but I'm gonna try it next year.

I planted my beans 2 weeks ago, and they are just sort of plodding along.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Hi I am just south of Springfield, IL and have had my pole beans in about 3 weeks. They are doing very nicely and I noticed today they are starting to really vine with shoots about 6" long just starting up the trellis. I know once they get that far they really zoom in the next couple weeks. It had been so warm and now a few cool days. We sit on top a hill so I just never have trouble with too wet we dry out quickly.

Another thing I noticed this year is I am often plagued with flea beetles on the first seed leaves on beans this year haven't had any. Who knows weather has been odd.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:55PM
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I live in Zone 6 in NE Oklahoma and I have been eating pole beans for two weeks or more. Mine stay at the same height for a week or two then begin climbing, and the stem will grow fast with very few small leaves. After that they will begin to leaf out and look nice.

Right now we are eating Rattlesnake and an Old Timey Tennessee Greasy, and I am growing out a purple pod and Emerite for seed. My main crop is Blue Lake Bush which were planted later and are just beginning to bloom. We have eaten a lot of beans and I have put a few in the freezer so far.

The Rattlesnake came up as volunteers in my garden and I dug them up and moved them to a large tree tub to grow up a five foot CRW cage.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:05PM
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I wish I could help but I planted my early contender back in march. I have picked about 11 gallon containers, they are starting to reflower now. But they are no where near as full of blooms as last time. I am thinking of starting some Bush Blue Lake seed and when they come up I will pull the early contender and replant with the blue lake.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:06AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I am on my 4th planting of green beans. The first planting started to produce 2 weeks ago. With the warm, dry weather we had all spring, I rolled the dice and planted the first planting on March 26th. The soil temp was in the mid 60's when we planted. I plant green beans every 3 weeks to have a steady supply for the farmers markets I attend. I usually plant about 200 row feet at each planting. Each row is 25 feet and I plant two rows in each bed.

Picture taken 2 weeks ago

First planting

How to get them to grow faster, water, sunshine and some heat.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:40AM
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Once again, Jay puts us all to shame.

Where do you get your drip tape from? I've been looking and I can't find the right stuff?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:43PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I get mine from Berry Hill.

Good prices, quick shipping.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:06AM
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Beautiful garden, Jay! Love the neatness and the plants look so happy.

I snapped a quick pick of this years pole beans this morning, they ar just really getting going up the netting. These are the very slender french types green on one side, yellow the other.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:36AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Very nice Cindy. I like the way the beans are set up.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 1:08PM
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