Harvesting Pole Beans

nanaclaire(5b)July 22, 2006

Just got back from vacation, I went out to look at my vegetable garden and find that I have LOTS of beans! I have no idea WHEN I can harvest them. They're long (prob. about 6" or so). How will I know if they're ready for picking??? And, if I pick them, will more grow???

Thanks, ~Claire

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As with most vegetables, you can harvest them at any time. The younger they are, the more crisp, tender, and delicate they will be. This includes eggplant, peppers, beans, okra, leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, articokes, peas, zucchini, etc. Tomatoes and tomatillos are an exception but they are a fruit. So like most fruit, you want to ripen them on the plant.

I wouldn't generalize by length because there are hundreds of varieties of beans and all mature to different lengths. Try some at different stages of maturity and see what you like best. Most vegetable growers agree, younger is better and this is often what you will not find at the grocery.

Another benefit of harvesting your beans is that the plant will continue to be productive. The goal of a plant is to produce seed. When you harvest the beans before they get too mature, you prevent the plant from achieving it's goal, as a result, the plant continues to attempt to produce more seed which equals more beans for you. If you allow a bean to go to seed on a plant, you'll notice a dramatic decrease in bean production on the plant.

You don't say what variety you have, but I say go ahead and harvest so you can enjoy them.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 1:33PM
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Thanks Violet!

Hey, how do I know if the have "gone to seed" as you say?

I broke one of them up to see what it looked like, because for a minute there I thought it was pea pods or something b/c I could see "round balls" protruding out of the pod but it is definitely beans. LOL So how do I know when they're going to "seed"? This is my first time growing them and I just LOVE green beans and they're healthy and good for dieting.

I don't know which variety these are ...not sure it had a tag with info or not.

I'm going to pick them today and cook them today and see how they are. There were just flowers on the vines when I left for vacation about a week ago & when I came back, there were lots of beans!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 8:28AM
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If you see large bulges, they're overripe. The bulges are the bean seeds. You should pick them when the pods are smooth to very slightly swelled. You can eat 'em fine but they'll taste better smaller.

My wife and I canned 21 pints and 5 quarts last Sunday. Looks like we'll be canning again today... :-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 9:07AM
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granite(z6 NC)

If your beans are a bit past ripe, just shell out the larger ones and cook a pot of beans, taters, and "shellies."


    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 9:39AM
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I kinda thought maybe they were overripe. I just picked ALL of them to cook today. How do you "shell" out the larger ones? cut them in half and carve out the seeds? I assume?

I think this time I'll just cook them as is. Now I know what to look for. But before we left on vacation a week ago yesterday, there were only flowers on the vines. They didn't take long to grow! LOL

Thanks again!

Now what about peppers? My son grew some jalapeno peppers and other "hot" peppers. What do I look for in them to know that they're ready to pick?

I'll post a separate post on that since maybe it won't get noticed.

Thanks, ~Claire

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 10:50AM
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feldon30(N Houston (8))

Should just be able to pinch the pod or roll it with your fingers and the beans pop out of the pod.

Beans grow fast. The more your harvest, the more you get. If you let beans mature on the vine, the bean plant will think it has done its job and slow down production.

Some say you should harvest beans at about pencil thickness but that is overly generalized. As mentioned, when you can make out the individual beans inside the pod, it's getting overripe.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 2:34PM
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Obviously it depends on the variety. Won't be harvesting favas at pencil wide but works perfectly for asparagus beans. 'bout that time of year!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 12:21PM
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Would you be willing to trage for some of your beans. I have some herbs

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 5:37AM
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Don't know who your post was directed to, but requests like this should be made privately. If you click on the person's username you'll see an area to click that says Send me an email. This way the thread stays on topic. There is also the GardenWeb Seed Exchange. Many will send you seed for the cost of postage.

Here is a link that might be useful: GardenWeb Seed Exchange

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 12:27PM
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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

Claire, your jalapenos are ready to pick as soon as they've formed a pepper. Eventually, they will turn red, and need to at least be picked within a couple days of turning color. Depends on your preference for red or green jalapenos. I like to pick mine when they are green with just a blush of red starting on them, but ususally just go out and get a handful when I want to make salsa or jalapeno butter!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 1:03AM
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Personally, I prefer the bush beans to pole beans even though I have to bend over or crawl to pick them. are a vairety called Tendergreen and the big one here borders on being too big, but cooked O.K. The smaller ones in the picture are too small to pick. (move the cursor on the picture, then click the little magnifying glass with the + in it to enlarge picture).

I do not like many of the green bean varieties, my wife is the green bean fan in the family. I got on the first picking of my of beans (on the right). That is about 2/3rds of a plastic grocery bag full. My wife put some in the freezer and cooked a pot of beans with new potatoes yesterday. They were good. They are probably ready to pick again today. Pole beans continue to grow and produce longer than bush beans.

Enjoy your fresh beans.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 6:26AM
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Thanks everyone, but I don't have any pole beans this year .... in fact, don't have a veggie garden, just flowers this year.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 7:57AM
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When I left for camp this summer my pole beans were tiny and not ripe at all, but when I came back they were over ripe. I decided to let them ripen all the way and pick then when they were all dried up and ripe, but I don't know how to cook them. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 1:55PM
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I'd say shell and cook before they dry out. Shelly beans are yummy. If they are already dry, shell them and cook like you would any dry bean.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 4:39PM
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