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Bush bean spacing

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Bush bean spacing

Post  Janas on 4/20/2013, 9:44 am

I've gardened in soil for years (decades, actually! I'm old! lol) and I'm befuddled by the SFG spacing of 9 bush beans to a square foot. How do they possibly squeeze into such a small space? Most bush beans I've grown could fill a square foot with just one productive plant. Are you pruning them to make them fit? Thanks for your help!

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/20/2013, 10:48 am

I've found that 9 bush beans per square foot works quite well. Never fear, just follow the guidelines. Try it, and see for yourself!

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  Andrea13 on 4/20/2013, 11:00 am

If you are doing multiple squares of bush beans, is it best to have them all in a row, or is that not necessary?

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/20/2013, 11:08 am

Because of pests and powdery mildew, I'd try to keep the bush bean plants in non-adjacent squares. Think patchwork quilt.

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  Andrea13 on 4/20/2013, 1:31 pm

Thanks Donna...that's very helpful and actually works better for me that way! Smile Appreciate the help!

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  brainchasm on 4/20/2013, 2:46 pm

Just putting this out there...

I planted a square with nine spots of Dragon Tongue bean, with inoculant.

Only two ever came up.

And now they're uniformly yellow. Sad



Reading up, apparently it can be a phase they go through as they finish off the resources in their seeds leaves, and have to bridge the gap to being able to get nitrogen from their roots. Usually, it passes.

Still not happy about it though. thinking

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  Goosegirl on 4/20/2013, 4:49 pm

@brainchasm wrote:Just putting this out there...

I planted a square with nine spots of Dragon Tongue bean, with inoculant.

Only two ever came up.

And now they're uniformly yellow. Sad



Reading up, apparently it can be a phase they go through as they finish off the resources in their seeds leaves, and have to bridge the gap to being able to get nitrogen from their roots. Usually, it passes.

Still not happy about it though. thinking

Shocked I have grown Dragon's Tongue beans for the last 2 years and have never had that occur, nor have I had an issue with germination. Is it possible something is up with your compost?

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/20/2013, 6:44 pm

It appears that there's quite a bit of uncomposted wood here.

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  brainchasm on 4/20/2013, 8:26 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:It appears that there's quite a bit of uncomposted wood here.
Yeah, Kellogg's N'Rich was one of my compost sources this year.

I've learned my lesson!

It does sorta serve as a nice mulch though, hah.

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  Goosegirl on 4/20/2013, 8:58 pm

That would definitely explain the yellowing - the lack of nitrogen, which is being used up by the continuing compost process!

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  brainchasm on 4/20/2013, 9:00 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:That would definitely explain the yellowing - the lack of nitrogen, which is being used up by the continuing compost process!

GG
So many other plants are soo green though! Plus, the beans are supposed to fix their own nitrogen, just like the peas. And the peas sure aren't suffering - they're rampaging up the trellis, and blooming!

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  yolos on 4/20/2013, 9:20 pm

@brainchasm wrote:
Plus, the beans are supposed to fix their own nitrogen, just like the peas.

I may be wrong here, somebody correct me if I am. But I understood that the "fixing nitrogen" was relevant for the crop you plant after the beans. It would not help the beans you are growing now ?????????????? thinking

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  landarch on 4/20/2013, 9:55 pm

I kept beans on the outside squares to keep them from crowding other plants...they have room to spill over if needed. I think picking beans is easiest around the outside edge of the bed as well. I did nine per square last year and it worked fine...Blue Lake and Contender.

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/20/2013, 10:10 pm

I'm not a fan of most Kellogg products, mostly because they generally contain too much uncomposted wood. The exception, in my opinion, is Kellogg's Patio Plus, which is good for flower beds, etc.

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  brainchasm on 4/20/2013, 10:23 pm

@yolos wrote:
@brainchasm wrote:
Plus, the beans are supposed to fix their own nitrogen, just like the peas.

I may be wrong here, somebody correct me if I am. But I understood that the "fixing nitrogen" was relevant for the crop you plant after the beans. It would not help the beans you are growing now ?????????????? thinking
It's both. It's the source of nitrogen for the beans as they grow (which is why legumes are high in protein), and when the plant dies, if you were to plow it back under, it would release all the nitrogen the plant had, plus the nodes on the roots would release nitrogen as well. Smile

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legume#Nitrogen-fixing_ability

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/7/2013, 11:58 am

@brainchasm wrote:
@yolos wrote:
@brainchasm wrote:
Plus, the beans are supposed to fix their own nitrogen, just like the peas.  

I may be wrong here, somebody correct me if I am.  But I understood that the "fixing nitrogen" was relevant for the crop you plant after the beans.  It would not help the beans you are growing now ?????????????? thinking
It's both. It's the source of nitrogen for the beans as they grow (which is why legumes are high in protein), and when the plant dies, if you were to plow it back under, it would release all the nitrogen the plant had, plus the nodes on the roots would release nitrogen as well. Smile

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legume#Nitrogen-fixing_ability

 This is my understanding as well BC. I'm not particularly interested in the whole "nitrogen fixing capabilities" in soil, but I have always heard that beans don't really need much nitrogen in the soil as they pull nitrogen from the air.
 Pretty interesting, I've had the exact same issue as you with my beans which are also Dragons Tongue, and some yard long asparagus beans. My beans looked exactly like yours, but only in one of my beds. This one bed contains about 90% purchased compost as I ran out of my own this year. Evil or Very Mad  Oddly enough, I also have 6 pepper plants in the same bed that appear to be just fine. I don't know if that's because they are still getting nutrients from the "good Mel's Mix" I originally grew them in or???? 
On a whim, I got tired of looking at my yellow bean seedlings and whipped up a batch of fish emulsion. I mixed 1 Tbsp to a gallon of water and applied it to the soil at the base of the bean plants only. The beans greened right up and have finally shown some growth Very Happy 
I'm a firm believer in properly made Mel's Mix and making your own compost. This is one of the very few times, if not the only time, I've actually witnessed fish emulsion doing some good. I'm hoping the little boost was just enough to kick the beans into gear and get them going on their own. The peppers? They still look fine, and time will tell I guess. I do know I won't run out of my own compost again! I don't like all the guess work. I suppose I could send a soil sample in for testing, but by the time I would get the results back, my current batch of compost will be done and I can top dress the entire bed, and add heaps more in the fall when I harvest the current plants.

Oh yeah, I also plant my beans 9 per square 

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  boffer on 7/7/2013, 12:40 pm


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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  camprn on 7/7/2013, 12:56 pm

That's a great thread!

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  Turan on 7/7/2013, 1:00 pm

I wonder just how well all bush beans in all localities fit into the 9 per sq.  Especially as we stretch into more unusual and heirloom varieties which grow outside of the standardization that mechanized agriculture has imposed on plant breeding. 

I used to grow various bush beans at about 12-16/sq.  I assumed 3" between plants.  Last year I gave them more room at 9/sq and I think they bushed more in response.   Production seemed the same though. 

I grew favas at 2/sq and they did well.  I grew them at 1/sq in the corn and they grew bushier and did a bit better per plant.

This year I have the dry beans planted at 4/sq with 2 squares at 9per.  So we will see.....  so far all look equally good.   Except this one corner of the box where the beans are all yellow so I just gave them a sprinkle of camilina meal (I bought that to supplement protein for the broiler chicks but it is also a high nitrogen plant sourced fertilizer and I bet would make a good compost booster).  I am guessing that corner did not get the chicken compost mixed into it.   I also suspect beans as being more sensitive to nitrogen levels than we have assumed.

I am curious about the results of poster who wondered if beans produce better in rows and was doing a comparison trial this year.  That post seemed premised on beans needing more room in one axis than we give them in squares. 

RoOster, Are the Dragon Tongue beans growing taller or bushier than other bush beans?  They have wonderful reviews but seemingly widely variable descriptions of growth habit.

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  Millenia on 7/25/2013, 4:28 pm

I'm so glad I just read this thread. I missed the fact that bush beans should be planted 9 per square. I planted them yesterday evening and now I need to go add some more seeds to my squares!

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Re: Bush bean spacing

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/25/2013, 5:48 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:
 ....snip.... I've had the exact same issue as you with my beans which are also Dragons Tongue, ..... Oddly enough, I also have 6 pepper plants in the same bed that appear to be just fine. I don't know if that's because they are still getting nutrients from the "good Mel's Mix" I originally grew them in or???? 
On a whim, I got tired of looking at my yellow bean seedlings and whipped up a batch of fish emulsion. I mixed 1 Tbsp to a gallon of water and applied it to the soil at the base of the bean plants only. The beans greened right up and have finally shown some growth Very Happy 
I'm a firm believer in properly made Mel's Mix and making your own compost. This is one of the very few times, if not the only time, I've actually witnessed fish emulsion doing some good.....
Oh yeah, I also plant my beans 9 per square 

 I've been growing Dragon's Tongue for about 4 years now. I always put them in a mixed bed of beans and always stress because the seedlings look so anemic. By the time they start putting on growth they do start turning green. When they finally make pods they seem to be as green as the rest of the beans in the bed. I have come to believe that this is a "normal" for Dragon's Tongue as purple veins are for Royal Burgundy. Everyone's mileage will vary....mine were not "slow" to grow.

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