10) Beans in Sjef’s garden


In this tip:

  • Z)# Growing beans at warm dry weather (new)
  • A)# Plastic tunnel with green bean plants (for early harvest)
  • B)# Bean plants in May
  • C)# First beans harvested
  • D)# Course: placing stakes (to prevent blowing down)
  • E)# Stakes with bean plants
  • F)# Stepladder
  • G)# Nitrogen fixing bacteria at bean plants
  • H)# Beans in Sjef’s home back garden (August 21)
  • I)# Beans in Sjef’s allotment garden (August 24)
  • J)# Bean species used (Prelude, Westlandia and Miracle)


Z)# Growing beans at warm dry weather

During long, dry, warm summers (like the year 2018), growing beans in your garden is difficult. In dry garden earth, bean seeds do not germinate or only few bean plants sprout up. After sowing beans in moist garden soil, you have to spray water on the soil during the next days. When adding too much water, bean seeds can start rotting. When spraying too little water, the soil can dry up after sowing and germination stops.

So you better germinate bean seeds in a box on moist kitchen paper. Put small bean plants in a small hole in the garden soil.

The roots of bean plants grow very shallow in the garden soil. At dry warm weather, bean plants can die due to lack of water in the soil. A layer of hay around bean plants prevents the soil from drying out too fast. And when watering, the water does not “flow away over the dry sand”. So less water needed.

At stake beans you can put a layer of hay on the soil around each stake, between the plants. Or put a big watering pot around the stakes and put hay in between the plants. The soil does not dry up so fast and watering is easier.

Information below about bush beans and stake beans.


Z1) Growing bush beans

  • Germinate bean seeds on moist kitchen paper (absorbing paper).  See  tip 12   .
  • Every time the biggest bean plants are put in the garden soil.

  • Use a garden shovel when planting.

  • Make a small pit in the (dry) garden soil, diameter about 15 centimeters (6 inch), depth about 10 centimeters (4 inch).

  • Put (4) bean plants in the small pit in the garden soil. Shove some garden earth around and on the roots of the plants.
  • When the pit gets too shallow, you can use the shovel to make a dam around the pit.

  • Pour cold water on the plants in the pit. Use a watering can with small holes in the spray head.

  • Let the water fall in the garden soil.

  • Lay a layer of short cut dry hay around and between the plants in the pit.


  • From now on pour a little water on the plants (and on the hay) each day or each 2 days during dry, warm weather. In this way the soil remains moist and the bean plants grow well.

  • The same bean plants, 4 days after planting.


Z2) Growing stake beans

  • Germinate bean seeds on moist kitchen paper (absorbing paper).  See  tip 12   .
  • Every time the biggest bean plants are put in the garden soil.

  • From a plastic flower pot you can cut big “watering pots”, like the ones on the photo above.

  • When putting stakes in the soil, put a watering pot around each stake. Push the watering pot a few centimeters (1 to 2 inch) in the soil.
  • Put the bean plants in the soil in the watering pot.
  • Four (4) bean plants around each stake is enough and will give a good harvest.
  • Put a layer of dry (short cut) hay around and between the bean plants in the watering pot.
  • Pour a little water on the plants (and on the hay) each day or each 2 days during dry, warm weather



  • After putting the stakes in the garden soil, you can dig a big hole in the soil around a stake. Depth of this hole is 10 centimeters (4 inch). Diameter about 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inch). Fill the hole with garden earth, compost or garden earth mixed with cow manure. Put a watering pot around each stake and plant the bean plants. Put a layer of dry hay on the soil. In this way you can find out if bean plants grow better in compost or in manured soil compared to normal garden soil.
  • You can put a layer of hay around the stakes between the plants, so without using a watering pot.


  • You can use new hay, cut it short and lay it on the soil.
  • Or use the hay that was around and between onion plants and use it again around and between the bean plants.


  • You can cut 3 watering pots (7,5 centimeters (3 inch) high) out of this big plastic flower pot. Pot diameter is 28 centimeters (11 inch), height is 22.5 centimeters (9 inch).


  • When there are big bean plants climbing the stakes already when dry weather time begins, you can use a plastic lawn edge to make a watering pot.
  • Shove extra garden earth agianst the edge to prevent water leaking.

  • You can grow stake bean plants in a compost container in a layer of compost. Using watering pots around the stakes eases watering. (On this photo there are 2 stakes with watering pots and 2 stakes without pots).


A)# Plastic tunnel with green bean plants

Sowing beans in a garden usually happens about 1 to 2 weeks before the last night frost. When sowing earlier, small bean plants can freeze. Those bean plants will die.

To have an early bean harvest, I plant 3 rows of bush beans (plants) in my allotment garden under  a tunnel of plastic foil at the end of April (mid spring). So I can harvest first beans in June (early summer). Below a description.

(As an experiment I planted small bean plants in my backyard garden under a plastic tunnel in September 2017 (end of summer). A test to have a late harvest of beans).


  • Lay bean seeds in a tray on moist kitchen paper at the end of March (early spring). See tip 12.
  • Each time put 4 little bean plants in a flower pot filled with compost.
  • Put all pots together in a big tray or laundry basket.
  • Put some wire mesh over this tray or basket. Birds (Blackbirds) will not search for earth worms in the compost then.
  • At warm weather, put the tray (basket) outside or in a greenhouse by day.
  • Put it indoors or under a roof during night or at cold weather.
  • Each week sow new bean seeds on moist kitchen paper.
  • Make a tunnel of plastic foil in your garden about April 1 (early spring). See tip 11. Close the tunnel, so the garden soil can warm up by day.
  • Open the tunnel about April 10 (9 days after building). Each time take the bean plants with root balls out of the flower pots and put them in the garden soil (“under the open tunnel”). After planting, close the tunnel again over the bean plants.
  • Open the tunnel half or completely by day at warm weather. Close the tunnel at night or during cold weather.
  • Each week sow new bean seeds on moist kitchen paper. Take the small bean plants from the moist paper and put them in the garden soil under the tunnel. Three rows of bean plants fit under the tunnel.
  • When the tunnel is “full”, put the small bean plants in flower pots or in a tray with compost. Keep the bean plants in the tray or flower pots until mid May (half to end of spring).
  • After mid May (half to end of spring) put the small bean plants in the garden soil in the open air.


B)# Bean plants in May (mid spring)

Below some photos of my bean plants; under a tunnel or in the open air.



On the bottom photo there are 4 rows of bush beans. The biggest bean plants (3 rows) grew under a tunnel of plastic foil. That tunnel has been removed at may 15. In the 4th row there are small bean plants, planted in the soil after May 15. There are small and big plants growing. In this way I can harvest beans all summer long.

At the left side there are stakes with small pole beans.


C)# First beans harvested

Each year I try to harvest the first beans in June (end of spring). Hanging on the first sown bush beans. Below some harvest photos.



1e-bonen-2014-1 1e-bonen-2014-2

The beans on the photos above have been harvested on June 5, 17 or 21 (year 2011, 2012, 2014).


D)# Course: placing stakes

You can put stakes in the garden soil forming 2 rows next to each other. That is a standard method.

You can also build seperate teepees of 4 stakes each.

You can use  stakes of bamboo, 9 feet long. They are connected to each other with broad tie- wraps.

Use a broom-stick to make a “stake planting stick” with a sharp point. An elastic band in a small groove indicates the depth. Or put a clamp (or a big clothes peg) on the planting stick to indicate the desired depth. In this way you can make holes in the soil with approx the same depth.


D1) Two rows of stakes next to each other

Below a description.

  • Use a string with marks at fixed distances (see tip 2, nr 5 or nr 64). Distance between 2 stakes in one row is about 50 centimeters (1 ft    8 inch). Distance between knots or green wires is also 50 centimeters  (1 ft  8 inch).
  • Put the string over the garden soil.
  • Use the stake planting stick to make a shallow hole in the ground at each “green mark” or knot at the string. See left photo above.
  • Put the string 2 to 3 ft further to make a new line.
  • Make shallow holes at each “green mark” or knot.
  • Remove the string.


  •  Put the stick in each shallow hole and hit (with a wood hammer) the stick “slanting” in the ground until the elastic band (or clamp or clothes peg) touches the soil. See right photo above.
  • Make the holes in the soil slanting, so the stakes in these holes are in the right direction.
  • Use a wood hammer or a piece of wood between metal hammer and stick to prevent the stick from damaging.

  • Put the stakes in the holes. See photo above. Each time 2 stakes are slanting in the ground  ( /\ ).
  • The 2 outer stakes are “slanting sloping”.  These outer stakes are connected to the next 2 stakes of a row.
  • From aside, stakes are placed like this:   /| | | | | |\


On the next top view photos (with mini stakes) you see how to have the tops of 4 stakes “very close”. You can put a tie- wrap around them. And a horizontal stake can be laid on.

  • There are 4 stakes in the soil (black, aluminium, green and bare wood).
  • The stakes of each pair must cross at the same side (On the 2 top photos you see that each rear stake crosses the front stake at the left side).
  • Push the 2 left side stakes to the right, towards the 2 other stakes.
  • Above, the aluminium stake fits between the green stake and the bare wood stake.
  • Above, the green stake fits between the aluminium stake and the black stake.
  • In this way, the top sides of the 4 stakes are “very close”
  • Now you can put a strip around the 4 stakes.

  • This photo shows how to put a horizontal stake on it; on top between 2 front stakes and 2 rear stakes.


And now at the real stakes.

  • Join the 4 outer stakes as described at the mini stakes.
  • Put a tie wrap on. Keep the tie wrap a little loose so you can still move the stakes when needed.

  • Lay a horizontal stake on the “joint” of the outermost 4 stakes. Lay the stake on as described at the mini stakes; on top between 2 front stakes and 2 rear stakes. See photo above, left side.
  • Lay the horizontal stake towards right, on top between other crossing stakes.
  • Use a tie wrap to fix the horizontal stake to 2 other stakes, a few feet further to the right. See the photo above, right side. Keep the tie wrap a little loose so you can still move the stakes when needed.

  • Put a tie wrap “slanting” around the 4 outer stakes and the horizontal stake (photo above, left side).
  • Each time join top sides of 2 corresponding stakes. Put a tie wrap “slanting” around the 2 stakes and the horizontal stake. See photo above.

  • Use a bamboo stick when the horizontal stake is too short. Fix that stick too using tie wraps.

  • Push each stake down to have it well in the hole in the soil.
  • Push the construction “straight”. From aside the stakes are like this:      /| | | | | |\   .  Each pair of stakes is like this:  /\   .  The horizontal stake above is horizontal (level).
  • Pull all tie wraps “taut”.

The construction is there.

  • Use a planting stick (see tip 2) to tamp the soil around the stakes. So the stakes are tight in the soil and will not come out at storm wind.
  • This construction is strong due to the 2 slanting stakes at each end of the row and the use of tie wraps.
  • Before planting the bean plants, loose the soil around the stakes. Use a fork or a scoop.



You better put 2 rows of stakes against each other  (/\)   All bean plants get much sun light.

When you put 4 rows next to each other (/\   /\ ), the bean plants at the inner sides get less sun light. They will give less flowers and less beans. And harder to pick the beans.


D2) Placing stakes in seperate teepees

You can put 4 stakes in the soil and connect the tops. In this way you build seperate “bean teepees”. As shown on the photo above.

I think seperate teepees are better than long rows of stakes. Reasons:

  • Between the teepees  /\    /\    /\  there is much open space. Plants behind the teepees get enough sunlight and will grow well.
  • It is much easier to arrange all plants in your garden. You just build teepees when ever and where ever you want in the garden. You don’t have to keep in mind things about 2 rows of stakes in your garden.
  • You can better spread your bean harvest; put a new bean teepee somewhere in your garden every 2 weeks and put bean plants at the stakes.

You can make a teepee using 4, 5 or 6 stakes. That works well. Put beans or bean plants around each stake.

Using a teepee of 7 or more stakes is not good. Near the top, many stems, leaves and bean pods will get stuck or damaged.


E)# Stakes with bean plants.

You can make shallow holes around the stakes and put the bean plants in it. The holes are about 5 centimeters (2 inch) deep. The bean plants grow deeper in the soil. When you pour water in the holes, much water flows towards the soil around the roots. The soil does not dry out so fast then. At dry periods, pour water in the holes in the evening. Next morning you can rake carefully between the small bean plants.

You can put 4 bean seeds or 4 bean plants around each stake. Put each bean plant (or bean seed) about 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inch) away from the stake. Put bean plants (or bean seeds) at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions. In this way each bean plant has much space and nutrition to grow well.


F)# Stepladder


Stepladder used when picking stake beans. There are 2 laths under the legs of the stepladder against going down in the garden soil. See tip 2, nr 30.


G)# Nitrogen fixing bacteria

When plants do not make beans anymore, I cut the stem a few inches above the soil. The roots remain in the earth.  On the roots of the bean plants there are bacteria that convert nitrogen into nitrogen containing fertilizer. You see small balls on the roots, see photo above.  By cutting the stems, the fertilizer stays in the earth.


H)# Beans in my home back garden (August 21).

You can place stakes in a back yard garden. And put small bean plants at the stakes until the end of June (early summer). On August 21 (mid to end of summer), the leaves and the beans at those plants can be green and healty. Many beans can be harvested.


I)# Beans in an allotment garden (August 24).

You can plant small bean plants at stakes in an allotment garden very early. For example at the end of May (half to end of spring). At August 24 (mid to end of summer) the bean plants have “finished”; leaves are brown and only few beans hanging on the plants.


J)# Bean species in my garden (Prelude, Westlandia and Miracle)

J1) Prelude dwarf green beans:

  • Species for early sowing. Sow before July 1 (beginning of summer).


  • When sowing Prelude later, there can be brown leaves and black spots on the beans from August (mid summer) on.

So you better not sow Prelude to have a late harvest un der a foil tunnel.


J2) Westlandia stake green beans:

  • Sowing from early May until mid or late July (mid spring to mid summer). Sow each 2 weeks. The bean plant can withstand the cold weather of September (early autumn).
  • Beans are long, slender and light green.  There are bunches with big and small beans and flowers. Careful picking to prevent breaking of brunches.  Leaves break off easily.  See photos below.


J3) Miracle Chinese dwarf green beans:

  • For late sowing. Sow end of July until early August (Mid summer).
  • Pick the beans early. Don’t let them grow too big and too thick.


  • Bush beans Miracle in my backyard on September 13 (late summer).

  • Last Miracle harvest on October 8 (early autumn).

Miracle beans are good for a late harvest under a foil tunnel. No photos yet.

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