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)# Stepladder
  • F)# Nitrogen fixing bacteria at bean plants
  • G)# Bean species used (Prelude, Westlandia and Miracle)


Z)# Growing beans at warm dry weather

During long, dry, warm summers (like the year 2018, 2019), 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 “normal” garden soil, you have to spray water on the soil during the next days (against drying out). When adding too much water, bean seeds can start rotting. When spraying too little water, the soil can dry up and germination stops.

Better: germinate bean seeds in a box on moist kitchen paper and put small bean plants in a small hole in the garden soil. Put a layer of dry hay around the bean plants, Hay prevents the soil from drying out fast. And when watering, the water drops via the hay into the soil towards the roots.

At stake beans you can mix compost (or manure) with garden earth around the stake. Make a shallow planting hole around the stake and put the bean plants in the soil. Put a layer of dry hay around the bean plants a few days later. Thanks to compost (or manure) in the soil, the plants grow faster, bigger and the leaves do not turn yellow so easy. The soil does not dry up so fast and watering is easier.

Suggestion of a collegae gardner; put at least 10 bean plants around each stake. This gives a bigger harvest and the leaves of the plants do not turn to yellow so easy. Try out in 2020.

Below there is information 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.

  • 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.

  • Make a planting hole around the stake, about 25 centimeters (10 inch) diameter and 15 centimeters (6 inch)deep.
  • Fill the planting hole with compost or (cow) manure, not completely full.
  • Mix compost or manure with garden earth in the planting hole.
  • After mixing, the planting hole is about 5 centimeters (2 inch) deep, Thai is useful when watering.
  • If not 5 centimeters (2 inch) deep, make it deeper or put garden earth in it.
  • Put the bean plants around the stake in the 5 centimeters (2 inch) deep planting hole.
  • Put a layer of dry hay on the bottom of the planting hole around the stake, between the  (grown larger) bean plants.

  • Lay short cut plant material around the stakes on the garden soil during the next weeks. This reduces drying out of the soil and makes watering the bean plants easier.


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.

  • Germinate bean seeds in a tray on moist kitchen paper at the end of March (early spring). See tip 12.
  • Weekly sow new bean seeds on moist kitchen paper.

  • Each time put 4 little bean plants in a flower pot filled with compost.
  • Let the bean plants in the pots grow bigger on a warm place (outside during sunny warm weather, indoors during nights and cold days).

  • You can 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.


  • Make a tunnel of plastic foil in your garden about April 1 (early spring). See tip 11.

  • Put the flower pots with bean plants in the garden soil.

  • Put a tunnel of transparent corrugated plate over these bean plants.

  • Close the plastic foil tunnel, so the garden soil can warm up by day. And the bean plants can grow bigger under the tunnels (of corrugated plate and foil).
  • Open the tunnels about April 10 at no frost weather. Take the bean plants with root balls out of the flower pots. Plant them (4 plants in a group) in the garden soil.
  • After planting, close the foil tunnel again over the bean plants (corrugated plate tunnel not needed anymore).
  • Open the tunnel half or completely by day at warm weather. Close the tunnel at night or during cold weather.



When you have built the foil tunnel, it can happen that there is a stormy weather during the days afterwards. At stormy weather you better keep the foil tunnel open during day and night. You can lay wooden boards (and bricks on) to keep the folded foil at the ground, as shown on the 2 photos above. A closed foil tunnel can be damaged by the wind.

You can put flower pots with small bean plants in a group in the garden soil. Put a greenhouse tunnel (made of transparent corrugated plate) over the group of flower pots with bean plants. Remove the greenhouse tunnel right before watering the bean plants. After watering, put the greenhouse tunnel over the flower pots with bean plants again. On the photos above, the greenhouse tunnel has been put aside or is over the bean plants.


  • 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 my tunnel.

  • May 1; Three rows of bigger grown bean plants under the foil tunnel.
  • When the tunnel is “full”, you can put new flower pots (with 4 bean plants in) or a tray filled with compost (with bean plants in) on the soil under the foil tunnel. Keep the bean plants there 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 of June.


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, 270 centimeters (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

  • Use a string with marks at fixed distances of 50 centimeters (1 ft    8 inch), (see tip 2, nr 5 or nr 64). Distance between 2 stakes in 1 row 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 mark in the string (left photo).
  • Put the string 60 to 70 centimeters (2 to 2.5  ft) further to make a new line.
  • Make shallow holes at each mark in the string.
  • Remove the string.
  • You end up with 2 rows of shallow holes in teh garden soil.

  •  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.
  • Use a wood hammer or a piece of wood between metal hammer and stick to prevent the stick from damaging.
  • Make the holes in the soil slanting, so the stakes in these holes are in the right direction.

  • Put the stakes in the holes. Each time 2 stakes are slanting in the ground  ( /\ ).
  • The 4 outer stakes (2 left end, 2 right end) are “slanting sloping”.  They are fixed to the next 2 stakes of a row later
  • From aside, stakes are placed in the soil 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.
  • Those stakes form 2 pairs;
    • 1 pair is aluminium and black,
    • 1 pair is bare wood and green.
  • Each pair “crosses identical”;
    • on top the aluminium stake is left from the black stake,
    • on top the bare wood stake is left from the green stake.


  • 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. (yellow arrow).
  • 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 (outer stakes);

  • Make 2 pairs out of 4 end stakes.
  • Mind that each pair “crosses identically”.
  • Join the pairs of 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. See photo above, left side.
  • Lay this stake towards right, on top between other crossing stakes.
  • Use a tie wrap to fix this horizontal stake at the right side end to 2 vertical stakes. 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 and put a tie wrap “slanting” around these 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.

  • Side photo of a row of stakes;
    • 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, upright and level.

  • 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 it is 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. This works well because;

  • 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 too. Put bean seeds 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)# 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.


F)# 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.


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

I use these species in my garden.

G1) Prelude dwarf green beans:

  • Species for early sowing. High yield. You can sow Prelude seeds on moist kitchen paper at early April (early spring). And put the small bean plants under a foil tunnel. Sow or replant before July 1 (beginning of summer). When sowing Prelude later, there are brown spotted leaves and black spots on the beans from August (mid summer) on. So Prelude can not withstand cold weather.


G2) Westlandia stake green beans:

  • Sowing from early May until mid August (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.

Last beans can be sown in August. Harvest in my backyard garden until October 20 (early fall).


G3) Miracle Chinese dwarf green beans:

  • For late sowing. Sow mid of July until mid of August (Mid summer).

  • You can sow on moist paper and put the bean plants in the garden soil after the onion harvest (so in the soil where the onions have grown).
  • Miracle beans are good for late sowing and late harvest. You can grow beans in the open air, no tunnel needed.
  • Pick the beans early. Don’t let them grow too big and too thick.


  • Miracle bush beans in my allotment garden in October (early fall).
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2 Responses to 10) Beans in Sjef’s garden

  1. Pingback: 11) Robust tunnel for early green beans | sjefgardentips

  2. Pingback: 12) Sowing beans on absorbing paper | sjefgardentips

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