The Q&A Archives: Spacing Pole Beans

Question: Can you tell me how far to thin/space my pole beans? I have a large wire fence, plant both sides, and it runs east to west. Each year I have problems with blight/rot. I think I may have them planted to close in the row.

Answer: Since you're planting what amounts to a double row, space your plants about 8" apart, alternating sides, so that each plant is actually 8" apart, in a zig-zag pattern, with a fence in between. This spacing will allow air to circulate between the plants and still use the area to the greatest advantage. For best growth, maintain even soil moisture during germination, then supply 1" of water per week, soaking the soil deeply. Apply several inches of mulch to the soil (after the seedlings emerge) to conserve moisture, reduce weeds and keep the soil cool during hot spells. Production will slow during very hot weather but should pick up again when temperatures drop. Try to keep water off the foliage, to avoid creating the right environment for fungal diseases, and to avoid washing the blossoms off. Beans manufacture their own nitrogen but if your plants seem to need a lift, you can side-dress mid-season with a seaweed extract solution.

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