Whats the Difference between Pole and Bush Beans?
We get lots of gardening questions at our office and the other day one of our intrepid MadAboutGardening.com gardeners emailed us asking what the difference was between Pole and Bush Beans. Thanks for your question Florence – this is a good one that I’d be happy to answer!
The answer may surprise you – there aren’t very many differences between pole and bush beans. Many of them taste exactly the same and there are even some varieties that have both a Pole and a Bush Bean variety – like the Kentucky Wonder. However, there are a few differences you may want to factor into your bean decision this year in your garden.
The main difference is the first one you can see – Pole Beans grow up tall and need a pole for support. While Bush beans usually grow only about 2-3 feet tall in a bush and don’t require support. When planning your garden, realize that bush beans are going to take up more room to produce the same yield as pole beans – so if you don’t have a lot of space, pole beans may be the way to go for you.
The next difference is how quickly they mature. Bush beans tend to mature a little more quickly (50 – 60 days) than pole beans (65 – 75 days). However, pole beans keep producing as you pick them, whereas bush beans produce most of their fruit at the same time and then they are done for the season. As long as you keep picking your pole beans every couple of days the plant will keep producing.
I’ve never really noticed a huge difference in terms of flavor, however many gardeners swear that the bush beans taste better. If you have an opinion on flavor – be sure to leave a comment below, we’d love to hear your view! Either way – just be sure to plant some beans in your garden this year. Beans are the great repairer of soil in the garden – they take in nitrogen and add it back to the soil. So if you have an under-producing bed one year, be sure to plant it with beans the next year. One of my favorite beans is the Heirloom Royalty Purple Beans – simply delicious with a vibrant purple color. Be sure to plant yours today!