In a previous post I explained how I was planting my pole bean seeds this year in a different manner than usual for our garden. Rather than plant a single row of seed, on April 30th I planted a double row with about a six inch space between rows. That was the modified intensive gardening approach. Theoretically, I should at least double the amount of my harvest from last year.
The weeds got a big jump on me this year between the bean rows, but I took care of them in the last couple of days. Thankfully they are a type of weed with big leaves and spindly stalks, so I was able to dispose of them by weeding three rows each day for two days.
I was unable to perform the second planting until June 9th. I planted the second batch of bean seeds in that six inch space between the first double row planting. When they germinate I am anticipating that they will readily follow the outer sets of vines and go right to the fence fabric and begin their climb. As of this writing, I have 1,440 Fortex green bean seeds in some state of growth in our garden, with additional seed to go in when the time is right. I actually calculate the number of beans needed per row, count them out in a small bowl, then put each row's allotment into an individual zip lock bag. When I'm hand sowing, I use up each bag for each row, thereby ensuring adequate spacing of the seeds. It might seem tedious, but it sure takes the guesswork out of it.
I've included some pics to show the condition and density of the bean vines. They look very healthy.
Last year, I planted four single rows of seed and let them run their cycle, and when they were through producing, I planted more beans. The trouble with doing it that way is that my harvest totals had to endure going through the phases of a dwindling production period, then the germination period and then waiting for plant maturity. The end result for the year was simply two total harvests from four 20 foot long rows of pole beans.
This year I added two more rows of beans. I began with the double row planting and then 40 days later planted a second crop that will be germinating and maturing while the first crop is producing green beans. That equates to overall production from three rows of pole beans. When the second planting is approaching maturity (in approximately 40 days on July 20th) I'll plant additional seeds for the third planting. Since we began with a double row, the July 20th planting would be the equivalent of the fourth planting of rows of pole beans. There will be plenty of time for still another planting on September 1st, which should be ready to begin harvesting on November 1st, as it is usually still warm at that time. That would be the fifth planting of rows of pole beans for the year. Overall, doing it this way has the potential of harvesting two and a half times as much in the same area as last year, not including the two additional rows of this year. This is possible since the "wait time" for germination between crops is eliminated and three additional crops are planted as compared to previous years. Historical data from my spreadsheets show the following harvests of Fortex green beans:
2009 spring crop - 58 pounds
2009 summer crop - 32 pounds
2009 fall crop - 22.25 pounds
2009 Total Fortex Green Bean Crop - 112.25 pounds
2010 spring crop - 21.5 pounds
2010 summer crop - 38 pounds
2010 fall crop - None. I was away from home and didn't get the third crop planted.
2010 Total Fortex Green Bean Crop - 59.5 pounds
During this entire time I will be adding cured compost to the rows as it becomes ready. This whole thing is like a long experiment. We'll see what the results are later in the year.
Now for a few more bean pics...
That concludes my post on the modified intensive gardening and succession planting of our pole beans. I hope you found it interesting and informative. It will be interesting to see what the results are in my end of the year Harvest Report.
I extend a sincere "Thank You" to each person reading this and hope that it will inspire someone to try new methods for growing vegetables for your family food supply. Think about it. Maybe that someone is you!
Have a great gardening day!