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How to Grow Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans

Green beans image by Christopher Martin from

Kentucky Wonder pole beans are a classic in the garden world. When many think back on their grandparents' gardens, Kentucky Wonder was probably the vining bean that was growing in the back yard. This popular variety of green bean is a vigorous climber, growing 5 to 7 feet. The 7-inch green beans will continue growing throughout the summer, often producing beans well into the autumn.

Begin your garden after all chance of frost has passed, and the soil in your garden is dry and warm. Find the average frost date for your area by contacting your local county extension service or looking in Farmers' Almanac (see Resources).

Dig your garden plot in a place where the beans will get at least six hours of sunlight each day. Dig down into the soil, 6 inches deep, and remove all rocks or large roots. Mix in a 4-inch layer of compost into the garden soil.

Push trellises deep enough into the soil so that they are sturdy and will not fall over in a strong wind or with a heavy crop. If you do not have trellises and don't want to make them, plan your garden next to a fence so the vines will grow up the fencing.

Plant the Kentucky Wonder bean seeds along the fence or trellis line. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and about 4 inches away from each other. If you are using a thick pole as trellis material, you may plant four to six beans around the base of the pole. Water the garden thoroughly until the soil is saturated.

Install a rain gauge near the Kentucky Wonder bean plants, or set an empty can close to the garden plot. Check this can or gauge weekly. If your plants have not received 1 inch of water in a week, water the beans to bring the water total up to 1 inch for the week.

Pick Kentucky Wonder pole beans when the bean pods are smooth and fat, but before they begin to turn lumpy. The beans will be between 7 and 9 inches long. Continue picking beans every two or three days to ensure that the plants continue to produce a harvest through the entire season.

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