From the Ground Up Blog

Pumpkin Growers Panel: Answering All Your Pumpkin Growing Questions

Pumpkin Growers Panel: Answering All Your Pumpkin Growing Questions

Join Harris Seeds and Harris Moran as we present the Pumpkin Growers Panel: Answering All Your Pumpkin Growing Questions! We've gathered professional pumpkin growers and breeders from across the country to share their experience and insight into pumpkin growing. We'll cover topics around no-till, crop rotation, cover crops, best storage practices, and more.

Chapters

00:00 Welcome!
05:25 New pumpkins from Harris Moran – Olympus, Adonis, Popcorn, Pixie, Lemonade, and Fireball
12:30 Panel introduction
17:45 Panel discussion
18:00 Fertilizing, spacing, and seed starting
28:20 Crop rotation
33:07 Pollination and fruit set
42:40 Weed management (traditional and no-till)
51:20 Disease management
59:46 Insect management
1:03:36 Mammal management
1:07:15 Harvesting timing and storage
1:15:29 Wholesale strategies
1:21:42 Roadside stands and farm market strategies
1:30:30 Audience Q&A
1:38:53 Final comments and thank you

Adonis Pumpkin Popcorn Pumpkin 
Adonis Pumpkin & Popcorn Pumpkin

Fireball Pumpkin
Fireball Pumpkin

For additional questions, please refer to the following resources:

Plasticulture

Pumpkin Production, Penn State University – see specifically the sections about planting and fertilization and the Sample Budgets for Plasticulture vs No-till.  

Irrigation

Squash and Pumpkin Production: Oklahoma State University – see specifically the section about Irrigation 

Fertilizer

Squash and Pumpkin Production: Oklahoma State University – see specifically the section about Fertilizer 
Pumpkin Production, Penn State University – see specifically the sections about planting and fertilization. 

Insect Pests

Disease

Grow Smarter

Grow Smarter

Don’t get us wrong... We love a starter plant. 

But they aren’t always the best or most cost-efficient choice when starting your growing season. In fact, although they may seem inexpensive, some big-box stores are charging a crazy price for plants that you can just as easily, and much more cost-effectively, start from seed. Let’s talk about it!

Starter Plant

When to GROW SMARTER...

Some crops grow better when they are sown indoors while others grow better when they’re transplanted directly into your garden. Not sure when to start with
transplants vs seeds? 
We’ve got you.

Read our blog article, "Transplant vs. Direct Sow: How To Know Which Planting Method To Use" >

Plant in Pot

If you’re planning your garden late in the season, shop transplanted crops (like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant) from your local nursery, and buy seeds for crops you can sow directly into the ground (like beans, cucumbers, herbs, greens, and squash).

Shop Seeds for Direct Sowing >

Pro tip: 

When shopping for starter plants, start with your local nursery. Local nurseries are knowledgeable about the products they carry and how to care for them, resulting in healthier starter plants and for a more successful growing season.

Grow Smarter

Worried about your seeds not sprouting? 

Check out these best practices for achieving optimal germination rates.

Read our blog article, "12 Reasons Why My Seeds Aren't Germinating" >

Potted Plant

Not sure how to properly care for your seedlings so they grow into strong and healthy plants?

Check out this guide and your green thumb won’t be far behind.

Read our blog article, "How To Care for Seedlings" >

How To Grow Green Beans

How To Grow Green Beans

 

Green beans are a vegetable gardeners' best friend. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or new to the game, growing green beans is a cinch and a great staple to have season after season.

Choosing Green Bean Varieties

One of the most exciting aspects of growing green beans is the vast selection of varieties. There are dozens of colors, sizes, textures, and even plant structures. To help narrow down your choice, its best to determine which plant structure fits your space best.

All green beans fall into two categories, bush beans or climbing beans. Both have their pros and cons, so it's important to know what those are before making your selections.

As the name would suggest, bush beans grow close to the ground and require very little maintenance. They tend to have an earlier maturity date meaning your bush plants will produce faster than your climbing plants. These days vary by variety, but bush beans generally begin producing around 50-55 days, whereas climbing varieties run 60-65 days before producing. If you don't mind planting a few successions of beans, bush varieties may be the way to go, as you will get more than one harvest.

If you're just getting your feet wet, perhaps just one planting of climbing beans is the way to go. Climbing varieties tend to produce more per plant than bush beans and are usually more disease-resistant. However, their need for trellising and training does make them more high maintenance in some ways. All of these factors should be considered before selecting a variety to plant.

Beans Climbing Bean

How to Sow Green Beans

Once you've made your selections, there are a few things that you should know about planting green beans.

First, your seeds should be direct sown. It's not often that you will see bean starts sold at a greenhouse or nursery, and there is a reason for it. Beans do not transplant well because they have very fragile root systems. It takes a skilled hand and someone not afraid of painstakingly tedious work to pull off successful green bean transplants.

Another reason beans should be direct sown because, unlike a tomato plant that can provide you with a substantial amount of fruit from a single plant, you will need many, many bean plants to make it worth your efforts. The average bush bean produces roughly a half-pound of fruit throughout an entire season. Climbing beans double that at nearly a full pound per season, but even so, you will want several plants to ensure a decent harvest. Direct sowing seed is the best and most economical practice for growing green beans.

Preparing the Soil

Before you direct sow your seeds, you should prepare the ground by loosening the soil and perhaps even mixing in a bit of fertilizer. Select a low-dose nitrogen fertilizer if you feel that your soil could benefit from fertilizing before planting. A 5-10-10 or a 6-12-12 would be ideally suited for the job. Legumes (beans, peas, etc.) give back to your garden as they have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacterium. This process allows them to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium nitrogen, which they release into the soil. For this reason, fertilizers with particularly high nitrogen doses should be avoided.

Soak the Seed

Another helpful preparation to take before planting your beans is to soak your seed. All legume seed is rather large and non-porous and can have difficulty getting the adequate moisture necessary for germination depending on soil type. Soaking your seeds in clean, cool water for 4-6 hours before planting can greatly improve germination rates.

However, don't soak seeds for too long, as they will begin to break down, and the chances of rot and bad bacteria growth increase much over 8 hours. If you plan to use a legume inoculant to help with germination and production (this is not necessary but can prove helpful), it should be applied after beans have soaked and have been drained of any excess water.

Ideal Temperatures

Your ground is prepped, your seeds have been soaked, and now it is time to plant! Green beans are sort of a funny mid-season vegetable. While they don't quite have the hardiness of cold weather-loving carrots or peas, they aren't quite as sensitive as heat-loving tomatoes and peppers. Seeds will germinate between fifty and seventy degrees Fahrenheit.

The warmer it is, the faster your "days to germination" will be, but you can still get fairly successful germination once soil temps are consistently above fifty degrees. This is helpful to know for gardeners with shorter growing seasons who would like to get more than one crop or succession of beans per season. You can often start them 2-3 weeks before your nightshade crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.) are ready to go outside.

Light and Water Requirements

Proper light and water are perhaps the most crucial inputs to a successful bean harvest. Your bean plants will need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight for optimal production. When planting in a residential space, choosing a southwest plot that is not blocked by trees or structures is often best.

Root structures on green beans are very shallow, so, depending on your soil type, you may notice that your beans require more watering than other crops in your garden. You'll know your beans are not getting sufficient water when they start dropping blossoms, and there is no fruit production despite an otherwise healthy-looking plant.

Once you get your watering and sunlight right, your bean plants should almost autopilot from germination to harvest. As mentioned previously, green beans have a reasonably short life/production cycle, so if you fertilize before planting, you shouldn't need to apply anything else in the way of nutrition.

Harvesting Green Beans

Bean Harvesting

Keeping your beans well picked is essential for a bountiful harvest. You should plan on harvesting your beans every 3-5 days, depending on how firm and/or meaty you like them. Picking your beans less often results in the plant going to seed and sends the message to your plants that it no longer has to produce as much because it has successfully reproduced.

If you plan to eat your beans fresh, pick every 2-3 days when beans are small and most tender is best. If you plan to can or process your beans, you can often get away with a few more days in between pickings. Just don't neglect picking for very long or you'll stunt your plants production. You will know your plants are done producing when they are no longer setting blossoms and begin to look somewhat tattered. This is your sign that its time to pull them and begin a new succession or wait until next season.

As you can see, there is some work that goes into growing green beans, but for the most part, they're a fairly low-fuss vegetable. Considering their versatility and prolificacy, most gardeners would agree that they are worth what little elbow grease they require. Just remember, light, water, and pick, pick, pick, and you'll have more beans than you could possibly ever roast, steam, can, freeze, or pickle! Happy growing!

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