This photo, taken Monday, August 18th, shows Missouri Wonder pole beans, planted in 3-gallon buckets of soil, growing up strings on a bean tower.
Time for true confessions. I had good intensions of showing this last month when the beans looked like a lush, green tropical jungle. They’re past their prime now, but are still producing, in spite of having been through storms, including hail once. Insect damage hasn’t been too serious. Weather is a little cool for August at my location, so maybe plants are getting ready for fall. There are probably 30 plants growing up the tower. At least one couldn’t be dissuaded from latching onto the electric pole guy wire.
From my reading of the experiences of other gardeners, Missouri Wonder beans may not be as flavorful as the more popular Kentucky Wonder beans or similar varieties, but the vines are said to handle stress well. When it comes to survival gardening, having a productive bean is more important than having the most flavorful bean in my opinion.
These beans had excellent germination when I planted them in late April. They started producing abundantly in late June and early July, but slowed a little as the summer has progressed. At first I got handfuls of large beans daily, but now I harvest about every other day. So far we’ve put at least a dozen bags in the freezer, in addition to several bags kept in the fridge now and then for fresh eating. I’ve never grown pole beans before, so have been quite impressed with the results. I plan to save some of the seeds as well.
I share all of this with you to show you what is possible for your survival gardening efforts, even if you have limited space, poor soil, or other adverse conditions. Choose pole beans you like, try them on a tower, then watch the bean factory go to work. If you have experiences you’d like to share regarding beans you’ve grown, please feel free to leave a comment.