really need help with beans

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

First, I live in northern MI; growing zone is 4b/5a. The season is short; starts in early-late April for cool stuff. Main season is end of May to September-Nov. (varies depending on weather). Hot summers, but mild compared to deep south. Weather here is erratic.

With early maturing cold hardy and dark colored seeds (as they germinate better in cool soil). For mid/late season beans, heat tolerant varieties would be appreciated.

I'm trying to figure out whether to grow bush or pole; pole yields heavier w/harvest but takes longer to mature and harvest.

With pole beans, (if I plant this type) unless the towers are VERY simple to buuld and set up, are sturdy and made to last, they will be purchased. ,

With how many plants plz don't say something like '50 plants per 500 square feet of gardening in plot'. I do container gardening, so that is clear as mud, doesn't translate and makes no sense.

Also to get 50-75 lbs. of fresh green beans, how many bean plants do I need to plant?

How many plants do I need to plant to get 25 lbs. of fresh shelled lima and edamame (baby green soy beans). This isn't combined it's 25 lbs. EACH fresh lima and soy.

Also, if I do pole beans, how many plants per bean tower without overcrowding? Also how far apart to space the towers themselves.

I have a very limited amount of space...a small walkway, a 20' x20 plot, and a small area behind a shed. All areas I'll be using container gardening as native soil is very nutrient poor and not fertile. Soilless mix will be used; it's a combination of spaghnum peat moss, pine bark mulch, lime (not fast acting), vermiculite, and a pelleted, dry 19-6-12 fertilizer that is designed for container gardening....Osmocote.

So, which type of bean plant would maximize my space, bush or pole?

A very dumb question about pole beans; will they climb the towers by themselves, or do you have to train them to climb the towers.

Can anybody recommend a heavy yielding bean (for lima, edamame, and green). If so, plz specify name, what type, how many lbs. of beans it yields per plant, and whether pole or bush.

I'd prefer for each variety, one late maturing, one early maturing. This is because I'm trying to stagger harvest, to extend growing season. Ppl have recommended that they be 3-4 weeks apart with days to maturity. Namely so you don't have too many veggies @ once.
Last edited:
With pole beans, once they begin to bear they will usually continue as long as they are kept picked, barring disease/insect/nutrition problems. Bush beans don't bear as long but after a couple "flushes" they can be cut off short, maybe 3 inches high, and they will renew the tops for another crop. How many you get from each plant is always a crapshoot, just have to plant and see what does well for you in your conditions. Take notes and compare varieties is all I can say. Good luck.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to you both! Glad to see some new faces , new questions, and new advice.

On of the best produces for me has been Purple pod pole beans. I think I got through Gurney's. They produced fast and furious and were long producers. They withstood the high heat of Florida and stayed long after summer was over. Beans are like green beans but can be left on the vine to dry and shell. As they get to the drying stage they taste like a very mild Lima bean cross. Also red runners or scarlet runners do good too. Both these beans can be crowded into a container say 5 to 1 gal or 10 to a 3gal. As far as short season beans, surf some of the more popular catalog sites to find the one best suited for your zone. Gurney's, & Shumacker's are 2 of my favorites. Remember that pre-soaking the bean seeds and using an Inoculant, will insure quicker, better germination.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to go with.
I'm in a very similar situation to you, seedaddict. I'm in South Dakota in a similar zone and have to use containers- but still going to try out some beans. I picked the Scarlet Runner variety after a little research- From what I understood it seemed to handle heat well (which we can get waves of it out here) but also tolerate a mild summer. They're also able to be eaten at any stage of growth, really. So I can pick them to keep them growing, and at the end of the season let it dry and use them like lima-beans. The versatility was really appealing to me. (I also chose them because they're natural hummingbird attractors. Win win!)

I also chose the pole variety over bush because of space limitations. I can probably cram a few extra plants per pot with poles (I have plenty of vertical space) but I wouldn't be able to do that with the bush variety. So by doing that, I think my yield will be greater.

Again, I haven't done this yet but am speculating! I'll be keeping my eye on this thread for others with the hands-on experience.

Edit: Ack! I missed the original Post date of this lol. I'm curious if anything came of it though :3
Last edited:


Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome kokabel!
That's ok about the date. we drag up old post all the time.
I love the scarlet runners too. They are a great choice. Let us know about your success this year;) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to