Patio Techniques for Peas and Beans
by David George
When should you plant seedlings? Right now! April-May are the best months for summer pea and bean seedling planting. Ripe veggies can be harvested from your plants as early as June and can last through August, depending on the variety.
Many popular pea varieties can be grown in patio containers during the cool months and can tolerate light frosts. In our cooler and foggier East Bay, you can plant pea seedlings until Summer. But when planting pea seedlings inland in April or May, you’ll need to choose varieties that tolerate heat, such as “Wando” and “Lincoln”, both varieties are shelling peas and grow 24-30 inches high with the shoots being rather stringy.
Compact bush beans are classic summer favorites and can be transplanted now. They fit nicely in containers and are “determinate” which means they tend to ripen all their fruit at about the same time and then top off at a certain height. Their compact form does not require trellising. “Empress” and “Jade” grow well in Bay Area summer conditions. You can plant these determinate beans in succession, about 2 weeks apart to lengthen your harvest season.
Pole bean varieties are ”indeterminate” and continue to produce as long as they can grow up, up, up. They will need to be trellised, as they often outgrow a pole. Growing them along a sunny wall or fence provides an easy way to support a trellis. Or, a pyramid-shaped wire structure placed above each of your container-grown plants will support single vines. These can be handmade or purchased at your favorite garden center. Additionally, trellises can also provide shade for companion plants that require less sun.
Good pole bean varieties for Bay Area patios include “Blue Lake Stringless” and “Rattlesnake”.
You can find much more information on this topic online at UCANR websites.
Container Gardening Basics: https://mgsantaclara.ucanr.edu/garden-help/container-gardening/
Tips on successfully growing beans:
And don’t forget!
Come check out summer bean varieties for sale at both our Contra Costa County Great Tomato Plant Sales (GTPS)! Visit our website and find out what will be available this year.
(*) “Pea brush” consists of branched shrub prunings inserted into the row for support of the climbing pea plants. Erect the support system before or immediately after planting seeds to avoid disturbing the roots of germinating and established plants.