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Should these bush bean seedlings be transplanted?

Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

I'm a newbie at planting seeds inside (and this is my first DG post). I was amazed at the growth of these bush beans in just a few days - reminded me of Jack and the Beanstalk! There are a few that are just coming up. Is it too early to start setting them outside to harden? The temp has been hanging around 50-57 the last few days here in Fort Mohave, AZ. I just constructed my first square foot garden bed and have a spot to plant them - need to put up a trellis yet.

Thumbnail by AZSANDRA
Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Welcome to Dave's Garden and welcome to gardening. ;)

When bush beans are planted directly in the garden, they do not get leggy (tall) like that. The problem is the seedlings are looking for sunlight, and the light inside your house is not bright enough. Even a sunny windowsill is probably not bright enough.

Peas, Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Melons, etc. are best started outside directly in the garden when the soil is warm enough (approximately 60 degrees and no overnight freezes).

Bush beans are named because they normally produce 18" tall self-supporting bushy plants and do not need a trellis.

If you were growing pole beans, then they would need a trellis to climb.

This message was edited Jan 30, 2009 11:45 AM

Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

Thank you for your response feldon30. I put the beans outside today to start hardening them. It is the same temp outside as in the house right now (70-degrees) and they are in a space out of the wind and some sunshine. How many days should I harden them in this protective area before putting them in my first SFG? I have a number of broccolis, kohlrabi, a brusselsprout, and several pansies in it already, and have spaces reserved for a few tomato plants and these beans. I plan on putting up a trellis (as per Mel's SFG's book) for the tomatoes and beans. Next time I will plant the seeds right in the garden - BTW, how many of these bean plants would I need for a nice crop to feed two adults?

Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

I checked the seed package, and indeed the seeds are supposed to go directly into the garden. I must have read it somewhere else that you can sow them indoors. Will they still have a chance if I transplant them in the SFG? And should I bury most of the stalk?

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

I made the same mistake myself last year. At this point, if it's time for bean planting in your area (your local cooperative extension agent can give you a planting guide), put 'em in the garden and see if they live or die. Could go either way. You could also sow some bean seeds while you're at it, just in case.

If everything goes well, just a few bean bushes will feed a couple of people. (Mine were eaten up by flea beetles, so I didn't have many that were edible.) Plant a few extra, if you have the room. If you have too many, you can preserve them or give them to neighbors or soup kitchens.

If they're bush beans, they won't need a trellis. That's only for pole beans.

Thumbnail by dividedsky
Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Do not bury the stem or it may rot. That only applies to tomatoes.

If you have access to more seeds, I would plant some new seeds directly outside, provided you are not having any overnight temperatures below 40.

Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

Thanks indy and feldon - I've been putting them outside for several days now and think I will leave them out overnite. The low has been around 50-52 degrees at night and high 60s or 70 during the day - but the wind is Horrible! This is the fourth day of terrible wind. But it seems the SFG is low enough to the ground and the soil is several inches below the top that it doesn't seem to blow the plants in it too much. I will put a few more seeds in when I transplant them. It will be interesting to see how they grow compared to the "insiders".

Orange, TX

I have found when transplanting... if you put clear plastic around some tomato cages secured at top and bottom with clothes pins it helps with the transplants of tomatoes and beans... it keeps them warm at night.. the rain can still reach them... and the wind does not beat them to death...this will help them get used to outside and catch up with the weather. then you can set these out earlier with worries of the cold snaps at night we have been having here.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

This is a rather old topic, but I'm just going to reiterate my advice that there is no need to start beans indoors and transplant them except perhaps in extremely cold climates.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Spinach either, if anyone wants to learn from my mistake. Who woulda thought that 16 hours of florescent light would prompt spinach to set seed!

~ laughing at myself and this little spinachling ~

Thumbnail by dividedsky
Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

That is amazing! There is so much to learn about plants - now if you want seeds you can skip through the whole growing season and just stick them under a light!

I haven't had any luck with my bush beans - nor the pole beans that are still rallying more than the bush beans. I think maybe too much water - but I'm not sure! The temperatures here in the low desert have gone from low 70s straight to 90s and very few days in the 80s. So the tomatoes and peppers have pretty much stopped producing. There are a lot of yellow blossoms and I keep looking and hoping they will set some more fruit, but nothing in the past week.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hey Sky and Feldon30!

Ya'll know I grow strictly in containers, and my question relates specifically to growing southern cowpeas in a limited space in my eBuckets or 24" planters.

It's almost time for me to put some the seeds down, and I need ya'lls advice on growing my Purple Hulls, Zippers, Cream Peas, Blackeye Peas, Crowders, and Pinkeye Purple Hulls in my 5-gallon eBuckets. I've been thinking I could put a wire cage trellis around the eBuckets to contain each plant. Would this work, or would a small tomato cage work better.

I need to trellis even the bush varieties due to space constraints.

Please reply soonest!



Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I would try some form of caging around your containers. Bear in mind that different cowpeas will produce different length runners. Some can get over 6 feet long. I had one very old cultivar that had 13' runners. The older the variety, the 'wilder' it will be. That is why one of the old-time names for them are Field Peas. They don't climb in the same sense that pole beans do, but will half-heartedly loop around things. Try something that will contain them, but you'll have an interesting time. An up side is that the young shoots and tips can be cooked and used like asparagus.

Fuquay Varina, NC

Uh oh. First time on DG and just saw asandras post on the beans. I too have started the string beans indoors and they are doing exactly what she said. They are long and pointing to the nearest window. Maybe I should just go ahead and plant outside and see what I get. Being a novice gardner however I will say that it was fun watching the beans get to a foot high in 10 days and my daughter loved it.

Kemp, TX(Zone 8a)

I know this is an old thread, but I felt compelled to write this. I start my bush beans in starter pots all the time... and here's why.
In the picture below you can see the bush bean plants popping out of the holes in the side of this large bucket. The beans won't come out of the holes naturally if I plant them directly into the holes, so I start them in little 6 pack plastic starter pots that I save from buying annuals at the garden center. You have to be very careful to not disturb the little roots when you transplant them, but they will work. I don't start my seeds indoors though, I set them out on the deck in direct sun and keep them wet until I see some activity. Then. I cut back on the water for a couple days, but still keep them damp. These seedlings are about a week old. When I transplant, I tear or cut the plastic 6 pack and carefully remove the root ball and push the leaves through the holes in the bucket, then cover with soil, and water. Works every time. This bucket sits on my patio and gets full morning sun, filtered and scattered sun from nearby trees in the early afternoon, then about 2 hours of full evening sun.
I plant this bucket for two reasons.
1. I plant potatoes in this same bucket, and the same soil. The beans replenish the nutrients and clean up any bad bacteria the potatoes leave behind, so I can reuse the soil again and again. I grew potatoes in the bucket in the early spring... just harvested them, and will grow bush beans in the same bucket all summer. Then, I'll grow another fall crop of potatoes... planting in September.
2. My garden space is rather small, and we love beans. So, when my pole beans (climbing my corn in the background of this picture) start producing, I like to start my next crop. Just makes sense to keep the bucket full of something to eat.

Oh, and yes... the baby swimming pool in the background is growing watermelons. Cut the bottom out and it makes a great raised bed.

Kemp, TX(Zone 8a)

Oops... forgot the post the picture

Thumbnail by bjwilson
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I am soooooooooooooooooooo GLAD YOU POSTED THIS! It is a totally brilliant rotation system, and right on time!

I've got potatoes growing in 15-gallon molasses tubs, and I've been agonizing over what to do with all that soil after the potatoes. You just answered my prayer!

Do you mind if I post this over on the SCVG forum, on the eBuckets thread? Gessieviolet (Lane) would be interested in your adaptation of a bucket.

Thanks, again!


Kemp, TX(Zone 8a)

Of course Linda... after all... I had to steal the idea from someone else too. It works every time, and every year I have more potatoes and beans than we can eat. All out of that one bucket.
So glad you found your answer ... good soil is a terrible thing to waste.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

So, BJ,
What's my timeframe on getting into this rotation? Also, what type of potatoes are you growing in that bucket that gives you more than you can eat? I've been in an experimental phase with some other Zone 8-9a growers. We all did short-season spuds last year (growing together), and almost all had the same results: We only got one modest layer of potatoes at the same level we placed the seed potatoes.

Ronniger's (where most of us got the seed potatoes), advised we did nothing wrong, and we got what was to be expected growing short-season spuds in the Southern states. They advised that only the long-season spuds (100+ DTM) will give the high yields and make those wonderful underground potato "trees" that give you a bumper crop.

So, I've completed mismanaged my spring harvest timeframe by planting on Aug. 28th. If I can keep them happy, I MIGHT bring some in by Nov. 1st or thereabouts.

I also have a fresh batch of LONG-season spuds that I'll plant out at the end of May as another experiment to see if I can get a large harvest. I've got plenty depth in the molasses tubs, so I can hill up at least 22".

But, I need help with the timeframes. You're planting out again in Sept., right?
What potatoes will you set?



Kemp, TX(Zone 8a)

I planted the little red potatoes (don't know the name), but I bought the seed potatoes at Tractor Supply... bag just said "red potatoes". Then I just saved about 2" of them for the next planting.
Ok, here's what I do.
Usually early mid January I cut them and set them out in a well lit place in the house but not in direct sun until they sprout, and the cut side has hardened over (about 4 weeks).
First, the holes you see in that bucket for the beans... I tape those holes for the potatoes... just wide blue painter's tape does just fine.
Around mid February I put about 6" of soil in the bottom. The soil is a mix of native soil from the garden, and self made compost, a little composted cow manure, and a bit of pearlite. I place my seeds a little close by most instructions I read, about 6" apart. I got 2# of seed potatoes in that bucket. Then I cover them seeds with about 4 inches or so of the soil mix. As the vines grow to about 4-6" fill the bucket around them with just compost from my bin, mostly leaf mold, not completely composted material. (After the first year, I used just the soil I removed from the bucket without adding any additional compost)... (eventually, I will need to start over, I think... but this is year 3 of the mix I have been using) Just sprinkle it in, don't pack it around the stems... keep it fluffy.
I keep filling the bucket until I start seeing blooms. Last year, and the year before the bucket was only about 3/4 full... this year it was full to the top.
Since we still have cold snaps in Feb and March, I do keep a clear plastic cover over the top to keep night frosts from nipping them. I uncover during the day if it warms up. By the time the plants reach the top of the barrel, it's April... and we don't get frosts then, so I don't cover.
I start counting from the day I plant the seeds... 90 days. But, if the plants are still blooming I wait till they quit. Then, I dump out the barrel onto a tarp... gather my potatoes, remove tape from the barrel, and start my beans.
The beans are usually finished by September, so I last year I planted another crop of fall potatoes... and will again this year. Doesn't get so cold here till January, so we have plenty time to grow some more.

Clifton, VA(Zone 7a)

I start bean seeds indoors for a couple of reasons: to get a 3-4 week head start on the weather, and to keep the squirrels and birds from digging up and eating the seeds before they sprout! Mine always germinate and grow well under strong florescent lights, and are not leggy when I plant them outside. Just because conventional wisdom says that beans are normally direct seeded doesn't mean you have to do it that way!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)


Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

The thing about transplanting beans and peas is, they're more vulnerable to transplant shock than many other veggies. Concentrated Vitamin B1 solution is available at garden stores, and is a good idea for use in transplanting most plants. Tomatoes don't really need it, though, and if you employ a deft hand in transplanting peppers, they seldom need it either.

That's IF you employ a deft hand. Some days I'm deft, some days I'm clumsy as an ox. I'm fond of B1 solution.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

They grow so fast I dont really see a reason to start them early, unless im selling them.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

What does the B1 do for the plant?

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

I'm not sure about EVERYTHING it does. I just know that the horticultural B1 formulas don't cost much money, and they're good both for preventing transplant shock, and for helping a plant recover from transplant shock.

Bjwilson, how many gallons is that bucket? Looks like it would hold at least 10-15 strawberry plants, and I'll bet it would be possible to figure out some way of stacking them for a low-cost strawberry tower.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I asked BJWilson, and that "bucket" is a 55-gallon drum cut in half.

I have some 25-gallon molasses tubs I can use.

Summit, SC

If your seedlings don't turn out alright, it's alright; you can plant bush beans throughout the summer.

Arlington, TX

yea bush beans are easy in summer.
I put some seeds in a large container a week ago and they are already a foot tall.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

You could do the same with a 30-35 gallon Brute trashcan, too! LOTS of beans, strawberries or potatoes!


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