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March 16, 2024

LSU AgCenter's Weekly Message

Snap Beans Can be Planted in March

Snap bean plants are frost sensitive, but since they’re planted as seeds and it takes 7 to 14 days for them to emerge, planting in early to mid-March in the southern part of Louisiana will often allow them to escape our last frost. As when planting sweet corn, the soil temperature should be at least 60 degrees F.

Seeds can be planted till mid-May in the spring and can then be sown again between mid-August and mid-September for a fall harvest. Because snap bean flowers are sensitive to high temperatures, planting between mid-May and mid-August is not advised.

There are both bush and pole varieties of snap beans. Pole beans need a structure to climb and typically take a longer to start bearing than bush varieties do, but once they do, they produce for a longer period. To extend the harvest of bush beans, a new planting can be made every couple of weeks.

Pole bean varieties include Kentucky Blue, McCaslan, and Rattlesnake. Bush varieties include Bronco, Bush Blue Lake 274, Provider, Roma II, Royal Burgundy, and Strike.

Soil pH for snap beans should be between pH 5.5 and 6.8.

For every 100 feet of row or 300 square feet, 2.5 pounds (5 cups) of 8-24-24 or another complete fertilizer can be mixed into the soil before planting. Snap bean seed can be damaged by direct contact with fertilizer, so mix fertilizer into the soil well. Optionally, you can also side-dress plants three to four weeks after planting with calcium nitrate, at a rate of 1.5 pounds per 100 feet of row / 300 square feet.

Within each row, space bush bean seeds 2 to 3 inches apart. When planting pole beans, hills with 4 to 5 seeds can be spaced 6 to 12 inches apart. Plant seeds about 1 inch deep.

It will take approximately 50 to 55 days till the first bush beans are ready to pick and about 60 to 65 days for pole beans. Harvest beans before pods starts to bulge due to the growing seeds and while they’re still tender.

Lima or butter beans can be planted soon, too. Because they don’t tolerate cool soil as well as snap beans, wait till later in March, when the soil temperature is at least 65 degrees F.

Let me know if you have questions.

Click here for previous LSU AgCenter's Weekly Messages

Dr. Mary Helen Ferguson is an Extension Agent with the LSU AgCenter, with horticulture responsibilities in Washington and Tangipahoa Parishes. Contact Mary Helen at mhferguson@agcenter.lsu.edu or 985-277-1850 (Hammond) or 985-839-7855 (Franklinton).

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