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Growing beans in far north

 
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Wondering if anyone has tried growing beans in zone 3b or any of the far northern climates? We are in Alaska and would love to grow beans both fresh eating types and drying beans. Hooping to try some in a small greenhouse or cold frame this year if our snow ever melts.

Any tips or ideas that could help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Fava beans work well, Edible leaves and beans.
 
pollinator
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Runner beans grow well in cooler areas but do need pollinators so would probably not work in your case.  Fava beans are another to try as suggested. I try to plant both some early bush beans and some early pole beans.  Most pole beans take longer to start producing and I may or may not get a crop before our first snow.  The combination gives me the early bush production and as they are slowing down my pole beans are kicking in.   I can't afford a greenhouse so I am not sure how well they would grow in one.  

We have not found a dry bean that works yet but this year we are trialing Nez Perce and Yellow Indian Woman to see if they will work.  I do live at just over 6100 ft altitude so warm season veggies can be a challenge.  Our last average frost date is May 20th and we can have snow as early as Sept, with hail a possibility at any time.
 
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I have grown green beans...bush....in zone 3 in  Northern Mn.   They did well.
 
Vickey McDonald
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Dorothy Pohorelow wrote:Runner beans grow well in cooler areas but do need pollinators so would probably not work in your case.  Fava beans are another to try as suggested.
I do live at just over 6100 ft altitude so warm season veggies can be a challenge.  Our last average frost date is May 20th and we can have snow as early as Sept, with hail a possibility at any time.



We do have a good amount of pollinators here. We are around 400 ft so basically sea level. But can be fairly warm for the summer or very wet and chilly for summers. Lots of sunlight or daylight hours but cannot plant outside until Memorial weekend.

My greenhouse is a bit simple. The lower walls are made from pallets with a "sill" on top that has holes cut in. The top is the framework from a 16 x 20 foot canopy like those sold at Costco. The legs fit down into the holes cut into the sills. We then covered it with contractors visqueen. You can often get the frames for free on Craigslist or if you have a local marketplace on Facebook or something. Pallets are often given away at stores or online.
main-greenhouse-2.jpg
pallet and costco canopy frame greenhouse
pallet and costco canopy frame greenhouse
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
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our problem is wind.  For instance this April we had only one day that didn't have a gust of 30 mph or more....  a lot of day actually were gusting over 60.  So greenhouses have to be built to withstand the wind.  More then one has been sent flying or tumbling when we have a high wind day.  It is just one of the challenges growing here.  
 
Vickey McDonald
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Dorothy Pohorelow wrote:our problem is wind.  For instance this April we had only one day that didn't have a gust of 30 mph or more....  a lot of day actually were gusting over 60.  So greenhouses have to be built to withstand the wind.  More then one has been sent flying or tumbling when we have a high wind day.  It is just one of the challenges growing here.  



We get winds like that here. Grew up in Florida so was used to hurricanes and all the hoopla around them. Here, usually not a big deal unless your driving an empty tractor trailer rig across what is called the flats.... Big flat marshy area with high wind. Known for blowing empty rigs over and trucks pulling trailers.

Has some high winds and a lot of snow this past year. Had to pull snow off or as it got deeper my husband actually snow shoed to the top edge so he could get the snow off. Then had to dig out the side to move it away from the walls. He was one sore and tired puppy after that.
 
pollinator
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I grow common beans of the pole and bush varieties as well as favas. I've experimented some with runner beans. I've never grown them anywhere else, so I'm not sure what tips to give, but they grow fine for me in 3b. I stick them in the soil and plants come up. I usually space them too close and tell myself to give them more room next year.
 
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I certainly could be mistaken, but USDA zones, ie 3b, only indicate how cold it usually gets. Another, and I think even more important factor for beans (an annual crop) is last and first frost: that is to say, how long is your growing season. When can you put starts, or a bit later, seeds, in the ground? How long then to the first frost. After you know this, you can see if there are beans that will mature well within that time frame so you can get more than a few meals worth picked off the vines/bushes before they freeze.
 
Vickey McDonald
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Christopher Weeks wrote:I grow common beans of the pole and bush varieties as well as favas. I've experimented some with runner beans. I've never grown them anywhere else, so I'm not sure what tips to give, but they grow fine for me in 3b. I stick them in the soil and plants come up. I usually space them too close and tell myself to give them more room next year.



Do you grow outdoors or in greenhouse?
 
Vickey McDonald
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Barbara Kochan wrote:I certainly could be mistaken, but USDA zones, ie 3b, only indicate how cold it usually gets. Another, and I think even more important factor for beans (an annual crop) is last and first frost: that is to say, how long is your growing season. When can you put starts, or a bit later, seeds, in the ground? How long then to the first frost. After you know this, you can see if there are beans that will mature well within that time frame so you can get more than a few meals worth picked off the vines/bushes before they freeze.



Your frost dates will tell you when to plant and how many "heat days" you have, but your average temperatures (zone) will also tell you if your "heat" days are warm enough for the crop you want to grow.
 
Christopher Weeks
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Vickey McDonald wrote:Do you grow outdoors or in greenhouse?



Oh, outdoors. I'd like to get a greenhouse or high-tunnel or something, for seed-starting and season extension, but it's a few years away.
 
Barbara Kochan
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Vickey McDonald wrote:
Your frost dates will tell you when to plant and how many "heat days" you have, but your average temperatures (zone) will also tell you if your "heat" days are warm enough for the crop you want to grow.



Here is how USDA describes the zones, emphasis mine:

"The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones."
 
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