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There is a better chance of successfully cultivating bush and pole beans yourself by growing them in pots. Everything you need to know, including instructions for sowing, can be found here.

Advantages of pre-breeding

  • Earlier sowing means earlier crops and longer harvest times
  • By preferring more robust young plants in the garden bed, they are more resistant to diseases and pest infestation
  • Less susceptible to snail damage
  • No frostbite and/or developmental disorders due to fluctuating weather conditions
  • Often higher crop yields
Finally, in mid-May, the beans are also sown.

Suitable locations to prefer

All locations that offer frost-free to room temperatures are ideal for sowing bush and pole beans earlier. This can be the unheated or heated greenhouse, but also the window sill in the kitchen or the bright summer house.

The location should meet the following conditions:

  • A minimum temperature of ten to twelve degrees Celsius
  • The ideal ambient temperature is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius (the warmer, the faster germination and more robust plants)
  • High humidity
  • Protected against wind and drafts
  • Bright but no direct sunlight

Best time to sow

While pole and bush beans can be sown in the field in mid-May after the Ice Saints at the earliest, the pre-cultivation season begins in March. Exactly when depends on the ambient temperature:

  • From the beginning of March: in heated rooms
  • From the end of March: in unheated rooms with at least ten degrees Celsius

prepare seeds

Experienced self-growers and hobby gardeners always prepare the seeds before sowing because this promotes germination. That's how it's done:

  • Lightly sand each seed in one spot with a nail file or similar (allows moisture to soak in faster)
  • Then soak in water for at least half a day/overnight, better for 24 hours (promotes germination)

Choose and prepare the pot

To ensure that the sowing of pole and bush beans works without any problems, there are a few details to consider when choosing and preparing the pot:

pot size and shape

The diameter of a pot depends on how many young plants are to be grown in it. Although the shape of the pot is irrelevant, the space in square pots can be better utilized when sowing multiple bean seeds. Elongated boxes, such as the classic balcony box, are also ideal for several plants.

In principle, the following specifications can be adhered to:

  • A space of at least 5 x 5 centimeters in the pot per seed
  • French beans are shallow-rooted - the pot does not have to be particularly deep
  • Pole beans are deep-rooted - already as a young plant they tend to find their way downwards - a pot depth of about 15 centimeters is recommended


The soil must be kept constantly moist for germination. To prevent overwatering or waterlogging, the pot must have a drainage hole and the bottom of the pot must be equipped with a drainage before filling with soil/substrate. It is sufficient to place a one to two centimeter layer of gravel or quartz sand on the bottom of the pot. Shards of pottery also fulfill the drainage purpose.


One of the most important details for the germination and ideal development of sown pole and French beans is the use of a suitable substrate. Cultivation soil is usually very poor in nutrients. However, pole and bush bean seeds prefer a nutrient supply, so that normal potting soil, but also special substrate for vegetable plants can be used. The soil should be moistened immediately before seed distribution.

Tip: When buying normal potting soil, you should pay attention to good quality and refrain from buying cheap products. The latter have an increased risk of pests or pathogens and can often compact very quickly, so that optimal water permeability is no longer given.

Sow bean seeds correctly

  • Press individual seeds about one to two centimeters into the soil
  • Cover lightly with soil (dark germs)
  • If there are several seeds, keep a distance of 5 x 5 centimeters
  • Lightly water the soil (do not flood, otherwise the bean seeds will float around)
  • Stretch translucent foil over the pot to ensure humidity
  • Place the pot in a suitable location
  • Open the foil once a day to exchange air
  • Keep soil continuously moist
  • Germination time: between six and ten days
  • Make sure that the foil does not lie on the shoots - there must be sufficient distance to undisturbed growth
  • Foil can be removed 14 days after germination
  • From the beginning of May, slowly acclimate the young runner and bush beans to the outside, occasionally in the sun
  • Plant in the vegetable patch from mid-May
  • Young plants have the best robustness for outdoor planting from a height of between 15 and 20 centimeters

Tip: If you don't want the runner beans to grow enormously, it is advisable to choose a variety that grows low, such as the "Rakker" variety.

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