In the depths of winter and cabin fever, dreams of spring keep me going.
As I look on my snow-shrouded bean teepees, I remember how beautiful they looked this past summer, so laden with beans and pushing their way to the sky. One person who saw them recommended if I heard a NASA countdown start, to take cover. Yes, they sort of looked like rockets on the launch pad.
Bean teepees can add architectural interest to a largely linear garden.
Bean teepees can be constructed of rustic, sturdy limbs or, like mine, milled lumber. Each of my teepees include 4 pieces of 1×2, 8-foot long lumber. The 8-foot length on an angle really helps people like me who are vertically challenged pick veggies off tall vines. I’ve added nails at regular intervals for stringing twine on three sides (and the upper area of the fourth side) to help the beans grow up. Here, you can see a newly planted bean teepee. I always position them with the open side to the north, so that kids and pets can crawl in to get relief from the summer heat. The fancy twine pattern on the north side (the opposite side in this photograph) gives the structure extra strength. I push the legs into the ground well before I do the planting but then give another push to stabilize them in the wet earth. Here, each leg spreads four feet from the other legs, but you could use a three-foot or five-foot spread too (although the three-foot spread is less stable than a wider stance).
I typically plant each bean teepee with different varieties of beans. In this way, I’ll have a longer harvest with more options for use. I’m also much less likely to get tired of any single kind of bean night after night for dinner.
In 2009 I created some combinations myself, like the one you can see in the teepee above, green yard-long asparagus beans from Botanical Interests and red yard-long beans from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seed, available from several other sources too. I also grew wax (yellow) and green French beans from a combination packet at Renee’s Garden. The combination is not available in 2010, but I’ll be ordering her green filet and wax filet together this year instead. I’ll be ordering her Tri-Color Pole Bean Trio too. Other pole beans you may want to try include Kentucky Wonder.
Do you photographs or your bean teepees or bean teepee plans you’d like to share with readers of Ozarkhomesteader? Do you have favorite varieties of pole beans? Do you have questions about bean teepees or finding pole bean seeds? Let me know!
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