We love beans! As soon as they start coming we love to eat them raw and barely cooked with garlic, and of course we like to put some away in the freezer. Last year, we were pretty successful with our bean harvest in the beginner hügelkultur mounds. But I did not realize the importance of supporting the great abundance that comes from a tiny bean seed and many of the little stakes and branches I used to pole them up fell over last year. We could have had so many more beans! So, I decided to start the beans out right and build a teepee! You can too if you need a beautiful and functional support system for your beans!I have had my eye on a few fallen trees behind the fire pit for months now and had my heart set on creating some beautiful fixtures in the garden. Rather than going out and buying new posts and string, as a frugal farmer, I tried to use what I have on hand first. So, while I used fallen trees and new branches and an old ball of yarn, you can definitely do this with new materials. I highly recommend this garden building project. It is relatively quick and a satisfying to create for even the novice builder, like me. You could involve a kid or two to dig, tie, plant, and water. Now our girl can play in and around the teepee as it grows one of her favorite vegetables, and, the beans will flourish (fingers crossed!) And really, I want to play in there too!
Pole Bean Tee Pee
You will need:
- a raised bed set aside for beans or a 6 foot circle in your garden
- pole bean seeds (we used High Mowing Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean) — not Bush Beans!
- 4- 6 or more poles around 6-8 feet long
- string or yarn
Plant in the full sun and where you have good drainage. Beans are great for raised beds (and as we found, hugelkultur) Pole beans will take about 10 weeks to bear and then they continue as long as they are supported, so you can pick all summer until the frost comes! Beans can be direct sown in the garden after the worry of frost has passed.
Prepare the bed, hoe the bed, and rake it smooth, adding a few inches of fertilizer or compost to balance your soil.
Find your support branches or trees. They should be about 8 feet long and 2 inches thick.
Dig your holes for the poles. They should be about a foot deep so that the poles will not blow over. Space them 3-4 feet and place your trees/poles.
Fill each hole with soil and secure poles.
You can drop seeds into the holes if you are feeling adventurous. But seeds only need to be about 2 inches deep, not the depth necessary for securing poles.
I tamped down around each hole I filled with dirt before making my little holes for the seeds.
And planted the pole beans!
The seeds can go in about 2 inches deep and 6 around each pole base, which you can later thin to 3 seedlings per pole. The vines can twist and turn their way up the poles as they reach for the sky. Cover the seeds with loose soil. Moisten the soil well.
Join the tops with rope. We had saved a bit of clothesline rope after setting up the indoor clothesline, so that’s what is used here.
Look! Security. Kind of looks like some antlers…
Then I made sure to criss-cross string down and between the poles to allow the vines to spread horizontally as well as vertically for a nice full effect. This is preemptive because I can imagine forgetting about the beans in the busy weeks to come. You could use any sturdy string or twine. Tie a length of string down each pole and make x’s of string between the poles. Tie them securely. Leave a space between two of the poles without an ‘x’ to create a doorway.
There we have a nice entryway to the garden and well supported pole beans to come soon!