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Simple trellis for green beans

Charley Hoke


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
I like growing green beans almost as much as I like eating them. We grow both pole beans and bush beans. I prefer the pole beans because if properly trellised take up less room, but have always detested the complicated trellis systems that I have used in the past. Last year I discovered a simpler way.

First, I keep my rows around 10 feet long and 2 feet apart; I put a wood steak at the ends of the rows sticking about 6 feet out of the ground. Then I tie a stick at the top of each steak to connect them. Then I tie an old piece of bailing twine to the cross stick and let it dangle down to the bean plant. I repeat this for each plant.

The beans will climb the twine and because it dangles, it makes it easier to harvest reaching between the plants as they sway freely. This concept makes it easier in the fall too. When the plant dies and if I have used twine made from jute or other natural fiber, I simply cut the twine loose from the cross stick, pull the bean plant from the ground and toss the whole thing in the compost pile.


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Jeremy Bunag
volunteer

Joined: May 30, 2007
Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
Great setup!  I like how "minimal" it is, especially that the twine is just dangling (rather than building a whole frame and affixing it at the bottom).

Very neat.

-Jeremy
Charley Hoke


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
I am also experimenting with cucumbers, they require a bit more training as they are just as happy spreading out over the ground. Once they grab the twine they will gladly climb as well.

The beans on the other hand will reach for the string as long as it is close, they will find it.

I also like that I can easily reach trough to the next row because it is easy to push the string aside.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15262
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I was thinking about using baling twine until you mentioned composting all of it.  That makes the baling twine idea not so good.


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Charley Hoke


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
paul wheaton wrote:
That makes the baling twine idea not so good.


Why is that? Even if it is jute.

Actually this year I won't be doing that because the twine is plastic.

You got me thinking tho, next year I am going to try honeysuckle vine.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15262
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Would jute work as a baling twine?
Charley Hoke


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
I don't see why jute would not work as bailing twine, it is a very strong fiber.

I'm not sure if the twine I have gotten in the past was jute or not, but it was a natural fiber, at least it looked like it.

For the last couple of years the twine I have been getting is an orange plastic type.

This is an interesting article I found on jute
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-jute.htm
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
I will have to give this a try.One chore in my garden that I don't find particularly enjoyable is tearing the old vines off of the trellis ( I use fence scraps) this would make it so much simpler.  We tend to have very windy conditions in the spring I wonder if I weighted the ends down or anchored them with small sticks in the ground if it wouldn't give the beans and extra chance at grabbing the string.


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Charley Hoke


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
Or you could tie a string across the bottom and tie the dangle strings to that.

I get a lot of wind here too, I actually cut the strings a foot or so longer than I need and lay it directly on the plant. it's amazing how quickly the plants grab hold and once they do wind is not an issue. I keep check on them and help them out till they get going, once they do I just let them go.

Something has been killing my cucumbers so I adopted this method with them and it seems to have helped. The cukes need more training and help but it seems to be working out well.



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Joined: Mar 23, 2009
Posts: 16
I am SO trying it this summer!  Thanks for the great photos, too.
                              


Joined: Jul 12, 2010
Posts: 123
ditto ... just left of center is hyacinth bean vine growing up bailing twine.  I actually tied a piece of twine along the bottom and tied the hanging twine to it... probably not necessary.  This is the west facing wall of my humble abode...  Central Texas.  This vine is so great here.  Second year growing it and never any bug problems.  Provides a lot of shade on the west facing wall during the hottest part of the day.  It also grows faster then lightning and doesnt wither even under the brutal Texas sun.  The pods are edible after leeching them.. didnt try them last year but will this year. 



For the curious.. the vine just right of center is the native morning glory around here.  It's growing up a bamboo teepee that's over a 300 gallon pond.  Its part of the aquaponics system you see in the bottom right part of the picture.  The morning glory shades the pond during the hottest part of the day.  I assume bugs fall into the pond from the vines as well.  Basil is growing like crazy in the hydro beds bottom right.  Green beans are struggling... producing a lot of beans but they dont get very big.  I have some watermelons in the 'ponics as well but theyre not doing so hot either.  Producing a lot of flowers, setting melons and then aborting.

Middle right of center is lemon grass.  Bottom left is sweet potatoes... little grasshoppers are starting to chop 'em ... grrrr.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
for many years now i have grown BUSH beans cause that was what i had seed of available..and you know what..they are a real bugger to pick..pole beans are so much easier ..nice photo


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
                              


Joined: Jul 12, 2010
Posts: 123
for some reason i like the bush beans better when it comes to eating
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
We had an old bed headboard that was sitting behind the shed.

We turned it on its side & buried the end, it worked great for our beans & round ziccini.
Aljaz Plankl


Joined: Feb 18, 2010
Posts: 329
    
    6
I grow beans right on edge below tree crown. I tie strings on branches on edge of crown, just let them dangle and beans have no problem climbing them. String is a bit longer (it touches the ground and still some extra) so there is needed flexibility when it's windy.

Also, here we are growing 9-12 bean seeds up one pole or string. So 9-12 seeds in one hole.

Making fiber strings is a great winter job. Nettles, willow, ...
Kevin Gant


Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Posts: 14
Location: Oklahoma City
    
    1
Did you give this a try yet? I'm in Oklahoma too and would be interested to hear how it turned out with our windy conditions.

Thanks!

Leah Sattler wrote:
I will have to give this a try.One chore in my garden that I don't find particularly enjoyable is tearing the old vines off of the trellis ( I use fence scraps) this would make it so much simpler.  We tend to have very windy conditions in the spring I wonder if I weighted the ends down or anchored them with small sticks in the ground if it wouldn't give the beans and extra chance at grabbing the string.

Mekka Pakanohida


Joined: Aug 16, 2010
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
I like what you did.

Last year my beans grew on multi-branched sticks I put in the ground.  Then when the season for them was over it all got returned to the soil. 

Yours is more long lasting.  Kinda like it.
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
I like that string idea. Very handy for peas to I would imagine. As for pole beans has anyone tried Amaranth or sunflowers in place of corn in a 3 sisters planting?
Mekka Pakanohida


Joined: Aug 16, 2010
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
PapaBear wrote:
I like that string idea. Very handy for peas to I would imagine. As for pole beans has anyone tried Amaranth or sunflowers in place of corn in a 3 sisters planting?


Some tribes had a 4th sister, bee balm as a insect attractant.
                    


Joined: Aug 24, 2009
Posts: 106
my mother had a simple trick holding up a bean trellis that required no tying.  it took poles of course, she stuck them in the ground on this side and the other side, they crossed at the top, sort of forming an x.  then she put a long, extra pole on top, she sort of interwove it,  it was very stable and very easy.  I have done it before like that. She planted three beans at every pole and the poles were  about 18 inches apart.  I played under the bean trellis when I was a little kid.
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
Pakanohida wrote:
Some tribes had a 4th sister, bee balm as a insect attractant.


Actually the 4th sister wasn't bee balm it was rocky mountain bee plant. Besides the insectiary qualities of the plant it also produced edible pods that were used as a grain or eaten immature as a veggie.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i make trellises for beans, peas and such with bamboo and either hemp or nettle twine. the twine lasts a year and the bamboo 2-3. when all is said and done its compostable or chipped for mulch.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
                                


Joined: Feb 14, 2011
Posts: 1
Location: Nampa, Idaho
PapaBear wrote:
I like that string idea. Very handy for peas to I would imagine. As for pole beans has anyone tried Amaranth or sunflowers in place of corn in a 3 sisters planting?


Hi there! I don't know about Amaranth but Sunflowers are allopathic so most plants won't grow well in close proximity to them... I know tomatoes and summer squash don't so probably not winter squash.... not sure about beans but I'm thinking no.


Once in awhile you get shown the light,
in the strangest of places if you look at it right...
                            


Joined: Nov 19, 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Interior Alaska/Middle Tennessee
Think it would work for hops?
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit


Joined: Aug 08, 2010
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
Peas, beans, squash, corn and onions do well with sunflowers. Solanaceae like tomatoes and potatoes don't.
You can plant squash as understory with sunflowers. The sunflowers form a windbreak for the squash but make sure you thin them out a little bit so that the squash gets enough sun. I did it and it worked well (until my sunflowers broke because of too heavy wind ).

I think this is an indian idea.


Life that has a meaning wouldn't ask for its meaning. - Theodor W. Adorno
Jeff Hodgins


Joined: Mar 29, 2011
Posts: 140
I take a tree branch with a V on the big end and I hang it in an other tree with the small branches pointing down. It's free and easy!
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2245
Location: FL
    
  61
String trellis works great.  Easy to put up, does the job.

I've seen wire fence used in the same manner.  Stake it every 6-10', it will hold up.  Where vertical crops are heavier than pole beans, the extra strength comes in handy.  You can vertically grow cucumbers and cantelopes.


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http://farmwhisperer.com
Jack Shawburn


Joined: Jan 18, 2011
Posts: 230
I've always liked the idea of a net for trellis.
Found Rambo here making a simple net anyone can do it.
His other vids do not interest me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF8r-JPIOh8
Maybe Ill use some good cord so it can be reused .
Barrett Johanneson


Joined: Jan 05, 2010
Posts: 21
I'm trying Fat Mama sunflowers near bee balm (lemon bergamot) this year, and it's a bust. Last year's Jimenez pole bean / sunflower interplanting met with mixed results -- the single-file sunflowers lodged, and the beans grew to maturity, but everything was laying on the ground.
                                    


Joined: May 07, 2011
Posts: 46
bee balm or most mints are perennial... while I think it would be good to have them right in with the three sisters I think it would pose some problems in the cultivation of the annuals... i think that growing the sunflowers and amaranth is a better idea.... sunflowers make a great windbreak/insectary/food source... you could also use jarusalem artichokes but then you will run into the same perennial problems that you have with the bee balm but also a larger yield

green bean trellis... right now I have four different trellis in the garden for my runner beans
the first is the chain link fence that separates the property... the next is a siberian elm seedling ... then i have some jute string connecting the guardrail on the porch to the roof... i'm also growing it on my corn in the three sisters planting..... i haven't done any freestanding trellis myself but I haven't had to ... i think your idea is great for those who don't have the infrastructure for the plants to grow on already there.
Pat R Mann


Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 21
Location: Seattle, WA
So how do you deal with pole beans outgrowing the trellis? I don't want to make it taller because it's too hard to harvest. But I feel like I'm not getting the maximum harvest if the beans reach the top and dangle down.
                                    


Joined: May 07, 2011
Posts: 46
unless you have a 10-15 ft tree your beans are definitely going to reach the top of the trellis... what I have noticed happening is that the bean plants will send off side runners off the top of the shoot and they will all tangle with each other... i have tried to train them horizontally then at that point but it takes a lot of work.... for the ones on the chain link fence I just weave the plants horizontally across the top when they get some length past the fence.
matt lutz


Joined: Feb 09, 2012
Posts: 8
I like this bean trellis.I got an idea to secure the bottom of the string. Soil s still too cold to plant seed, but if you get some seedlings started, you could bury the end of the jute next to the bean plant when you stick it in the ground. You think this would work with tomatos?
Craig Dobbelyu


Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 954
Location: Maine (zone 5)
    
  31
Last year I used very long ash poles arranged in a tee-pee. Using ten poles and spacing the bottoms of them about 24 inches apart in a circle was more than enough room to grow beans for my family to have them all year long. I staked the pole to the ground and planted the beans around the base of each pole. The top was about 12 feet from the ground. I liked this design because it made a nice shade inside the tee-pee. My son loved hiding in there and eating all the fresh beans he could. I'm looking forward to creating some more structures like it this year. The beans easily reached the top of the structure and then began to droop off the top like a fountain. It was really nice by the fall when it all went brown.



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Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1392
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
  10
This is just what I was looking for. I am volunteering for a museum garden and we can only use those items and plants that would have been available to 'back country' settlers in the early 1800s. This idea will work just fine for the english peas and later the pole beans.


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Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
i did something similar in the greenhouse last summer but none of the vining plants got big enough to actually climb the string, kinda just sat there haha


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Tom Danielson


Joined: Mar 15, 2012
Posts: 3
I usually do bush beans but this summers Im going with the pole beans and this trellis idea. I have a lot of cedar available and river cane so I think I'll run 5 upright cedars and across the top with some river cane then drop my strings and I ran a set of horizontal strings so it will a little more net like just for fun. I saw some comments regarding jute and my experience with it like tying up tomatoes is that it does rot very fast one season and its done for any tying and would compost very fast, it for sure didn't make it a second season.

I still need to cut my river cane the pieces I had cut were too short and my plant is to leave the trellis for 3 seasons compost the vine each season.

I only found this site last night and really am impressed with all the partnerships and its vast scope. Looking forward to spending some time here.



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Judy Pennington


Joined: Apr 11, 2012
Posts: 1
Have any of you tried a "wattle' fence? they are sustainable, organic, and best of all, free! I found a great article about them at this site.

http://www.melindamyers.com/Composting-and-Managing-Yard-Waste/composting-and-managing-yard-waste/wattle-fence.html

As soon as I can find some suitable materials, I'm going to attempt them myself.
I. Weaver


Joined: Apr 11, 2012
Posts: 1
Hi, LOVE your trellis idea. I think I'll use it with my peas. However, I can't use wooden steaks as cows don't give wooden steaks. I will use use wooden stakes that I'm sure will work handsomely. Sorry, couldn't resist the play on words with your misspelling.
Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 354
    
    1
Last year I use twine in between the poles like you are doing. This year since I have some cane poles
I think that I may use them instead. This is the frame work shown. An interesting thing happened when
putting these trellises up. I wanted them as tall as I could reach and my arms were not long enough to
get them centered over the bed like I meant to do. So I am planting corn on that side of the bed and it
will have a place to go.


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