Thursday, June 20, 2013

Great Bean Poles

By Sandy Grimwade

Pole beans are a great choice for a small garden and June is the perfect time to plant them. Pole beans give a high yield per square foot of garden and their picking season lasts much longer than bush beans. Here is a recipe for making an inexpensive and simple support tripod for pole beans that will last for years.
Bean tripods
The tripod will support 15 – 20 plants and occupy a triangular space about 30 inches on each side.

  • 3 poles. Any 6 – 8 foot strong wooden stake will do. I use 1” x 2” poles of treated lumber.  I purchased them at a big box store in the construction lumber department – much cheaper than fancy pointed stakes from a garden center,
  • Polyester string (40 – 50 feet) (Don’t use cotton or sisal as it may rot or break after one or two seasons)
  • Strong wire (about 6 inches)
Tops of poles with drilled holes and wire loop
  • Power drill with ¼ inch bit
  • Pliers
  • Saw (if poles do not have a sharpened end)
  • If the poles don’t have a point, saw wedges off one end to make a point, so that the poles can be pushed easily into the ground.
  • Drill 2 ¼" holes through each pole; one about 1" from the top and one about 18" from the pointed end. 
  • Attach the three poles together at the top by threading the wire through all three and twisting the ends together with pliers to form a small loop.
  • Stand the tripod on a lawn or firm surface with the legs evenly spaced. 
  • Thread a piece of string through the holes at the bottom of each poles to form a horizontal triangle. Tie the ends of the string together to form a large stretcher loop. I like to have the legs about 30 inches apart.
  • Tie string about 1/3rd of the way along one side of the horizontal stretcher string, run the string up through the wire loop at the top then back down to the stretcher on the same side. Tie the vertical string to the stretcher another third of the way along. 
  • Repeat for the other two sides of the triangle.
  •  Place the tripod in your prepared bed and push about 9 inches of each leg firmly into the soil.
I like to plant a couple of beans near base of the each pole and one bean every 4 inches or so along the sides depending the variety. When the beans start growing, they will soon grab onto the strings and climb rapidly upwards.

At the end of the season, pull up, fold and store the tripod for next year. The old bean stems come off the string quite easily, especially if they are left to dry out first.

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