- Pole Bean Supports: How To Stake Up Pole Beans
- Possible Pole Bean Supports
- Trellises for Pole Beans
- (or other climbing plants)
- How to Grow Pole Beans
- Pole Bean Companion Plants
- Pole Bean Fertilizer – Yes or No?
- Why I Like Pole Beans Better Than Bush Beans
- What are the Best Varieties of Pole Beans to Grow?
- What’s the Best Pole Bean Trellis?
- Do I Need Bees to Pollinate my Pole Beans?
- How Often do I Need to Pick My Beans?
- How Do I Save Pole Bean Seed?
- Storing Your Pole Bean Harvest
Pole Bean Supports: How To Stake Up Pole Beans
Many people prefer to grow pole beans over bush beans due to the fact that pole beans will produce longer. But pole beans do require a little more effort than bush beans because they must be staked up. Learning how to stake pole beans is easy. Let’s look a a few techniques.
Possible Pole Bean Supports
One of the most common pole bean supports is, well, the pole. This straight stick is so often used when staking beans that it is has given its name to the bean it supports. The bean pole is used because it is one of the easiest ways how to stake up pole beans.
When using poles as pole bean supports, you’ll want the pole to be 6 to 8 feet tall. The pole should be rough to help the bean grow up the pole.
When planting pole beans to grow on a pole, plant them in hills and place the pole in the center of the planting.
Bean plant teepee
A bean plant teepee is another popular option for how to stake pole beans. A bean plant teepee is typically made of bamboo, but can be made of any thin long supports, like dowel rods or poles. To make a bean plant teepee, you will take three to four, 5- to 6-foot lengths of the chosen support and tie them together at one end. The untied ends are then spread out a few feet apart on the ground.
The end result is pole bean supports that look very similar to the frame for a Native American teepee. When planting beans on a bean plant teepee, plant one or two seeds at the base of each stick.
A trellis is another popular way how to stake pole beans. A trellis is basically a moveable fence. You can buy these at the store or you can build your own by connecting slats in a criss-cross pattern. Another way to build a trellis for staking beans is to build a frame and cover it with chicken wire. The trellis need to be 5 to 6 feet high for staking beans.
When using a trellis as pole bean supports, plant the pole beans at the base of your trellis about 3 inches apart.
These store bought wire frames are frequently found in the home garden and are a quick, at-hand way how to stake up pole beans. While you can use tomato cages for staking beans, they make less than ideal pole bean supports. This is because they are not tall enough for the typical pole bean plant.
If you use tomato cages as a way how to stake up pole beans, just realize that the bean plants will outgrow the cages and will flop over the top. They will still produce pods, but their production will be reduced.
Trellises for Pole Beans
We reached our 2014 green bean goal. YA!!! The Trellised Green Beans did great!
Our goal this year was to harvest, blanch and freeze 12 gallons of green beans for the year. So far we have 12 bags in the freezer and probably a few more coming. This of course doesn’t count the fresh ones we ate during the harvest time.
Last year I was able to harvest 5 gallons of beans and they didn’t last very long. They are SO much better than store bought. The kids even noticed when I switched.
I recently had someone ask me on our Facebook page how many bean plants produced my 12 bags of beans and how much space I used. I figured since I have an empty trellis to show you, I have at least one curious reader and it’s never too early to start planning for next years garden, I would share how we grow our beans. I LOVE the method I use for growing them.
(or other climbing plants)
Here is an empty trellis. It is empty because the vines were no longer producing.
It measures 6 1/2 feet high (from ground level) x 5 feet wide. The arms at the top come out of each side 7 inches with the poles at 6 inches. The end poles are a t-shape and are pounded into the ground about 18 inches so that needs to be figured into the measurements. The two cross poles are PVC pipe and where they meet the wood they are screwed into the wood.
On the ground I have placed a piece of wood and staked it into the ground, 18 inches from the center on both sides, to keep it from sliding around. When I set these up for the spring I will add twine from the board up to the PVC pipe, using a nail gun to secure it to the wood and just looping it around or staple it at the top.
Planting your Pole Green Beans:
Wait to plant your pole bean seeds until all chances of frost have passed. Read the packet instructions for the pole beans you purchase for more info. Also, your local nursery can give you more climate related advise on when to plant.
How many plants fit on one side of the trellis?
Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am not very good about spacing plants properly. I don’t like to thin them out. I just let them grow. So, any expert gardener would tell you to space them different. Now that you know that…
My trellises are 5 feet in length. They have two sides. My seeds get planted about 3″-4″ apart. Not all of them come up and since I have trellis lines I simply guide/train the plants in the more crowded areas to spread more to the less populated spots. If I have a big space I just shove more seeds in. Yeah I know, very scientific. That means I have about 15 plants per side. That works out to about 110 plants for this year.
How many plants gave me an over 13 bags yield of prepped beans?
First of all… This year they didn’t do fabulous. I didn’t amend the soil like I should have before planting. Last year with only 3 sections/sides I got 5 gallons of prepped and frozen beans. Last year, we would go out to the garden and fill bowls and bowls worth. This year not so much. This year I had 7 rows (3 that are about 6 1/2 feet in length and 4 that are 5 feet in length). I got (not counting what we ate fresh)13 gallons of prepped green beans. If they had produced this year like last year I am positive we would have been closer to 16-18 gallons.
When planting your seeds plant them just inside the trellis lines and when the pole beans spring up most of the plants will find the line on their own. If they don’t, simple take the little stringer and wrap it around your twine line several times.
If you want to learn more on how I prep green beans for freezing see my post: Preserving the Harvest: Green Beans
Why not use grid trellis netting? or have them climb an all wood trellis?
We used this great nylon trellis netting our first year thinking that we would be able to reuse it each year. Well…. The vines were wrapped crazy around it. Yes, I could have reused it if I wanted to stand there and detangle it all for HOURS.
I don’t want to spend LOTS of time untangling little vines off of wood or nylon line. Since I have better things to do with my life, we switched to twine.
Close-up Green beans
Twine is MUCH better
1) The plants seem to grab onto it easier
2) LOTS cheaper
3) It can be burned or composted. For easier composting I would cut into smaller sections and then just throw the whole mess of twisted vines and twine in the compost bin.
4) It’s easy to put on the trellis.
Here are the trellises covered with vines. I love vertical gardening!
It’s a beautiful thing! These are still hanging because they are still producing. Once they are finished I simply cut all the lines at ground level, pulled out the plants, cut the top lines and clear off any crazy stragglers off the fence. It took us about 5 minutes to clear off a full trellis earlier today.
Would love to hear from you! If you have a comment question or you have a great vertical gardening idea you would like to share put a comment with a link in the comments.
The Frabjus Lady
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There are a lot of different kinds of beans out there, but not many can steal the spotlight from the simple green bean. Whether baked in a casserole, eaten as a healthy snack, or taken to market, growing your own beans can be an excellent pastime. But there’s one small catch. You need to grow them on a pole because they are a vining plant that does best when it is climbing.
Growing beans on a pole or trellis may seem like a lot of extra work to save space in your garden. All of these beans can be grown in a bush form instead, but utilizing a pole will do more than just save space. Growing your beans vertically will lead to larger and more reliable harvests. Pole bean pods are easier to harvest, and some gardeners swear the beans taste better as well.
If you’re willing to put the work in up front, these beans will more than prove their worth. Here’s how you can get started.
The ideal soil temperature for pole beans is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to sow is after the spring frost. The soil also needs to be somewhat fertile, but adding a little compost can solve that problem. Be sure to use compost with little to no manure—doing so will keep some pests away. Pole beans also need a lot of moisture. Mulch is a perfect solution to maintain a proper balance.
How to Plant Pole Beans
The first thing you’ll need is either a trellis or stake for your plants. Pole beans can reach up to five to 10 feet tall, so keep that in mind when making preparations. Plant your seeds directly into the soil, three inches apart and one inch deep. You will need to thin them out as they grow, leaving space up to four inches between each young plant.
Caring for Your Pole Beans
As mentioned before, it is important to keep the soil moist. Adding mulch to the area around plants will help your soil retain water. Early in the morning, before the heat of the day, is the best time to water your beans. During hot summer weather, be sure to keep the roots moist. Light watering is fine until the flowers bloom. Remove the flowers as they fall, as too much nitrogen in the soil will yield you fewer pods.
Pests and Diseases
Unfortunately, pests enjoy beans as much as people do. Aphids, cutworms, and beetles of a few different varieties are a few notable species with an appetite for beans. Some bugs can wash off when watering, but be sure to check your plants daily afterward for signs of infection. Quarantine or dispose of infected plants, and make sure to keep their foliage dry. White mold can also afflict pole beans in the right environment. Mosaic virus, a genetic virus that can affect plants, is another threat. This infection can cause leaves to become discolored and display a mosaic-like texture.
Harvesting and Storage
Pole beans are ready to harvest as soon as the pods have matured. Picking the pods as they grow can increase your yield. Pods are ready to pick when they are firm and a good size. To remove them, snap or cut off the pods. Do not tear pods from the plant—this rough treatment will cause damage. Pole beans can stay fresh for four days. They tend to toughen over time however. Pole beans will keep best if canned, pickled, or frozen.
Varieties of Pole Beans
There are many different types of pole beans. So pick one that is best suited to your garden. Here are our top 10 garden picks.
Asian Winged Bean: These pods have four winged edges as well as edible roots. They grow well in high heat and humidity.
Blue Lake Stringless Bean: A stringless variety of the Blue Lake Bean that is known for prolific, flavorful harvests.
Chinese Long Bean: A variety that lives up to its name, the Chinese Long Bean can grow 10 feet tall or more and has pods up to 30 inches long. It’s also able to grow in both hot and cold climates.
Climbing French: With distinct purple leaves and stringless pods, this variety is commonly grown in Britain for its delicious taste.
Kentucky Wonder Pole: This stringless variety was first popular in the 1900s for its flavor. It’s still commonly found in home gardens.
Lazy Housewife: An heirloom bean that was first sold in 1810 and was marketed as the first stringless green bean.
Purple Podded Pole Bean: These purple pods are stringless and tender, and they grow to seven inches in length. You will have plenty of beans if you grow this variety.
Rattlesnake Pole Bean: This variety gets its name for its dark green pods with purple streaks. It is drought resistant and can grow in sandy soil.
Romano Pole Bean: This stringless variety is special because it is mosaic virus resistant. The pods are flat, thick, tender, and prized by gourmets.
Scarlet Runner Bean: This variety gets its name for its dazzling red flowers. It grows well in cooler temperatures and can reach up 10 feet tall.
With so many varieties of pole beans, picking the best one for your garden is a breeze. No matter where you live, there is a pole bean that will grow in your backyard. All it takes is a trip to your local seed store and some elbow grease.
Now that you know your way around a beanpole, it’s time to plant. Pole beans are tasty and rich in protein, iron, thiamine, and riboflavin. So whether you are starting your own garden or just looking for an easy plant to care for, pole beans can grow taller than your expectations.
Alexandria Harkins is a freelance writer with a passion for literature. Born and raised in Georgia, she now raises her own family in the beautiful blue ridges of the state. With a passion for the earth and all things natural, she hopes to one day assume the family green thumb. For now she studies all things botanical so that she can gain knowledge to start her own herb garden.
Learn more about pole beans
Health benefits of green beans
How to grow pole beans
How to grow green beans in containers
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We grow pole beans because green beans are my boys favorite vegetable, and growing up instead of out gives us more green beans in less space. This post includes easy step by step instructions for growing pole beans, the best pole bean trellis and pole bean varieties, how to save seed from pole beans, pole bean companion plants and why I prefer pole beans over bush beans.
We grow quite a few beans – two double rows of pole beans about 5-6 feet tall and 15 feet long. This provides our family of four with enough beans for fresh eating, canning, freezing and freeze drying, plus extra to swap with the neighbors once we have enough preserved. I haven’t weighed how much we produce, but once the season gets rolling our vines are generally productive until frost. We save some seed from year to year, so we’ve ended up with a pole bean that’s well suited to our area.
How to Grow Pole Beans
- Grow pole beans in a garden bed or container. Full sun is best, but plants will tolerate light shade. Best soil pH is 6.5 -7.5 (neutral soil). Beans like a little potassium and phosphorus, but avoid excess nitrogen. (See below.)
- Plant outside, once the soil has reached 60°F (16ºC). They can be sprouted inside to get a jump start, but beans don’t transplant well. Just ask any school kid who has started one in science class only to bring it home to the garden to plant and die.
- Plant pole bean seeds 1″ (2.5 cm) deep
- Pole bean plant spacing – If you want to grow them around a pole or pyramid, try 4 plants per hill/pole with hills around 18 inches apart. For trellises, place seeds 3″ (7.5 cm) apart. Don’t be fooled by the tiny size of the seeds! When properly cared for, these plants will get huge. I prefer planting a double row, that is, one row on each side of the trellis. A second double row can be planted 3 to 4 feet away so you have room to move between them for picking. (See below.)
- Pole bean seeds should germinate in 7-10 days
- Watering Needs: Soil should be damp (but never soggy) at planting. Keep them pole beans moist while they’re growing, and make sure to provide plenty of water once they start producing. If the plants get too dry, they’ll stop making beans.
- Harvest pole beans every 2-3 days.
In the video below, my son is planting our 2014 crop of pole beans.
Pole Bean Companion Plants
According to The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, they recommend the following for companion plants:
Good pole bean companion plants: Pole beans like carrots, cauliflower, chard, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, marigolds (these may help deter bean beetles), peas, potatoes, rosemary and strawberries
Bad companion plants (avoid planting pole beans near these plants): Basil, beets, cabbage, fennel, kohlrabi, onion family, radish, sunflower
I regularly have sunflowers near my pole beans and haven’t seen any problems with it. Sometimes the beans climb right up the sunflowers. Beans and radish are both commonly attacked by flea beetles, so I could see that keeping them apart would make sense.
Pole Bean Fertilizer – Yes or No?
Do I Need to Fertilize my Beans? No! Don’t overfertilize your beans! Too much nitrogen (like manure or high nitrogen fertilizers) will give you lush leaves and very few beans.
Beans are modest feeders, and like all legumes can actually help improve the soil be creating their own nitrogen from the air. (Nitrogen is the “N” in NPK fertilizers.) There’s just one trick with this – it’s not the beans that make the nitrogen, it’s the bacteria that live on their roots. Without nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil, the bacteria can’t colonize the plant roots, and your beans will struggle.
If you’ve been successfully growing beans, peas or other legumes in your garden, then you probably have nitrogen fixing bacteria in your soil. If you’ve never grown beans or haven’t had success with beans, try a microbial inoculant when you plant. The inoculant is a black powder that you coat your seeds with before planting, or a powder that’s added to the planting trench that contains the needed bacteria. Other than that, some well aged compost or manure in your planting area and you should be good to go.
Why I Like Pole Beans Better Than Bush Beans
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with bush beans. I still grow some bush shell beans that I harvest once, at the end of the season, for dried beans. For my main crop, I switched to pole beans years ago and haven’t looked back. Here are 3 reasons I like pole beans better than bush beans.
- Are easier to pick. It’s so nice to be able to pick some beans standing upright instead of having to be crouched or bent over to pick all the time. As I work down a row, I work up and down the plants so I get to shift positions. Much easier.
- Stay cleaner. This is less of an issue during drier years, but when your garden is wet and muddy, bush beans often end up with the beans covered in muck. With pole beans, the bulk of the crop is well above mud level.
- Are less bothered by pests and diseases. Since the beans grow up away from the ground, they are less likely to be munched on by slugs and other critters. The upright growth habit also promotes better air flow to the foliage, which helps minimize mildew and fungal diseases.
Sure, it takes some time and materials to put up a trellis and take it down at the end of the season, but to me the benefits far outweigh the small amount of extra work.
What are the Best Varieties of Pole Beans to Grow?
My personal favorite are Emerite pole beans, which are a French heirloom. These beans are great over a range of sizes. They have to be really overgrown to get tough and chewy, so if a few beans are missed during one picking, odds are they will still be good at the next. I got my seeds from my mom, who got them from my uncle, and I’ve been saving seeds each year. (More on that in a bit.)
I’ve also read good things about Fortex and Blue Lake, but haven’t tried them yet. If you’d like to try purple pole beans, which can be easier to find when picking, I recommend Purple Podded Pole Beans. The yield isn’t quite as high as the Emerites, but they are a solid producer. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible recommends Gold Marie as a wax bean, and I had pretty good yields with Sultan’s Crescent Golden Green Beans.
Click on the list below to buy these bean varieties online:
- Emerite pole beans
- Blue Lake
- Purple Podded Pole Beans
What’s the Best Pole Bean Trellis?
This is a personal preference, and I’ve seen many beautiful and ingenious trellises specifically built for pole beans or improvised out of materials at hand. Some bean trellis options include:
- The VineSpine™ folding metal trellis – these metal grids fold flat for storage, but can be configured in several different ways as bean supports.
- Cattle panels and recycled pallets – You can see examples of these being used as tomato trellises here, but they can also serve as a bean trellis.
- Sticks or bamboo poles – If you have long sticks or bamboo poles available, they can be arranged down a row or as a tepee to act as a bean supports.
- String bean trellis – If you use biodegradable string, you can cut them down and compost them with your bean stalks at the end of the season. String trellises are typically secured at top and bottom in a tepee configuration. Beans may require some encouragement to climb the strings.
- Arbors – Who says arbors have to grow only grapes or flowers? Bean blossoms are pretty, too, plus you get tasty veggies.
Whatever bean trellis you choose, make sure it is well-secured so it doesn’t tip over in strong winds. The neighbor’s lost their bean tepee in a storm, just when the beans were starting to mature. It was a big mess, and the beans never fully recovered.
The trellis I like to use for my pole beans is nylon trellis netting supported with metal fence posts and wooden cross pieces on top.
3 Reasons I Like Trellis Netting as a Pole Bean Trellis
- Wide openings are easy to reach through for harvesting, can harvest from both sides instead of trying to reach inside a pyramid trellis. I am not a gymnast.
- Durable – My trellis has lasted for many seasons (except when I cut it with clippers – whoops). You might see some of the patches in the photos. Most of my netting is over 5 years old.
- Stores in a small amount of space – The netting itself can be stuffed in a small baggie, while the support posts stack in a corner of the greenhouse.
Steps to Set Up Your Bean Trellis Netting
Place six foot tall metal fence posts at five foot intervals along the row. (If you place the posts so they are perpendicular to the row, it’ll be easier to set a support on top across the wide edge.) Secure trellis netting to each post in at least four spots. I use strips of old sweatpants for this. You could use twine or whatever you have on hand.
To make weeding easier as the season goes on, we place wet newspaper between the double rows and cover it with mulch before hanging the trellis above the mulch. Make sure to get the trellis up while the beans are still small so you don’t end up with a tangled mess.
Pole beans at beginning of the season. Note post 5 feet apart, mulch between rows, trellis secured at several points on each post. Roughly one month later. Beans are starting to go up the trellis. The top cross support was added shortly after this photo was taken.
I plant the beans on each side of the trellis, so it is loaded quite heavily as the season goes on. To help support the bean plants, I tie a wooden cross support to the top of the fence posts, and tether the trellis netting to it at regular intervals. I use 2″x2″ or 1″x2″ pieces around 6 feet long. The beans should shoot right up the trellis without much fuss, although once in a while you may need to point them in the right direction.
Pole beans at full growth. Note cross supports tied to top of posts. See how the red strip of cloth to the left of the photo connects the netting to the wood?
Do I Need Bees to Pollinate my Pole Beans?
No. Beans are usually self-pollinating – but bees are always welcome and may increase yields.
How Often do I Need to Pick My Beans?
Pole beans should be picked every 2-3 days to keep them producing. If you leave mature beans on the vine too long, the plant thinks that its job is done and will stop setting fruit. Don’t forget to make sure they get an inch of water per week if rains fail! No water = no beans.
How Do I Save Pole Bean Seed?
To save pole bean seeds for replanting, they must be fully mature. This means they should ripen and dry on the vine. (These rules apply for bush beans, too.) As a northern grower, my season is fairly short, so I designate the end of a row for seed and that area is not harvested from during the season. Southern growers might be able to pick once or twice and still be able to let a later crop mature.
To save bean seed:
- Keep different bean types at least 10 feet apart. (Yard long beans will not cross pollinate with standard pole beans.)
- To help maintain a strong gene pool, at least 30 plants should be saved for seed, but this may be difficult in small gardens. Get your friends to grow the same variety and swap seeds. 😉
- Allow beans to mature completely and dry on the vine.
- Pick dry bean pods and remove seeds from hulls. Allow to dry completely in an open tray for about a week, then store in an airtight container. Make sure your seeds are completely dry before storage. I ruined an entire jar of seeds with mold because a few seeds were damp.
Nearing the end of the season in mid-September. Note how the beans to the right of the photo (behind my son) appear to be dying, while the others are still quite green. The “dead” beans are the ones I’m saving for seed. Close up of dried pole beans, ready to be harvested for seed.
To recap – plant pole beans in warm soil with microbial inoculant. Don’t use too much fertilizer. Get your trellis up while the beans are small. Water deeply, and pick beans every 2-3 days.
Storing Your Pole Bean Harvest
To freeze beans, blanch 3 minutes, plunge into ice water, and drain. Pack in vacuum seal bags for best storage like. Always label and date your containers. When I freeze dry green beans, I either blanch or cook as if preparing the beans for a meal. I use the automatic cycle on the freeze dryer.
For more bean preservation instructions, see:
- Freezing Fresh Green Beans With or Without Blanching, Step by Step Instructions
- How to Can Green Beans – Green beans are low acid, so you must use a pressure canner, unless you add acid.
- Pickled Dilly Beans with Garlic and Cayenne Pepper – This recipe adds vinegar for acidity and is safe to can in a water bath canner.
For bug trouble, see Natural Garden Pest Control. You may also enjoy the other articles in our Gardening series, such as “Vertical Gardening – Grow More Food in Less Space“.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any bean growing tips or questions, leave a comment and share them below. If you found the post useful, share it with your gardening friends.
Originally published in 2014, updated in 2016, 2018.
Their little farm was a “diamond in the rough” when blogger April of Wahsega Valley Farm and her husband, Mike, moved to a cabin in the Georgia countryside in 2006. Not for long, though.
In the vegetable garden, the couple built a beautiful DIY bean trellis–a bean tunnel, actually–using metal mesh and poles, available at most hardware stores. Here’s how they did it:
Photography via Wahsega Valley Farm.
Above: A neat rectangular kitchen garden, divided into a checkerboard of planting beds sits against a rolling green backdrop.
Above: In the spring of 2012, Mike built two bean tunnels to replace the previous year’s smaller trellises, which had proved “not easy to get underneath to gather beans growing on the inside.”
Above: A few days after planting, “a few of the beans have grabbed onto the bean arbor,” April says.
Above: Metal elbow fittings connect poles to create a canopy. For similar hardware, 3/4-inch Copper 90-Degree Elbows are $1.38 each from Home Depot. A skin of wire mesh covers the skeleton. A roll of 14-gauge Welded Wire (100 feet long by 4 feet wide) is $73.88 from Home Depot.
Above: In the summer of 2012, April (who is 5-foot-10) is able to stand upright under a tunnel to harvest beans growing on the underside.
Here’s a 2015 update from April: “The bean tunnel is still on our property but we no longer live there, unfortunately. It was wonderful for vining veggies. It was quite inexpensive and easy to put together and could easily hold the weight of most any vegetable, I’d think.”
Above: April liked to buy seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
Above: A 1-ounce packet of Dean’s Purple Pole Snap Beans is $2.50. “When cooked, the purple beans turn green,” says April.
Growing up instead of out means you can grow more food in less space. And vertical gardening is perfect for growing veggies, such as peas and pole beans, that naturally want to climb. But they need your support.
A sturdy trellis is easy to make and offers all the support beans need. All you need to do is wait for the produce to roll in.
Make a Support System for Beans:
Step 1: Cut wood
Cut the following pieces from four 1 x 2 x 12’ cedar boards:
- Four 6’
- Four 4’
- Two 2’
Or, ask the Lumber Associate for assistance cutting the wood before you bring it home.
Step 2: Drill holes
On one of the 4’ boards, starting 1½” from one end, mark every 5” until you’ve reached 1½” from the other end. At each mark, using a 7/32” bit, drill a hole in the center of the wood, for a total of 10 holes. Repeat with remaining three 4’ boards.
Step 3: Assemble sides
Lay two 6’ boards down 4’ apart. Place one of the 4’ boards on top of two of the 6’ boards, aligning it so that it crosses the 6’ boards 2” from one of their ends. Pre-drill holes with a 1/8″ drill bit where the boards cross, then attach boards with 1¼” coated deck screws.
Align another 4’ board 8” from the other end of the 6’ boards, drill pilot holes, and secure in place with 1¼” screws.
Repeat with the other two 6’ and 4’ boards, so that you’ve created two sides of the support structure.
Step 4: String twine
Begin stringing by poking twine through the bottom hole closest to the left side of one of the support sides. If it’s difficult to get the twine through, wrap the end with a small piece of packing tape to stiffen it and keep it from unraveling.
Pull twine up to the top board and push it through the second hole to the right. Pull twine back down through a bottom hole, skipping one hole each time. Continue this way, alternating top and bottom, skipping every other hole, until you reach the last hole on the top at the right.
String the twine through it, then down through the bottom hole immediately below it. Begin stringing back to the left, through the holes you skipped the first time, until you get back where you started. Pull the twine as taut as possible. Cut and tie the ends together.
Repeat for the other side of the support.
Step 5: Attach sides
Stand the two sides of the support upright and lean them against one another, so that their vertical pieces overlap at the top and stand a little more than 2’ apart at the bottom. Approximately 2 ½” from the top, where the two sides intersect, drill 1/8” pilot holes and secure together with 1¼” screws.
Step 6: Complete the structure
Place a 2’ board so that it spans the space between the two sides and even with the lower 4’ boards. Drill 1/8” pilot holes and screw in place using two 1¼” screws. Repeat for the other side.
Step 7: Place in garden
In a location that gets full sun and has well-draining soil, dig four holes about 4” deep for the legs of the support. Set the bean support in the holes you’ve dug, and replace dirt to help secure it in place. Plant your peas or beans approximately 6” from the bottom of the support. Water well.
Tip: If you use a biodegradable twine like sisal, you can just snip and compost both the vine and twine at the end of the season.
- Four 1 x 2” x12’ cedar boards
- Tape measure
- Chop saw
- 7/32” drill bit
- ⅛” drill bit
- 1¼” coated deck screws
- Peas or pole bean seeds
- Watering can or garden hose
- Optional: Packing tape