Thursday, May 20, 2010

Preparing for the Pole Beans

Last weekend K helped me put up the pole bean trellises. I used nylon netting last year and was amazed that it was strong enough to hold the heavy vines. Here are some pics of the 2009 pole beans:

Unfortunately, the nylon netting proved difficult to clean off the expired bean plants in the fall, I ended up trashing most of it out of frustration. Turns out it was not strong enough to reuse anyway as I discovered earlier this spring that it had become brittle and snapped at the slightest pressure.

We used wire fencing for the bean trellis this year. With care, this fencing can be reused for many years to come:

The pole bean section is at north end of the same plot that the potatoes are planted.

I formed my “rows” for the beans last week beneath the trellises. Today I wove a soaker hose along the rows:

Then covered the area with solar mulch to keep the weeds down and help warm the soil:

Luckily, it rained yesterday so the bed is watered and ready for it’s blanket. Solar mulch also helps keep moisture in the soil. There is just enough room between the potatoes and beans for a row of 4 tomatoes. So I placed the cages here to help secure the solar mulch. The tomatoes will be planted in the next couple of weeks.

Each trellis will be seeded in the next few days with a double row of pole beans. Kentucky Wonder on one trellis and Purple Trionfo Violetto on the other. I grow Kentucky Wonder every year, but this is my first year with Purple Trionfo Violetto. This is also my first year relying completely on pole beans to supply my beans for fresh eating and canning. I usually have several similar sized rows of bush beans as well but gave up this space for other crops. We still have a large supply of canned beans from last year in the pantry, but will the harvest this year supply us with enough to carry us through the following year? We will see.


  1. Those are some nice trellises! Looks like they will last forever.

  2. I always find pole beans very tedious to remove the vines in the fall. Peas are so much simpler to remove. But I love pole beans so I always mess with it every fall! Your support structure looks sturdy and should last a long while.

  3. Dan: I hope so. It seemed like such a waste to throw away the nylon trellis last year. I would rather use something that will last longer.

    kitsapFG: These panels will be removed in the fall, rolled up, and stored in the shed. Any plant debris that isn't removed in the fall will hopefully dry up so it will be easier to remove the following spring.

  4. That's the reason I use compostable twine. Just cut and compost -- if the crop isn't infested with mildew like my peas. Then they go municipal.

    I like your set up. How do you fit in there to pick? Is it hard to find the beans? The purple ones, at least, should be easy to spot.

  5. Stefaneener: I used jute twine the year before and it didn't make it until the end of the season. I was afraid to try it again.

    There is 2.5 feet in between the trellises, just enough space to squeeze in and pick. We called it our bean tunnel when the vines began growing into each other on top.