About Good Scents

The cut flower business ended in 2011 but I continue to post other items about gardening.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pole Beans

I don't grow many vegetables but have been trying to do a few more. One of the things I'm growing this year are pole beans. Pole beans are climbers that don't start producing until a week or 10 days after the bush beans but are supposed to continue bearing until frost if you keep them picked. Most people grow them on teepees made of bamboo poles but you can also grow them on a trellis. I didn't trust myself to build a credible teepee so I got a 16 foot cattle panel and bent it into an arch. The base of the arch is about 4-5 feet wide and you can walk right under it. I planted a row of pole beans on either side of the panel and they have done really well. You can see the beans hanging through the trellis - pretty cool!

I'm completely sold on this way of growing beans. The trellis should last for years and the beans are easy to pick. I'd like to say I thought of this myself but I read about it in the Vertical Gardening forum on GardenWeb. I bought the cattle panel afor $20 at the Tractor Supply in Saline. Transportation can be tricky. A friend of mine has a big stake truck so he picked it up for me but one of the posters on GardenWeb said he just bent the panel into shape and stood it upright in a regular pickup truck. The tension in the panel held it firmly against the sides of the truck and he drove it straight home. I'd probably still want to tie it down but it ought to work.

I am growing two different varieties - 'Blue Lake' and 'Kentucky Wonder'. 'Blue Lake' appears to be a bit more vigorous - it is the one growing on the right side of the trellis - or it may just be that the right side faces east. They are similar in taste but I prefer the 'Blue Lake' a bit. the 'Kentucky Wonder' beans seem a bit more prone to curling, too, so I'll be sticking with 'Blue Lake' from now on.

So far I have harvested about 8 pounds of beans. I'm not as diligent at keeping records as I'd like to be but I'm going to try to keep track of how much I harvest and over how long.

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