Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools
Easy Pole Bean Support
Bean teepees are easy to make and will provide support for pole beans or even climbing peas. The rounded shape of a teepee makes it sturdy enough to stand up to the wind, so this is a great choice of support if you have an exposed garden.
Extra-long bamboo canes are most commonly used for making bean teepees, but any other tall supports will work, from lightweight aluminum or PVC pipes to hazel poles.
Build your bean teepee in an area of the garden that gets at least five hours of direct sunshine a day, and dig lots of well-rotted compost into your planting bed before you start.
Building a Bean Teepee
We’re using 8-foot tall bamboo canes to make our bean teepee. This means that even after pushing the canes six inches into the soil and tying the tops together, there’s still at least six feet of cane for the beans to scramble up.
Your bean teepee should be made at least three feet wide, with the poles or canes set about a foot apart. A wide, tall structure allows for a great space within the teepee for kids to play.
Use a garbage can lid or similar object as a guide for your circle. Position the first canes at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, then fill in between. Once they’re all in place, tie a piece of string onto one of the canes, near the top. Then tie the next cane to it, and repeat for all the canes until they’re secured.
To help the beans climb up the teepee, run string horizontally across the canes. For our teepee we’re using three lines – the first about a foot up off the ground, then the other two evenly spaced along the remaining length of canes.
Tip: Our Garden Planner includes a teepee icon that you can add to your plan and customize to the size of your own real-life bean teepee. Refer to the Plant List to see recommended planting and harvesting times for your location so you know when it’s a good time to plant and when your pods are likely to be ready to pick.
Plant the Bean Teepee
Either sow two beans at the base of each cane, then remove the weakest of the two seedlings, or plant robust seedlings that have been raised elsewhere. Loosely tie the young plants in; they should then begin to climb without any more assistance. Water beans after planting and keep the soil moist. Once the pods appear, harvest every couple of days and the plants will keep producing more.
It’s that easy! See our free Bean Growing Guide for more planting information.