The bean teepees are in full swing

green bean teepees 1

This is the first year I’ve tried these structures for my pole beans, and they’ve been wildly successful.  Here’s what they looked like early this spring, when we finished building them:

green bean teepees 2

And here’s what they look like now!

green bean teepees 3

These plant produce at an unbelievable rate – I have to pick EVERY DAY, because they grow so quickly that in just one day, they go from the ideal size to too big.  Even though I’m picking every day, I still am averaging a huge bowlful each time – here’s today’s crop:

green beans

Luckily, we don’t have any vacations planned for a while, so I can keep up with the production rate.  This year I’m determined not to fall behind . . . every year I get lazy at some point and forget to pick for a few days, and then am so mad at myself because of all the beans that have grown to an ungainly, overblown size and are too tough to eat.  What a waste of an entire growing season’s work and effort!  This year, I’m vowing to keep on top of the harvest.

green bean teepees 4

The good news is that beans are incredibly easy to preserve – just blanch and freeze, and I have enough bags full in the freezer to last us most of the winter.  Another bit of good news for me is that the girls are getting old enough now to help pick.  The down side:  their quality control leaves much to be desired :)  I have to go behind them and get everything they miss, which kind of defeats the purpose of having them take care of the picking.  However, I hope to train them up sufficiently so that sooner, rather than later, they can take over this part of the veggie gardening.

Sungolds

The tomatoes are finally starting to come on, too – the Sungolds are first, and we picked this entire bowl this afternoon!  They’re so tasty and sweet that I doubt they’ll last until dinner . . .

Edited to add:  per reader requests, I’m including some close-up shots of the teepee parts, in case you’d like to build some of your own.  It’s winter here now, so the plants don’t look so good, but at least you can really see the construction!  We’re currently working on creating a supply list and construction plans, so stay tuned :)

teepee construction photos

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47 comments on “The bean teepees are in full swing

  1. This is just to cool , I am going to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Where do you live?. I am in North Georgia and am interested in doing something like this. Thanks

    • I live in Oregon, but I think these would work well anywhere, as long as you plant a crop/seed that’s climate-rated for your area.

  3. how tall are the planting boxes this is very cute and looks like it will be easy to see and pick the beans

  4. These look great – would also be good for cucumbers, pumpkins, climbing tomatoes etc

  5. Hi there, just letting you know that we put your pics of these brilliant trellises on our Facebook page today and the pics have been much enjoyed here in Australia. If you’d like to have a look you can see our post on our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/thediggersclub Best regards from The Diggers Club

    • Thanks, I’m so glad you’re sharing these – hopefully they’ll inspire a lot of people to plant bean tee-pees this growing season!

    • That’s great, I hope they inspire folks to try planting bean tee-pees this growing season!

  6. Thanks again Blueberry Hill, the pics have been enjoyed a lot – over 1,100 Likes already on Facebook! Best wishes from The Diggers Club

  7. Fantastic I wish the guy who made these for you lived near by..
    What is the width from the outer edge of planter to the other outer edge please

    • Each planter is approx 17″ wide (outer dimensions), and the space between the two is 67″, so from the outer edge of one planter to the outer edge of the other is 102″. However, you could make the spacing wider or narrower, just depending on how steep the slant of your “teepee” was going to be.

  8. This is sooo cool! I’m about to start my first garden and will hopefully be putting in this concept. Is there a direction that these should face to manage maximum sun and shadows?

    • Mine face north/south – I suppose that maximizes sun exposure, since if they’re oriented east/west, one side will get shade in the morning, and the other side in the afternoon.

  9. Also, what lumber did you use? and What’s on the bottom of the boxes? It looks like they’re supported by bricks?

    • We used cedar, because it will last longer – you could use pressure-treated wood, which will last a long time too, but then you have the chemicals in the wood from the pressure treating. We laid down wire mesh on the bottom of each box, because we have problems with gophers and other rodents digging up from the bottom to eat all of our plants, but if that isn’t a problem in your area, you don’t need anything in the bottom – the bricks are just to even up the surface, since some of the beds are located on a slope.

  10. Hi, I love your bean teepee. they look perfect for me because of my back. do you have the plan and supply list so I can make these for my garden.
    Thank you
    Lien

  11. if you save the beans that are too tough to eat and let them dry, you can use them for seed next year! These seeds will produce better than store bought seeds!

    • Great idea, thanks! I always have at least some beans every year that I just don’t get to picking in time, so it’s nice to have a use for them and not feel like they’ve gone to waste.

  12. I agree with Ona, just leave them on the vine until they pods dry out really well, then you won’t have to buy seeds again next year!

  13. Do you have an automated watering system installed in these planters?

    • Yes, we have irrigation tubing (3/4″ and 1/4″) with little pop-up emitters – we tried drip irrigation, but the little holes in the tubing kept getting clogged, and we just didn’t get good enough coverage with the water. This is literally the sixth version of irrigation I’ve tried in veggie beds, and so far it works the best.

  14. RASHID KHAWALDEH

    March 8, 2015 at 11:50 am Reply

    Spectacular

  15. Where can I get plans for the system?

    • I didn’t work off of any set plans – the irrigation is a 3/4″ rubber tubing that runs underground from the control box, under and up through to the surface of the dirt in the box. There, it’s attached to a valve, so that each box’s water can be turned on/off and regulated individually. From the valve runs 1/4″ rubber tubing, and every 12″ or so is a spray mister, which can also be adjusted for direction or amount. I’m working on putting together more specific directions and supply list, hopefully to be posted soon!

  16. I have everything I need to make this but the hog wire! Great idea. I’m going to build one! Thank you so much!

  17. What type of beans did you grow? I am so excited to try this. I am in Oregon as well.

  18. I love this idea!!! I was wondering how they have held up in the rain?? I live in the same area and wasn’t sure if the metal would rust??? Thank you

    • So far I haven’t noticed the rain having any effect – they have not rusted at all (maybe because they’re galvanized?) I don’t know how well they’ll hold up after years and years, but two years in and they’re in great shape :)

  19. This design is great and a great solution for vine growing plants. That lumber is easily identified as pressure treated, the perforation of the lumber is a characteristic of only lumber that has had chemicals forced in to it. I make a wood treatment that is safe for vegetables that protects wood from insects and rot. Lifetime is a brand that makes a similar wood protectant, but it wil cost double. The most naturally resistant types of wood are cedar or redwood. Pressure (harmful chemically) treated lumber has no place in a garden, even cutting this lumber is a health risk.

  20. FYI if you plant white half runners when they get to big. Just dry them on kite string and you have shucky beans or leather back depend on where you from. Its better than brown bean and you eat skins and all.

  21. What a wonderful garden and love the arch for beans which is my favorite to eat.
    Hopefully my husband will build it for me!

  22. Love this idea. Looks like another project….for my brother. :) I think my annoying squirrels are also going to love this. They will think they are at Disney. It is a constant battle to keep these rodents out of my garden.

  23. Ryan & Heather Cupper

    April 1, 2016 at 12:34 am Reply

    Hi there.. I was so inspired from your garden beds that I built 5 4×8’s and 2 2×12’s (2×12’s are for the bean t’pee) I may even add another 2 2×8’s for additional beans. All of our beds are inside dimensions so our beds are a little bigger than the ones you have build (only because we can not have as many beds as you do).

    Can you please send me some pictures and info on the irrigation system you used including the pop up emitters and where you got them from etc. We have a wholesale acct at Dripworks.com and would like to use them for all of the irrigation but would like to see what you are using specifically. I was about to go with drip irrigation.. but read you had problems with that clogging… did you have a filter on it and still had problems?

    Thank you

    • I’d be happy to send you some photos – email me andrea.hungerford@mac.com and I’ll reply with the pics. I don’t believe I was using filters on my drip line, so you may have better luck than I did – I use height-adjustable micxospray emitters.

  24. We built this last fall! And are trying straw bales in ‘troughs’.
    I didn’t set up irrigation yet. Thanks for inspiration!!
    Georgetown, KY

  25. Do you think this would work going down the isle of already existing raised beds? Was there a reason to have a small raised bed just for beans? I’m working on my husband to start this project. Thanks!

    • onblueberryhill

      May 20, 2017 at 5:31 am Reply

      This would work just fine in a regular raised bed – of course, the width of the bed would affect the angle of the boards, but you can work with that to get the height and degree of slope that you desire. We just built these narrow beds to save space :)

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