Saturday, May 4, 2013

How to Make Bean Poles

My husband and I like Sieva Butter Beans.  We prefer the climbing beans as opposed to the bush beans because we get more beans per plant.  The climbing beans do grow rather high and require support.  Initially we used wooden poles but they rotted in a few years.  We had to come up with something else that was durable, easy to handle, easy to make, and inexpensive.

My husband came up with this idea of using 2" schedule 40, 10 foot long, sun resistant, gray Rigid PVC Conduit.  For this project, he needed 6 pieces of Conduit.  Four of them were trimmed to 8 feet.  These four Conduit (pipes) were put 2 feet into the ground.

The two remaining 10 foot pipes were used to brace the two ends.  The braces were fastened by PVC Ys.  When we braced the end pipes in the middle, we found that the flanges broke due to the strain exerted by the top wires caused by the heavy load of the beans vines.  (In the picture, one of the old braces remains and is visible.)

The pipes were also capped.  This prevents water from accumulating and becoming a good breeding point for mosquitos. It also keeps small frogs and other critters from becoming trapped.

After the poles were put into the ground, my husband drilled holes through all four pipes and the braces as well for horizontal wires.  One wire is threaded though all four poles about 6 to 8 inches above the ground; the top wire is 2 to 3 inches from the top; and the middle wire is, you guessed it, in the middle.

Cotton strings are fastened vertically to the metal wires approximately 6 inches apart for the beans to climb.  We are using cotton because these strings will eventually decompose. The horizontal wires will remain on the poles and may be tightened at season's end.  Also, we recommend that cloth strips be tied to the metal wires as caution until the cotton strings are in place and the beans start growing.

The reason the pipes are put rather deeply into the ground is so that they will not blow away causing danger and damage when loaded with heavy and dense vines. After all, we live t the beach and the threat of hurricanes or heavy wind is real.

We are using the same kind of support for the peas but these pipes are cut in half making them 3 feet above the surface.  They do not require braces but they a
re also capped.

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