Tuesday, February 24, 2015

HOW TO BUILD A BEAN TEEPEE.... FOR FREE!

Last year I procrastinated way too long getting our beans planted.

I was discouraged that I had no trellis for them to climb and was doubting that I would see a bean harvest in September. The sooner you get to know me the sooner you'll realize I will never be the person who spends countless dollars on some pre-fab trellis from the Home Depot.

I just refuse. 

Especially since I am lucky enough to have around 2 dozen say 20 year old aspen trees surrounding my house. Needless to say trees need limbing on occasion. Our fire pit sits right under a few of the biggest trees, since mama likes a big fire, naturally I had to expand the fire pit to suite my needs.... or wants...  ahem.

I took it upon myself to limb up these trees on a hot day and couldn't think of what better way to put them to use than to make a bean teepee!!! It was either this or building a roost for the chickens. Seeing as they already have a suitable roost, bean tee pee it is.

Branches such as these are not hard to come by in the slightest with the vast amounts of ponderosa and juniper in my area. Limbing up trees in this high desert climate is an important task to tackle as a homeowner and community member.

Help drop the fire hazard in your yard!

Limb up them trees and build a teepee!

What do you have to lose? Absolutely nothing... You'll gain a visually pleasing and efficient way to grow not just beans but many other varieties. This would work great for peas or clematis!!! And if you really do have no branches come on over and take some of mine! Many more trees to limb around these parts and its the perfect time of year to start.




Once the branches were down I cut or broke of all the smaller limbs. I only chose branches 2 1/2"-3' in diameter. You could certainly go bigger, but the beans stalks themselves don't weigh that much and with a continuing harvest they won't weight down these branches in the slightest. 

About a dozen branches were needed for this original design, I plan on adding another half dozen at least. This is preferential to how thick you want the walls of the teepee. Personally I want those babies thick with beans, so I will provide more branches for optimal growing, reaching, and climbing possibilities for the bean stalks.



I used my strongest 4 branches to create the corners. Yes my teepee is a little square.. don't care....

 My intent is for 3 sides to be covered in beans with a fourth side open (if you're wanting it circular, then leave about 1/3 of it open). This teepee is after all not just for me to sit in, I got the idea after wanting a real teepee for Ireland. Since I don't get everything I want, I settled deiced for building her one she can sit in, in the garden while mommy weeds, and learn to help in the garden. 

Mainly, the goal is that the opening however big, square or round, needs to face North. I say again, make sure the opening faces North. Gives the little guys inside the teepee a little more time in the light. I made the mistake of facing it totally opposite and suffered a smaller harvest due to losing a few hours of sun exposure.



After I dug holes for all the branches and finished burying them about 6-9" inches deep I used some garden twine to tie the branches all together at the top. I then wound the twine around the bottom 2 feet about 4 inches apart each pass to provide more anchor support for the stalks. 

No special precautions need me taken in securing the branches. I used no gravel, no cement, no support of any kind. Firstly, this baby will go where we go, if we ever have to move the garden our own lives in general i want it easily removed. And secondly, it is always a good idea to move your bean location every year. In order to proven spread of disease you should always plant your beans in a new location every year. 

Give that poor soil a brea!

Ensure a healthy harvest, rotate locations people, rotate I say!

....Sorry, a bit much? Ok.. but really though....

I heard this quote somewhere, which now escapes my pregnant mind.... For legality sake, these words are not of my mouth, I would love to give credit to whomever spoke them...

It goes something like this....

....gardeners harvest a crop, but they grow soil...

How true is that?!?

Our soil needs the TLC more times than the actual plants do, just some food for thought.



And there they were! I couldn't have been happier with the tee pee, wishing for a bigger harvest this year however.  These bean stalks are roughly 2 weeks old in this shot. 




Ireland and I absolutely loved watching them climb higher and higher everyday. This year little farm girl will get to participate in the grading much more! Last year she loved lounging in the shade of this fun teepee! If you have older kids get them involved in the building process! This project could easily be finished in an afternoon with the kids, or during nap time... ahem... 


Planting seeds,

Q