suggestions for trellis for peas and beans

backyardmommaFebruary 26, 2008

I have a wooden privacy fence in my backyard that I would like to grow peas and beans along. I need some suggestions for how to give the little trendils something to grab. I was thinking about lattice (wood stuff at Lowes) but was wondering if the slats would be too wide for the little vines. Also, is my wooden fence going to get too hot in full sun? Any suggestions?

I was also wondering if I could interplant with morning glory or something flowering (with the beans this summer). Would that work or would there be too much competition for each other? Would I have to water too much for the morning glory's liking?

Also does anyone have a favorite vine green bean? What about bush variety?

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I can't speak from experience about interplanting morning glories with beans. But I can tell you what I did when I had access to a privacy fence on the edge of a garden. I simply used nylon braided twine and ran strings every 10" from bottom to the top of the fence. The beans climbed the strings and even grabbed onto some of the cracks in the fence. It worked great. I don't think that the fence will be too hot.

When I did this I put a stake at either end of the fence and even one or two in the middle. Then I ran a string along the bottom (fastened to the stakes). Then I tied my vertical strings to the bottom string, as an anchor and to the top of the fence. It was easy to fasten the strings to the top, since the fence had pointy tops.

There are MANY excellent beans out there. My wife and I prefer more "beany" beans, those which usually have strings and one lets fill out some before picking. Our family heirloom is called Tennessee Cutshort, and it fits this description. Last year I trialed another person's family heirloom (Childers Cutshort), from KY, and discovered that it was very nearly identical to Tennessee Cutshort, which made Jerreth extremely happy, since we had so many of her favorites.

Personally, if I were going to purchase bean seed I'd probably go either to Sandhill Preservation ( or Bill Best's online catalog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bill Best's catalog

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:05PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I agree with George that twine is an excellent trellis--cheap and easy! I've used it plenty of times. I've also grown them on poles tied together tepee style using various kinds of poles.....bamboo, long thin cedar limbs from trees we were removing, etc. I've grown them on chicken wire and woven wire fences. They will climb just about anything.

I don't think I'd interplant them with morning glories as the morning glories would probably out-compete them and limit their production.

One of our favorite pole beans is Cherokee Trail of Tears, an old Hugo, Oklahoma, heirloom from Dr. Wyche (from whom we also get Dr. Wyche's Yellow Tomato) and it is great as a snap bean or dry bean. Others we like include Wonder of Venice, which is a yellow pole Roma-type bean from Franchi Simenti seed, and also Supermarconi, which is a green pole Roma-type from the same seed source. We often grow Roma II bush beans, Pencil Pod Yellow Bush, Royalty Purple Bush and Kentucky Wonder (pole and bush varieties are available). We also like Top Crop (easy to pick with beans on top of the bushy plants) and Contender, which is early and a heavy producer. One of the loveliest beans you can grow is Dragon's Tongue. It has cream-colored pods with purplish stripes/blotches and great beany flavor.

I like to grow Scarlet Runner Beans because the hummingbirds love their blossoms and also grow Purple Hyacinth Beans for their lovely blossoms, which are incredibly ornamental.

There are lots of good sources. I use Seeds of Italy if I want Franchi Simenti seeds, and also SSE and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. There's lots of perfectly good seeds on the seedracks at Wal-Mart too as long as you aren't looking for anything too rare.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 6:41PM
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The string trellis is a excellent solution. It is actually what I use in many modified forms. In other words, what is for sale on ebay or if the local farmers have a bunch of twine left over.

Even the old Jute off of old straw bales will work.

But not nylon.

Use jute or hemp. Baling twine is what we always used. Run your bottom and top wires out of actual wire and zig-zag up an down with the stuff you can just cut off and throw in the compost/mulch pile.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:07PM
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Bailing twine is a great idea! That would be perfect to just cut it off this fall. Then I can just use bailing wire for the lower and upper supports! Thats an Okie garden if I ever saw it! :)
So the trendils will just grab and climb up a vertical and I won't need to run but two horizontal wires? Is the growth habit more straight up instead of sprawling up and horizontal?
Just out of curiosity- why no nylon? Too slick?
Thanks everyone again for all the advice!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:28AM
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Yeah, they will just climb right on up there. Top an bottom wire, hemp or jute for the verticals. Works great. Makes good shade on a porch too.

The reason why you don't use Nylon is that it doesn't rot down in a compost pile. It will stay there long after we are gone. Wrap all up in the tiller. Just generally sucks.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:57AM
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hank1949(Z 7 OKC)

okiedawn, how do you use chicken wire for climbing beans?

I've got a bunch, 2 rolls, of 3' high galvanized wire with 1/2" mesh that I used to make rat cages with. I'm wondering if I could somehow use that for things that climb like beans, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, grapes, etc. Sometimes I think the wire would get too hot from the sun and stunt the plants growth or damage the plants.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 12:50AM
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I have been planning on planting my canteloupe next to my wooden fence, but was just going to use yarn, I wonder if that will work, or not?

Some of my pole beans have a dark brown/black streak running up the stem, I wonder if this would something fungal? Sheri

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 10:28AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Just use some fence posts and set up the stretch of fence alongside the row of climbing plants and they will climb it. I use either recycled baling wire or zip-ties, whatever is handy, to attached the fencing to the posts. I grow all kinds of things on woven wire fencing, including pole beans, peas, cukes, morning glories, etc. The fence doesn't hold enough heat to hurt the plants and I get INCREASED production from plants climbing the trellises because the leaves are more exposed to the sun, and have less disease because the plants aren't crawling along on the soil. You also can raise more stuff in less space when you grow vertically.

Chicken wire isn't sturdy enough for very heavy plants like grapes (they need stakes, poles or arbors) and zucchini and squash (I let them sprawl, or put them inside homemade tomato cages).

Good luck and happy growing.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 10:29AM
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