Hyacinth Bean Vine- OK on a wooden step ladder??

orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)January 14, 2008

Hello all - I was offered a terrific old wooden ladder from a new neighbor who found it in the garage of the house they just bought. I was thinking of growing a hyacinth bean vine on it. (I just got some from a lovely lady in the seed swap forum). I have never grown these before, and in researching the net for info I find that they are known to get "quite heavy". So here are my questions: Anyone out there done this before? Just how Heavy is "quite heavy"? Can my ladder stand the weight? It is still in great shape, seems to have been kept inside forever. It could still actually be used as a ladder, no soft spots at all. Should I worry that the steps might break from the vines weight? I intend to keep the vine small enough to fit the ladder by pruning, is that ok for the vine? Thanks in advance for all the help!

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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

I grow mine on a 4 foot high fence of 8 foot sections of treated lattice, with 2x4's at top and bottom edge, with 4 x 4 posts, every 8 feet. So I cannot imagine the vines would ever get too heavy for your old ladder. Consider if any commonly occurring high winds would blow it over, when it is fully covered with vines. Post a photo, if you can, when you have planted it.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:30AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

As bogturtle suggests wind will be more of an issue than weight! make sure you secure it to the ground!! It will never get heavy enough to damage the ladder unless the ladder was in super rotted condition! I wouldn't prune the bean vine though, just keep directing the shoots back to the ladder, you'll lose a lot of flowers by pruning!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:31AM
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orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)

Great I'm glad to hear the ladder will do fine. I will be anchoring the ladder into the ground with fence poles to keep it from getting blown over. I appreciate the info on not pruning it, I want lots of flowers so I won't prune, I'll just keep wrapping it around the ladder instead. Thanks so much!!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 4:18PM
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I do love this vine it is so pretty will plant it again.Mine did stay kinda woody but it was in a pot .I still loved the flowers will plant it in full sun this year.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 3:22PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

You may also want to start the seed indoors a bit before your last freeze date. They won't sprout in cool soil if you plant them out, mine wait until early july when the soil warms to sprout if I plant them directly. I usually pot a few up in early April for Memorial day planting, even those tend to stall until the ground warms, expect flowers very late August through first frost unless you start them indoors.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 4:59PM
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I started mine 8 weeks before frost last year. That was my first time growing them. At first they had a few flowers and I thought they were Ok. But they kept getting bigger and more and more flowers, then purple beans. They are great! The hummers love em and they make great cut flowers. I grew about eight. Filix.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 7:12PM
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