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Pole Beans Maypole Use

Posted by nutsaboutflowers 2b/3a (My Page) on
Tue, May 7, 13 at 18:27

Does anybody grow their pole beans using a Maypole like in the Lee Valley catalogue, or a homemade version of it?

It looks to me like a great idea, but I'm wondering if it actually works? Don't the plants get pretty crowded when they get to the top?

This post was edited by nutsaboutflowers on Tue, May 7, 13 at 19:13


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

One year DH cut some poles from the woods and made a teepee for my beans. Worked OK altho took up a lot of space in the garden so we went to a row under the veranda with the strings attached bottom and top.

I don't think even the biggest one at Lee Valley is tall enough for scarlet runners as it's only 70" above ground. Our beans grew over 11' tall on individual strings.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

I agree about Scarlet Runners, they used to grow up onto my garage roof and form a cluster up there. Last year I grew Rattlesnake pole beans (delicious by the way) and they are a little shorter but didn't seem to cling as strongly to a single pole. This year I've built a sort of trellis wall for them instead.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

I have two of the taller maypoles from Lee Valley and no, they're not tall enough for any of the pole beans I've grown. I have also made teepees out of 8' poles and yes, they do bunch up at the top. Not a problem for growth or harvesting, but they do make the teepee too top-heavy and more unstable. We had a couple nearly come down even though they were anchored about a foot and we packed the dirt directly around each pole with a heavy metal tamp. I don't do teepees anymore. If my garden was more sheltered from winds, I might for decorative purposes, though. They are quite pretty.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Well darn :)

I guess I'll have to use Plan B, although I have no Plan B yet.....

Gillian, how did you go about building your trellis wall?

Luckygal, maybe I should just tie strings to one of my hated Schubert chokecherry trees. :)

Macky77, if you don't do teepees anymore, what do you do?

This post was edited by nutsaboutflowers on Wed, May 8, 13 at 18:33


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

BTW

I have some of the coated chain link fence that I can put up between t-posts.

Would the spaces be too small for the beans? I know it's not tall enough but I'm mostly wondering about the spaces.

Lynn


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

I think the spaces would be too small. From what I've read, larger spaces are best. I'm trying to figure out what to use to support my pole beans too, NAF. Probably t-posts, but still not sure what to use between them. Maybe twine? I might go look at some wire options this weekend at the Co-op agro, or look around the farm to see if anything could be jimmy-rigged.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

  • Posted by pudge 2/3 Sask (My Page) on
    Wed, May 8, 13 at 20:27

I used long lengths of rebar (they are either 8' or 10') pushed into the ground about a foot, 3 in a teepee style connected at the top with one of those green rubber connectors from lee valley (they work very well). No problem with stability. I grew 3 seeds for each pole, 9 seeds per teepee and just let the beans twine up the rebar. They still passed the top and started to hang down but that was toward the end of the season. I plan to do the same this year.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

I'll post a pic of what I did in the next few weeks. I took some metal decorative panels from my old gazebo that blew apart, and screwed them securely to the inside of my new raised bed before I added the soil. I think they're about 12 feet high.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

"Macky77, if you don't do teepees anymore, what do you do?"

Last year, we used the same poles (cut from our caraganas), but set them up differently. Instead of having four poles cross at the top in a teepee, we set them up in two parallel rows and crossed them in pairs at the top along a top pole. So, basically, a long A-frame tent shape (will attach pic). We knew we were going to need guy wires, but didn't want them to go into the paths. I ended up getting the idea to attach the string to the top of the third pair at each end and stretch it to a buried anchor (12" piece of rebar) at each end. Worked *perfectly* and it was contained within the structure. We had two - one was 15' long and the other was 18' long. The poles were 2 feet apart in the row and the parallel rows were also 2 feet apart. I ran strings of orange binder twine in between them, 12" apart for the runners and purple beans and 6" apart for Emerite and Fortex. One plant per pole/string.

You remember last year's winds and tornado watches I presume. When Greg Johnson (tornadohunter.com) is headed straight for your acreage, you get a little nervous. ;) Well, the bean trellis made it through multiple tornado watches, at least one plough wind (inlaws lost their barn roof) and some just plain old nasty winds last year completely intact. The beans even made it through two bouts of hail. Forgive how beaten-up they look in the photo, but they survived and still produced a lot last year! :)

This year we're going to try and set up something pretty that arches over the centre path. I wish we could get those cattle panels everyone raves about, but I've asked everywhere I can think of and no one sells them here. Very disappointed.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

When I showed a picture to my hubby of those "cattle panels" (which, I don't really get...anything that is that flexible won't hold cattle in very well! That panels we use at the farm are heavy steel and totally inflexible. Anyway..), he said they looked like the wire that they use to reinforce concrete. Maybe you could look for something like that instead? Too bad you can't buy deer fence in small quantities, that would probably work if you cut it up. It's heavy duty but still flexible.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

I know... I had the same thought regarding the name, weeper, lol! My in-laws' cattle would have them beaten pretty quick. I'm familiar with the steel corral panels, like you.

I've looked at concrete reinforcing mesh. It would never support an arch shape on its own, in my opinion (not that I unraveled a roll mind you). It's strong, but too... what's the word... when you bend it it holds the new shape, doesn't want to rebound to the original shape. It's my understanding that the "cattle" panels take quite a bit of effort to bend nicely. Sounds strong and resilient enough to support a mass of vines.

We'll probably figure something out on the fly this weekend, lol. :)


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Yes, us too(figuring something out last minute). I have no clue why I didn't think of what I was going to use...before it got nice out! I'm wondering what to use to support my peas as well. *sigh* It's not like I was so incredibly busy this winter..


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Ha ha Weeper ! It's not like I was incredibly busy this winter either.

Lee Valley has what's called Looped Trellis Wire (PA305) that looks interesting. Pretty pricey per foot, but a person could certainly twist some up on their own if they wanted.

All I can hope for now is that my beans grow even half as well as Macky77's.

Thanks for all the input everyone :)


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Hmm...I'm still considering the tall maypoles from Lee Valley. I bought the "kentucky blue" pole beans, which are supposed to average around 7 ft. Can't you just train the beans back down the wires once they get to the top? Or let them bunch up? Or trim them off?

Macky, if you used them for scarlett runners, was it sturdy enough to support them, or was it in danger of toppling in the wind? (I'm guessing it was you using them for scarlet runners on the "gentle Christian mothers" forum, I saw your post about the maypoles)

Would planting 2 bean plants per strand be too much? Should it just be one plant per strand?


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Katie, last year I used a t-post and binder twine. Yes, when they got too tall, I just made them head downward and/or added more twine. It looked terrible but worked :) I'm going to look for some looped wire this weekend and then make a plan.

Lynn


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Though it was my intent to run scarlet runners up my new maypoles that year, I actually ended up planting sweet peas on them instead. Once you sink the things, they're not 7' anymore... more like 5 1/2', which just isn't adequate for a pole bean. I'll tell you what did happen, though. I'd positioned them in the middle of the birdhouse gourd and white pumpkin vines that year to provide some vertical interest. Well, the sweetpeas ended up not germinating very well and the pumpkin and gourd vines decided to go up and over the maypole instead. It was a right mess, lol! Man, though, the things were strong. I don't think they even tilted with all of that weight on them. That's what you get with so many guy strings, I suppose. They anchor down really well, I'll give them that!


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

OK, good to know, Macky!


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Well, I'm getting one of each size of the maypoles to try. If the larger one doesn't work for my pole beans, there'll be many other uses for it. The smaller one will end up being for vining flowers.

Oh, and Katie, I ordered another set of the tomato trelisses that you convinced me to buy last year. $76.50 is pricey, but what the heck.

Congrats on the upcoming fall arrival. You think gardening is rewarding? Children are much much more :)

Lynn


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

I bought 2 of the tall maypoles, Lynn, with the same theory as yours - if they don't work for beans this year, I can use them for lots of other things. They're just so pretty.

Ha - convinced! You made the buying decision all on your own, missy, so if you don't like them don't come crying to me! ;) I'm sure it'll do any job you want it to, anyway. No way that thing is going to be flopping over. I just have the one, which I got for a Christmas present. I can't at this point justify the cost to my hubby for more..maybe I can accumulate them slowly if I find I really do need something that big and strong. The other cages I bought are also from Lee Valley, but they are steel colored and just called "heavy duty". They are pretty darn heavy and sturdy, so hopefully they'll do the job..they were much cheaper.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

So for those of you who do or have used maypoles before: do you need to space the strings out enough that they are tight right from the beginning? Or do they just become tight once plants start growing up them?

I'm wondering because I set up my maypole and it takes up a huge amount of space! If that is the way it is supposed to be, I guess I'll maybe have to skip planting bush beans this year.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

The strings won't tighten once the beans start growing up them. If anything, strings (in general) sag with the weight of the plants. Remember, these strings are at an angle, not straight vertical. Those Lee Valley strings are good - they don't stretch or sag - but yes, you do pull them tight right from the beginning when you set them up. Yes, they do take a lot of space. You can plant salad greens or something that doesn't mind a bit of shade underneath the contraption, though.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Hey, Katie. When you say the maypole takes up "a huge amount of space", what is your definition of that? I may have planted my beans too close together :(

I don't have a huge garden. Should I start digging up more grass before my maypole arrives?


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

OK, thanks for clearing that up, Macky. I think I will plant some lettuce or something under the maypole, there is plenty of room in there for something.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

"huge" might be a exaggeration, Lynn! ;) I only have a third of my future full sized garden dug, so right now it feels like the 2 maypoles are taking up a lot of prime real-estate. My beds are 4 ft wide, and the strings go right to the edge, so I would estimate that one maypole takes up a 4x4 ft area.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Found a photo for you. I never did measure the diameter of the circle it created, but mine definitely weren't covering that much real estate. How far are you sinking the poles? The further you sink them, the shorter the pole will be and the further out the strings will reach. You don't have to sink it terribly deep because all those string will help secure it. :) Obviously, I was a bit rushed when I was installing the ones in the photo because the circle of strings is bigger on the far one and smaller on the one closer to the camera, lol!


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Yes, mine for sure takes up a larger diameter than yours! The last segment on my maypole is a pointed ended special segment that looks like it is meant to be entirely buried, it is probably 12-16 inches long. The instructions indicate it is meant to be buried.

My husband suggested maybe tying the strings a little shorter so I don't need to make such a large circle.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Macky what an awesome garden space. Thanks for the picture. I have a pretty small garden. The circe of beans that I planted is probably the same size (give or take) as the smaller one you've shown.

Whew!

Weeper, I was thinking the same thing as your husband. He's good at digging though, isn't he? LOL!

I can hardly wait to get my Lee Valley stuff !


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

LOL, yep, my hubby is a good digger! Unfortunately he is a busy boy these days; working full time at the farm and working on an commerce degree/CGA accreditation in his evenings. He is done his classes for the summer in early June, though, and his plan is to dig another 4 beds(4' x 15'), after he reshingles the barn! We have a 3 year plan to have 12 beds dug, I did the 4 last year. I'll be happy when I feel like we aren't constantly working on the next thing in our yard that "has" to get done. I hate having to limit what variety of veggies I plant due to space restrictions! I'm sure you know the feeling. I feel like that is a long ways away though, especially when my time is about to become a lot more occupied!

I went out and tied some of the strings shorter - I'm sure it'll work that way, Lynn, just tie them a couple inches shorter and your circle becomes smaller.


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

I hate to break it to you, weeper, but regardless of how much garden space one has, there's never enough room for all the varieties one wants to plant. ;)


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RE: Pole Beans Maypole Use

Too true, too true. I'm having that issue with roses and peonies right now. And I thought our perennial bed was huge!

On the other hand, at least I'll have room to plant some of everything...this year I'm limited to just the old reliable's, and can't plant cucumbers, winter squash, peppers, or any melons.


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