The Q&A Archives: Pole Bean Teepee

Question: I am considering planting pole beans for the first time this year, mainly because of space constraints. My question is this: If I make a teepee of four bamboo poles and tie them at the top, does that mean that one pole bean plant should be placed at the bottom of each stake? Also, will pole beans automatically wrap themselves around the stake or do I need to tie them? How tall should the stakes be? If they are 5' or so above ground level would that be sufficient?

Answer: Pole bean teepee's are fun to have in the garden. I'd use either 3 or 5 poles rather than 4. An odd number seems to provide better support for the poles when they're lashed together. In my garden I use 5 poles, set them into the ground, and then wrap string around them at 12" intervals so the vines can climb both up and around. You'll need to get the plants started up the supporting poles and guide them periodically so they twine around the supports. If you let them grow on their own, they're just as apt to twine together as they are to climb up a support. The result can be a real mess to untangle!

Plant your seeds within about 4" of the outside perimeter of the teepee. I space mine 2" apart all around the outside edge so the result is a thick covering for the teepee, but you can space yours farther apart if you'd like to see between the plants.

The length you've chosen should be fine. Make sure the poles start out about 6' tall, to make up for what's lost when you secure them in the ground and when you tie them together at the top.

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