Last year, I made the regrettable decision of attempting to use my popcorn variety of corn as a trellis for pole beans. Did we still get green beans? Absolutely. Was I disappointed in the experiment? Absolutely. So, I needed to learn how to trellis green beans differently this year as cheaply as I could. For about $20, my husband and I made trellises for two 4 x 8 foot beds of pole green beans. I’m hoping for a bumper crop this year. This year, we’re growing Cherokee Trail of Tears and Purple Pod pole varieties of green beans.
One of my friends was giving away cattle panels that he described as “rusty and beat up.” We said, “perfect! We’ll take ’em all!” A cattle panel is a little over 5 feet tall and 16 feet long. They’re often used in gardens for vegetables that need trellising, or even tomatoes. I’m not even sure how many cattle panels he gave us, but it was definitely a boon against our ever swelling gardening budget.
To make our trellises out of our cattle panels, we bought four pieces of rebar that were two feet long. My husband drove two pieces of rebar into the ground outside each of the short ends of the beds. The rebar acts as a brace against the cattle panels.
Then, we did the hokey pokey and kind of danced about with these long cattle panels to shimmy them into position. Once we had the short end of a cattle panel against the pieces of rebar, my husband started to walk/arc the cattle panel in so it would rest against the rebars on the opposite side. The tension of the flexed position for the cattle panel against the rebar holds the shape and should be stout enough, even hopefully laden with green beans, to survive the gustiest of Kansas wind gusts.
After the trellis was in place, we used gardening twine to give each plant something to climb. We attached one long length of twine by looping the twine through itself so it had two legs of equal length. We secured each leg of twine with a loose tie around the base of the plant. Thus, each plant then had its own length of twine to climb up to the trellis. The plants near the short sides of the bed naturally had less twine until they reach the rainbow-shaped arc of the cattle panel, but then we expect the green beans to climb up the sides of the panels.
- 2 cattle panels: free for us! Otherwise, they’re about $20/apiece new. Scavenge away.
- 1 mile of twine: $13 at our hardware store. We have plenty remaining for other gardening projects.
- 4 pieces of rebar: about $2 a piece, or free if you’re better scavengers than us.
- Approximate total cost per bed with extra gardening twine: $11.
I think our green-bean trellises should be lovely to see (pulcher visu!) later in summer. I’ll keep y’all posted on whether this year’s trellis system works better than lasts!