To grow beans and peas, you need a sturdy system of trellis to hold up those heavy plants. This year, we tried something new. Instead of three poles that meet at the top like a teepee, we made a series of poles in lopsided x-shapes. Each pair of poles is screwed together at the top to allow the poles to scissor to adjust to the row. The ends of the stakes are driven partially into the ground, but not pounded. Instead, we took 1.5′ wood stakes and pounded them in alongside the bottom of the larger stakes. Then we ran two screws through to join the short, pounded-in stake to the longer, above-ground poles. The pole sets are every 4′ and joined by a long pole screwed into the top of the x-shape. They also have short screws sticking out every 6-8″ on the side of the pole that faces outward. These screws are what the jute twine is wrapped around to make the trellis. At the end of the season when we’re done, we can cut the twine off and burn it with the remains of the plants. Easy clean up.

Here is what it looks like tonight. It’s raining, so I’m sure I’ll be going out to train another foot of new vine growth tomorrow. Beans go nuts in the rain!

We also have trellis for peas in the back. That was my dad’s idea, and I will never do it again for peas. It’s just T posts every 10′ with chicken wire tied loosely to the poles. Luckily these varieties of peas only grow 2-4′. My Aunt has the same set-up with long-vining peas and the weight of them is tipping over her sturdy T-posts as if they were made of taffy.

The cucumbers are on a trellis that I got at a store a few years back. It’s working perfectly for them. I have to tie the cukes up and keep them trimmed to allow sunlight and bees access to the flowers. This has been my most successful year with cucumbers, and I’m fairly sure the trellis is the reason why. I use jute to tie them up somewhat loosely.

The melons are using the garden fence as a trellis, and it seems to be working so far. Many flowers, but no fruits. Hopefully they take off soon!

By the way, my green beans and late-night pickles turned out lovely!  They’ll be wonderful to dig into this winter.