Since my little slice of earth is very, very tiny, I try to grow “up” as many plants as I can to save space. So I decided to build a simple trellis to grow pole beans on.
First some background. The side of my house faces south, which is the best place to plant veggies as far as the amount of sun goes. Since I have a corner lot, I don’t have a neighbor’s house blocking the sun on that side. I have an atrocious-looking air conditioning unit in that area of my yard, so I figure why not hide it from view by planting some lovely vining green beans in front of it. I’ve planted every inch of my backyard, so now my side yard gets the overflow.
Check out my picture. I told you its atrocious. Equally as hideous is the flexible downspout, but I ran it through my fence, and have it pointed at a newer birch tree that loves the extra water. My new trellis will hide that as well.
Because of the way I’m planning to construct my trellis, I need to loosen the soil so that I’ll be able to push my stakes into it. I also took some time to mix in some better soil along with it.
So here’s what I bought at Menard’s. I got the last two! Whew! They’re six feet tall which is the perfect height for my beans.
All I need to build my trellis is a drill, some screws, a pencil, some bamboo, some fishing line and scissors to cut the fishing line with. The screws are from some bunk beds that are no longer with us (I save everything!), and the fishing line (not pictured) I purchased at a garage sale. I use fishing line for all kinds of projects, and was at a loss when my son, Brandon, moved out and took his with him. Bummer.
Next I lay two stakes on top of each other, measure down 5 inches (oops–see below in parenthesis before you drill), and drill a hole large enough to accommodate my screws through both stakes. (Edit–Please note that after construction, I felt it would have been better to drill at a measurement of closer to 10 inches down so that there would be enough room for the cross piece on top that runs parallel to the ground to lay on top of the screwed area instead of having to attach it underneath where the pieces cross.)
Be sure to drill straight or you’ll end up with some scrap wood. There’s not a lot of room for error on my stakes since the screws I’m using are rather large, and require a large hole to be drilled. But hey, the screws were free. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?
Next I insert my screw, and add a lock nut.
I then push my A-frames into the ground, spacing them evenly. I push them in the ground as far as I can push them so they’ll be as stable as possible.
Now I add the piece on the top, and run it under all the frames, attaching it with my trusty fishing line. I need to push the frames in the dirt so they’re all of equal height or my top cross-piece along the top won’t fit right. I couldn’t put the top piece on top of where the pieces are joined because it wouldn’t fit down in the space, and that’s why it’s underneath. In order for the brace piece to lay across the top, I would have had to spread out the bottom pieces way too far.
My poor little vines won’t have enough areas to climb on if I leave it as it is, so I add some cross pieces that are small pieces of bamboo that I also purchased at Menard’s. I tie them on with fishing wire.
I keep adding more bamboo pieces until I have all the cross pieces I want. Here we are complete!
Now I can run my ugly flexible downspout inside my trellis so it’ll be hidden from view once my beans are up and growing. I also have to add some chicken wire around the base of my trellis to keep the bunnies out. Also, we have ground squirrels that like to live in downspouts in my neighborhood, so I keep the downspout inside the fence too. I’ll never quite get why any animal would like to live in a downspout in the blazing hot sun, but then again, we humans hang out in saunas.
Here are my beauties starting to grow.
To the left of my trellis, I attached some screw eyes to my fence, and ran wire thru them for more green beans up on. For a more detailed explanation of how to use a privacy fence for growing vegetables vertically, click here.
Unfortunately, this summer was not a good one for veggies in the Midwest. We had a terrible drought, and lots of heat so my green beans didn’t do too well. There’s an awful lot of yellow in this picture considering the fact that they’re supposed to be green beans! The good news is, my trellis did an outstanding job even though my green beans didn’t.
Note: I left my trellis out all winter, and it’s held up just fine!
Edit to the original post: The following summer, I had better luck with my green beans on my trellis so I thought I’d add some better photos.
If you have an interest in home decorating or enjoy DIY projects to help organize your space, please feel free to check my other blog at HomeStagingBloomingtonIl. You can find additional before and after pictures on my website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com.
This blog was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner (Home Staging Resource at http://www.HomeStagingResource.com) and a Journeyman Painter in the Bloomington/Normal, IL area. You can view her portfolios at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com for more before and after photos.