Monday, June 05, 2017

How To Grow Pole Beans 7 Feet High
A Better Use For Tomato Cages!

A simple way to grow pole beans.

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Pole Beans 
One of the most enjoyable things about growing beans is to see how tall and how fast they grow. But let's face it, we are all tempted to grow bush beans, especially if we don't have anything for beans to climb on. Here's a really easy way to grow pole beans in a very small space with something you probably already have!

A Better Use for Tomato Cages
Tomato cages are probably the worse design in history. As the tomato plant grows, you are constantly trying to figure out how to stuff the thick stems through the narrow bottom circular ring. There are much better ways to grow and stake tomatoes, such as a square cage made of hog wire. 

As an engineer, I look for ways to use failed contraptions and since I have a pile of useless tomato cages, I thought, "why not build a tower for my beans and other climbing vegetables?" (I am also using this technique to grow cucumbers.) Here's what I did. I asked my husband Doug to demonstrate.

#1 - Place a tomato cage upside down on the growing site.
The picture shows the regular size tomato cages but for my beans, in the pictures below, I use large tomato cages. They will create a 7-foot tower. 

#2 - Insert a second tomato cage right side up into the bottom cage.

#3 - Align the cages so that they are perfectly straight.

#4 - Stake the cages in place with one or two pieces of rebar or other types of stakes.
Beans are pretty top heavy so use 2 stakes.

 #5 - Plant a bean seed at each vertical bar.
As they grow, train them to grow up the bars.

#6 - When the plant grows laterals, tie some twine from the bottom wrung to the top to provide additional vertical bars for the beans to grab.

#7 - Watch them grow!
In a very short time, my Romano beans grew 7 feet tall! And now they are cascading over the top and will make their way back down.

You might even see a hummingbird using it to take a little rest!

Several weeks later!

My Favorite Beans
My favorite beans are the Italian Romano Beans. They are quite prolific and very easy to grow. Here's what they will look like at harvest.

Last year's harvest of Romano beans.
Here are some recipes for Romano Beans:

Romano Green Bean and Garbanzo Bean Salad.

Julienne Cut French Style Green Beans.

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