Monday, June 30, 2014

Stringing Up Pole Beans

We planted two types of pole beans this year: Runner Cannellini Beans and Hidatsa Shield Beans. Both beans can be eaten green and both beans are great for drying for soups, stews, baked beans, and bean salads! The Cannellini had its origins in Argentina, then made its way to Italy before coming to America. It is full of body and a nutty flavor that is perfect for making soups. The Hidatsa Shield Bean came from North America in the Dakotas. It is one of the three sisters planted with corn and squash by Native Americans. Both beans can grow as tall as 12 feet high. We are hoping our 10 foot posts will support their climbing habits ad they will still produce plenty for eating fresh and for drying.

We need a ladder to work with the ten foot posts! Balancing a post driver on the end of the tall green posts should be a requirement for any circus act! The post driver is made of solid steel and weighs 20 pounds. Tim pounded the posts into the ground until the foot was below the surface of the soil. Each post is made of steel and very strong. 

Nearing the end of the bean row, and finished pounding in the posts. We sure like the ladder that can adjust in all different sizes and shapes. It can be used straight up and down or it can be used bent in half. Just make sure each pin is properly placed before using the ladder.  Once the posts were all driving into the ground, it was time to put the cross bars up.

We used 2" x 2" x 8' wooden bars and tied them to the top of the T post with twine. They are surprisingly sturdy. Each cross bar was mounted and secured, a cross run of twine was tied to each T post at the bottom of the post.  Then it was time to begin lacing line for the beans to climb.   

We laced 15 lines over and under in each section. Over the top wooden bar, under the twine at the bottom.  Just as we were finishing the last section,  we ran out of twine.  At this point, we were going to have to finish the nearly completed project in the morning. While adjusting the lines of twine, the bottom cross line snapped!  There goes all of the work.  It wasn't lost,though   

The wind picked up and tossed the unsecured twine lines in an effort to remind us we are not in charge! 

Finally, the next day we were able to finish the twine runners.  The beans were more than ready to start climbing the twines. Now they seem to be growing and climbing before our eyes! It sure makes picking easier, too! How do you support your pole beans?

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