Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jack and the Bean Trellis

For the past two summers, we grew our beans up old concrete clothesline posts that are no longer used.  It worked great the first year, but the rabbits were on to us last year and got all of our beans.  We knew we had to try something different and we thought one of the new beds we built this spring would be the perfect place since it’s fenced in.  But, we needed a way for the beans to grow up.  Enter: the bean trellis.

Now, for those of you who know me, you know that I only want to have to do/build something once whenever possible.  So, I wanted a way that the trellis could be easily stored for the winter to keep it out of the weather.  I had an idea in my head about what I wanted it to look like and how it would go together.  But, I had never built anything like this and I had no directions so I was, as usual, just winging it.  Here’s how it went.

I started with 8’ 2x4s cut into 5’6” lengths.  I needed four of those to be the legs of the trellis.  I determined the height using the most scientific approach I could think of – I stood next to the garden bed and figured the top of the trellis should come, approximately, to the top of my head.  I’m about 5’7” and the bed is raised about 6”, taking into account that the trellis would lose a few inches of height when spread open.  I always hated math in school so I didn’t figure out exactly how many inches it would lose based on the angle.  It didn’t need to be that exact – it’s just a bean trellis.

Next, I lined up the boards in pairs and drilled holds 6” from the top.  I put a bolt through each pair, which will allow the boards to swing open and closed.  This will make it flat and easy to store in the garage for the winter.

I used two 2x4s on each side as “cross bars” to hold the legs together, making sure to screw them to the correct legs or they wouldn’t swing open.  Tara decided she wanted one outside and one inside leg to swing the same direction (rather than two outside legs going one way and two inside legs going the other).  I measured to ensure that the entire trellis would fit inside one of the new raised beds.  That made the trellis 42” wide.  I used some Rust-Oleum, self-drilling wood screws that we had left over from the new garden bed project.  At the time, I was a little annoyed that I had to choose between a box of around 50 screws (which wasn’t enough for that project) and a box of about 250 screws (which was WAY too many for that project).  But, I’ve found that they are just one of those things that are nice to have around because I have already used the extras on a handful of other projects.  And, they go into wood like a hot knife through butter.  Without having to pre-drill holes, the project time is cut dramatically.

I used a smaller 1”x2” board as the third cross bar on each side (in the middle) in an attempt to save some weight and make the trellis easier to carry.  (I could have used the 1x2 boards for all of the cross bars but I didn’t have enough.  Again, it came from a scrap pile).  For the beans to grow up, we stapled wire fencing to each side of the trellis.


Once the fence was on, the trellis was ready for garden duty.  The last step was to place a small piece of chain on each side of the trellis to prevent it from opening too wide (or falling open in the wind).  This is the final product.

It folds up nicely and is easy enough for me to carry myself, plus it should be convenient to store for the winter. The beans will grow up the outside of the trellis and should be really easy to pick as they come on.

You can see a plastic tube on the top right of the trellis; that's a rain gauge we got for Christmas.  We thought it would be the perfect location since we can see it easily from our kitchen window. And thankfully, we are finally getting some rain in it.

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! Chris is hoping to build a similar cucumber frame later this season to both keep cukes off the ground and give some summer shade to our lettuce.

    Your garden is amazing. I'm jealous of those raised beds.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...