Our friend Jack and his structurally-sound beanstalk are the things of which fairy tales are made. In my garden, a goldfinch can bring down a pole bean just by considering it as a pleasant and potential perch. Like everyone, poles beans need all the support they can get. Here’s how I do it: the modified wattle (not to be confused with the dance from the 70s).
Early in the season pole beans have a place to grow.
And when it comes to elaborate structures, I say less is more and besides I need to be able to rototill it into the ground next spring. As with most of my projects and thrifty nature, I ask, “What can I use that I already have?” The answer: tree shoots or saplings. Yep, I’ve got sticks for days. After cutting down some young maples, the stump or stool sends up shoots; it’s a practice called coppicing, but any unbranched stick will do. My hands-down favorite green bean to plant is Fortex. It’s french filet type that never gets stringy and has amazing flavor and vigor; at least in the Pacific Northwest.
How to Build a Wattle (or Trellis) for Your Pole Beans
Materials: 7-8 ft sticks, some sturdy, some more flexible
- Firmly push strong sticks into ground until secure.
- Space 6-8 inches apart and repeat down the row’s length
- When vertical sticks are in, start to weave weaker branches horizontally
- Alternate weaving the branches in and out of the vertical sticks
- Repeat but the next row weave out and in.
- Repeat until you have about 6-8 inches of sturdy weave.
- Plant your bean seeds at the base of each vertical pole.
A wattle is simply branches woven as a fence.
Strong enough for a flock of goldfinch and mess of beans.