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How to Build a Bean Teepee

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Green beans, the pole variety, are a perfect choice for the home vegetable garden. Whether you have tons of space or just a spare corner of a well-lit flower bed, growing beans on a trellis or teepee is a beautiful and tasty addition. This DIY Bean Teepee is an easy one-hour project that will be dripping with beans by mid summer!

Why Grow Beans Vertically?

The fabulous thing about beans is that they’re pretty easy to grow, and you use seeds, no plant buying needed. The not-so-exciting thing about beans, especially if your garden is a bit on the small side, is that they can take up quite a bit of space. You can opt for bush beans, or pole beans, but either way, you need to make some space for them to spread out.

See my Complete Guide to Growing Pole Beans for more details.

bean teepees

What is a square-foot or small space gardener to do when faced with what to plant in the precious little garden space available? The answer: go up! Taking your garden in a vertical direction helps save space on the ground for plants that really can’t be trellised or staked, and one way to do this with beans is to use a DIY bean teepee.

What is a bean teepee? 

It’s exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve ever seen a picture of a teepee whether real or re-created by Hollywood, then you are familiar with the triangular shape. A bean teepee uses long stakes set farther apart at the bottom that come together at the top. This gives pole beans a place to grow up, and it makes picking the beans once they’re ready such an easier job. Creating a bean teepee takes five minutes, so anyone can do it. Here’s what you’ll need:

Bean Trellis Supplies

How to Build a Bean Teepee

  1. Decide how many poles you’d like to use. For our square-foot garden, I used 4 (72-inch) poles for the first teepee (one in each square foot) and 5 poles in the second (just for a different shape). If you have a larger garden space, you can use more poles and simply set them further apart. We got our coated poles from the local hardware store. You can use wooden poles as well, but they will need to be replaced after 2 seasons or so. stake tag
  2. Place your poles in the ground in the shape you’ve chosen. Our 4-pole teepee will be a square at the bottom, while our 5-pole teepee has a pentagon shape. When you place the poles in the ground, angle them slightly toward the center of the shape.stakes in ground
  3. Gather the tops of the poles with one hand, and with the other, secure them with a zip tie. We found zip ties to be the easiest for a one-person assembly, but you can definitely use twine if you have an extra set of hands. Once the beans grow up the poles, you won’t be able to see the zip tie or twine. teepee top
  4. Plant your beans! I usually plant 2 or 3 bean seeds around the base of each pole. Simply place your bean seeds around the pole base and poke them into the ground with your finger. Cover them, water, and wait! You’ll notice the beans sprouting soon, and they’ll find their way up the pole on their own. If only children were as naturally obedient as bean plants…. 🙂 bean sprouting
  5. Optional- This step isn’t absolutely necessary, and last year I didn’t do this at all, but to give your bean plants a little more to “grab onto,” I will tie some twine to the bottom of one of the stakes, then simply loop that same twine around the next stake, gradually going higher and higher. This creates horizontal lines between the stakes. This helps the bean plants have somewhere to go other than the stake, and can help spread the beans out. twine support
bean teepee

Eventually, your bean plants will grow up and fill in, and you’ll have a lovely vertical element to your garden that is both eye-catching and useful; it’s a win-win! Since we’ve chosen two different shapes for our bean teepees this year, I’m hoping to determine which one will yield more beans. I’d love to know if you’re planting beans this summer, and if so, are you going vertical?? Happy Gardening!

More Garden DIY’S

Yield: 1 Trellis

DIY Bean Teepee or Trellis

bean teepee

Grow pole beans vertically with this easy DIY Bean Teepee. Just a few poles and some twine can keep your garden growing up, saving valuable space and creating a beautiful vertical element for your yard or vegetable garden.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • 4-6 stakes (wood or coated) per teepee (Amazon has some here.)
  • zip ties or twine for the top
  • pole bean seeds (we used Kentucky Blue)
  • (optional) additional twine for additional bean support

Tools

  • Rubber mallet (optional)
  • Scissors

Instructions

    1. Decide how many poles you’d like to use. For our square-foot garden, I used 4 (72-inch) poles for the first teepee (one in each square foot) and 5 poles in the second (just for a different shape). If you have a larger garden space, you can use more poles and simply set them further apart. We got our coated poles from the local hardware store. You can use wooden poles as well, but they will need to be replaced after 2 seasons or so. 
    2. Place your poles in the ground in the shape you’ve chosen. Our 4-pole teepee will be a square at the bottom, while our 5-pole teepee has a pentagon shape. When you place the poles in the ground, angle them slightly toward the center of the shape.
    3. Gather the tops of the poles with one hand, and with the other, secure them with a zip tie. We found zip ties to be the easiest for a one-person assembly, but you can definitely use twine if you have an extra set of hands. Once the beans grow up the poles, you won’t be able to see the zip tie or twine. 
    4. Plant your beans! I usually plant 2 or 3 bean seeds around the base of each pole. Simply place your bean seeds around the pole base and poke them into the ground with your finger. Cover them, water, and wait! You’ll notice the beans sprouting soon, and they’ll find their way up the pole on their own.
    5. Optional- This step isn’t absolutely necessary, and last year I didn’t do this at all, but to give your bean plants a little more to “grab onto,” I will tie some twine to the bottom of one of the stakes, then simply loop that same twine around the next stake, gradually going higher and higher. This creates horizontal lines between the stakes. This helps the bean plants have somewhere to go other than the stake, and can help spread the beans out. 

Notes

Be sure you're using pole beans, not bush.

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