We love to make the most of our garden space around here, and one way we do that is by gardening vertically. I know I’ve written about vertical gardening many times before. Last year we put up some arched trellises with cattle panels and I wrote about it in this post. Well, when we went to pick up a few more of those 16 ft. cattle panels in the spring, we found some 8 ft. cattle panels and thought those would be perfect for bean trellises. They were!
We’ve grown beans vertically for years with bits of fencing, but growing green beans on an 8 ft. tall wall brought record harvests! (Each panel was 8 x 4 and we put two together for each wall, a total of four panels for making two bean walls. Worth every penny!) It gave the expression “we’ve got beans coming out of our ears” a whole new meaning. We used a step ladder to harvest all summer. We enjoyed green beans sautéed with many meals, and dried and froze green beans for the winter. I can’t even imagine how many pounds of green beans we harvested from this year’s garden, and our most productive spots were those two bean walls we put up.
We even had colanders of green beans coming in from the garden in the first of October. As I write this, on October 10th, we have now taken our bean trellises down for the season. (I wrote down that we harvested the first green beans on July 20th. We had almost 2.5 months of bean harvests.) We will definitely put them in action again in next year’s garden. That’s what’s so great- set them up for the year with a couple of t-posts, and then take them back down again in the fall to set aside for the following year. If you’ve ever created trellises in the garden year after year, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to re-use the panels each season. We loved them so much I wanted to share about it with you for your garden inspiration.
P.S. Since this post is all about beans, I figured I should mention that our family’s favorite variety was the same as last year- Blue Lake Pole Beans. I wrote more in this post.
P.P.S. The only downside I would say about the cattle panels (or any metal used for vertical growing) is that the plants are more reluctant to grow up the metal at first- the temperature can be really cold and then during the day can get really hot. That’s something Jeff pointed out to me and I noticed after he said it that all the plants grew faster and taller on the wood trellises we had- like the bamboo trellises he made. Wood is warmer, and has a more steady temperature. However, it didn’t take long for the other plants to catch up. The green beans grew to the top of the 8 ft. cattle panels in no time and then were reaching out to keep growing past the 8 ft.! So it didn’t end up being much of a problem, but just something to keep in mind for different climates and times of year.
[Edited to add 2023: We used this trellis method for two years and it was great! Though incredibly productive, using a ladder for daily harvests was a pain and some beans were hard to reach even with that. For ease of harvesting, the arched cattle panel trellis method ended up being our preferred choice.]