photo credit: Mike the Gardener
|One of the biggest issues many home vegetable gardeners face is the lack of space. We would love to grow everything and anything, but the reality is such that you can only grow so much.
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there that can help you maximize the space in your garden. One such tip is growing vertically. The sky is truly the limit when growing vertically, and when it comes to growing beans, if space is an issue, pole and/or runner beans are an excellent choice for vertical applications.
I have taken this space saving technique one step further, and while I cannot take credit for inventing this method, I thought I would share what I am doing in my garden to maximize both vertical space and horizontal space in one of my raised vegetable garden beds.
As you can see in the photo I have two teepee structures on each end of the raised bed. Both stand just about 8 feet tall and are connected to one another with another 8 foot piece of wood.
Let me first explain how I made this structure before I get into why and how it is used.
|Each teepee is made from three 8 foot long, 1” x 2” pieces of pine. I screwed all 3 pieces together to form the teepee. Because I only used a single screw to connect one piece to the next, this gives me the flexibility to to make the legs of the teepee as wide, or as narrow as I need. This was particularly helpful as I will explain in a little bit.
Now that I have my teepees constructed, I had to make sure they were secure to the ground since the area they are in can be exposed to some pretty tough wind conditions. I did this by hammering in some stakes and then securing the teepees to stakes with some screws.
My goal was to arrange the teepees on each end of the raised bed, making sure the tops of the teepees were no more than 8 feet apart.
This is the part where the adjustable legs come in very handy. I can adjust the legs to make sure the teepees both fit inside the raised bed and accomplish my 8 foot width issue that I wrote about earlier.
The 8 foot distance is important because that is the length of the other 1”x2” piece of pine that I have to work with. I could have went longer or shorter, but 8 feet is perfect for my application.
|Once I had both teepees set up, I placed the 8 foot piece of wood on top and secured it to the each of the teepees with some twine. Even with the wind conditions the twine works very well.
My bean teepees are now set up. Here is how it works. As the pole beans grow, they will work their way up the teepee legs and eventually across the bar at the top. Of course, along the way, I will make sure I do my part to keep the bean vines going in the right direction. The teepees allow the beans to grow vertically which is a huge space saver.
Just as important, because the beans are growing up the teepees and over the long connecting bar, we have now opened up some space underneath. As you can see in my photo I have taken advantage of this space and planted some lettuce underneath the teepee (since it will be shaded, eventually) and broccoli underneath the connecting bar.
You can plant just about anything here in this space, I happen to choose these two. Peppers and spinach would have been a couple of other great choices here as well.
Hopefully this teepee project sparks some creativity in you to try something new that will help free up some
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