Give then strings to climb and purple hyacinth beans will give you vibrant color and summer shade all in one.
Photo by Fotolia/Swapan
To create a shady spot in the garden and make picking our green beans easier, we bent a 4-by-16-foot metal-mesh cattle panel (available at farm supply stores) into an arch over the path between raised beds. We anchored the panel to the ground with stakes so the wind wouldn’t blow it over and then planted pole beans at each end of the panel to make a green bean archway.
For summer shade on our house during the hottest months, we planted purple hyacinth beans. We nailed strings to the eaves every couple of feet, making sure they were long enough to reach the ground. Then we planted the beans, one or two per string. Some of the seeds did not germinate, but because the vines spread so well, this was not a problem.
When the plants were about a foot tall, we loosely tied the string to the base of the plant and twisted the vine around the string. The vines grew all summer long and into the fall. It made a beautiful sunscreen that the hummingbirds also liked.
Tim, Trina and Phillip Peiffer