Easy Beans: Tipi Style

Growing beans on tipis will maximize growing space and extend your growing season.

| February/March 2001

Growing beans on tipis is a great way to maximize your growing space. While beans, peas, gourds or other vinous plants grow up along the tipi poles, you can plant semi-hardy crops, such as lettuce, in the space underneath. The shade from the vines keeps the undercrop cool, which can extend its season by as much as three weeks, depending on your USDA zone.

You can make the poles from any material you like — bamboo to fiberglass. I prefer to make my own from scrap lumber, ripping it into 3/4" squares the length of the wood. The poles should be at least 7' long, but this will vary depending on the height requirements of your plants. Between 8' to 10' are the best all around sizes.

For each tipi you'll need six stakes and about two yards of twine.

1. Mark three of the stakes 18" to 20" from the top. 

2. Lay them out on the ground, with the two outside stakes on the left and the middle one on the right. Line up the marks. 

3. Tie the twine to one of the outside stakes and weave it over and under all the stakes at least twice. Now, draw the woven line tight after wrapping the twine around the woven cord between each set of stakes. Do this at least twice and pull tight. 

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