Today I am going to set up the supporting frames for our beans – both on the balcony and in the garden.

Runner beans and climbing French beans both need strong support to climb up if they are to do well. The both climb, just like Jack’s beanstalk, using tendrils whilch they wrap around their supports and hold themselves up. This means that no tying in is needed – just plenty of material for them to support themselves on.

There are a number of options.

Your local gardening shop will sell pea and bean netting – a nylon mesh which you attach to a frame of canes and make a “wall’ of runner beans or French beans. This can be great, and is easy for picking (remember to allow space to walk down both sides of the wall to pick the beans). The downside is that it can get a bit top heavy and, if you are at all prone to wind, will blow down and get damaged quite quickly.

A variation on this if you want to grow a line of beans, is to have two rows of poles, or two walls of mesh, and lean them in at the top to produce a long “tent” structure. This will be stronger than the straight wall, although it means having to reach a bit further to reach the top beans.

Another option is to build a wigwam of poles. If you put the ends of the poles in the ground in a circle and then tie the ends together at the top, you will have a wigwam. Then plant the beans (and sweat peas if you intend to grow them together) at the base of the poles and the beans will grow up the poles.

Lastly, if you are feeling really artistic and have children, you can grow all sorts of living structures. You can grow an arch of beans, or a playhouse covered in beans. Once you start, the only real limit is your imagination πŸ™‚ You’d be amazed how differently your kids view their green beans after they have played in them for a summer πŸ™‚

Either way – have fun πŸ™‚