This pole bean teepee is a great way to produce a ton of vegetables in a small space. You can grow 25 plants in a few square feet!
My mom is my gardening mentor. She learned from her dad, and she’s passing what she knows down to me. When my kids were little, she urged me to grow my pole beans on a teepee. She promised me that the kids would love it and did she sure deliver on that promise!
For around $10, you’ll have an amazing support system for your pole beans. Plus, you’ll be able to grow WAY more than you can grow in that same square footage using normal methods.
How to make a pole bean teepee
You’ll start by gathering a few supplies:
Once you gather all your supplies, this comes together really quickly!
Step 1 – sharpen the 1x2s
Sharpening the 1x2s is not completely necessary, but it does make sticking them into the ground easier! We used a circular saw and cut the end of ours into points. You can do this by slicing across the board and making the point on one of the edges, or by cutting a little off each side so the point is in the middle of the board.
No matter how you choose to make the point, just make sure to maintain the full 8′ length. You’ll need it! These pole beans get TALL!
Step 2 – determine your pole bean teepee area
Next, determine your pole bean teepee area. Technically, you could probably get by with a 2×2′ square to make your teepee in. However, I really prefer a 4×4′ square. I like my teepees to be roomy on the inside. If you have littles, they will love to hang out in their little fort.
But if you are like me and the kids are past that stage, you can use that interior for more growing space! Lettuce is a cool weather crop and hates the heat. So when the sun starts beating down, it bolts and gets bitter. That’s where the teepee comes in!
All you need to do is plant your lettuce inside the interior of the teepee. As the pole beans grow, they begin to shade the lettuce and keep it cool. That allows you to grow lettuce well into the summer, even though it’s a cool weather crop. Double duty!
Step 3 – press the 1x2s into the ground
Pressing the 1x2s into the ground is often easier to do if it has rained recently. It is sometimes difficult to get them very deep, so after a rain, the soil is softer.
I usually determine where I want the opening to the teepee. I start with those two posts and drive them into the dirt on an angle so they meet at the top.
Then I put the post at the back of the teepee, halfway between the two at the front. Again, this post goes in at an angle so they meet at the top.
Then I put the last 2 posts in. I try to make sure they are about halfway between the front posts and the rear post. The more symmetrical it is, the cooler it looks as it fills up with bean plants!
Step 4 – use twine to secure the teepee
Hop onto a step ladder and grab the tops of the 1x2s and gather them together. Take twine and wrap it around a few times and then tie it off. You can even weave in between the posts to hold them together more securely.
At this point, you have the general outline of the teepee, but you need to make it a little more secure. You don’t want it falling over once it’s laden with heavy bean plants!
Step 5 – pound 1x2s into the ground
Pound each post into the ground with a hammer. It doesn’t need to go in super far, but I normally tap it 5-10 times to get them pretty snug in the ground. The pole bean teepee should be relatively stable at this point.
Step 6 – plant 5 pole beans around each leg of the pole bean teepee
I use the Back to Eden gardening method, so I need to pull back the chipped wood in order to expose the dirt. Evenly space 5 pole beans around the post. Plant them into the dirt according to the package directions as far as depth.
It’s super important to make sure you have pole beans and NOT bush beans. There is a huge difference! Bush beans make little bushes and stay that same size. A pole bean is vining and climbs for what seems like forever!
My very favorite pole beans in the whole world are Renee’s Garden Emerite Pole Beans. They are also called filet green beans. You should DEFINITELY try them! She also has so many other varieties of seeds. I love how she color codes them, so she can put multiple varieties of a particular vegetable all in one pack. That way you don’t have to buy three larger packages of seeds to get 3 varieties!
Step 7 – help the beans up the pole
You’ll be surprised as the beans grow that they have kind of sticky little tendrils. While these really help the beans crawl up the posts, you do have to help them along.
I normally wind them around the poles each morning as I visit the garden. Sometimes you’ll need to tie the plants on so they won’t slide down the post. You can use one of my T shirt ties so that it doesn’t harm the bean vines.
As long as you work with them as they grow, it won’t be a tough task to get them trained up the posts. What will be hard is waiting to eat the fruit of your labor!
Step 8 – harvest your beans!
Once your pole bean teepee is ready to harvest, you can climb inside like my sweet girl did, or you can pick them from the outside. Look closely because those green beans are sneaky and love to hide!
Step 9 – remove vines at the end of the season
Once the season is over and your beans are done producing, you’ll want to cut the vines off the poles. You can put the dead vines in your garbage, in your compost pile, or feed them to your chickens!
Don’t pull the pole bean roots out of the ground. There are really beneficial microorganisms living on them. So just cut the plant off at the top of the soil level. The roots will decompose into the soil over time.
Step 10 – store the pole bean teepee for winter
You won’t want to leave the teepee up over the winter. When the wood remains in the ground, it degrades the wood. They last a lot longer if you store them someplace dry for the winter. I normally just pull them out of the ground, remove the twine, rub off the dirt, and put them inside.
Check out what else you can grow vertically! I wrote posts about:
It will revolutionize your gardening!
I hope this inspires you to make your own pole bean teepee and produce 25 green bean plants in one small space! If you have success stories or questions, I’d love to hear about them below!