Protect your vining plants from ground-dwelling animals by giving them a bamboo trellis to climb. Send pole beans scrambling up homemade tepees for an easy bean harvest and a striking vertical presence in your yard.
pole beans on trellis in field

Pole beans are among the easiest legumes to grow, especially when trained up a trellis to reduce bending and stooping at harvest time. A strong support is essential for a productive pole bean crop. For each trellis, build a quick, inexpensive tepee. Wind twine around the poles from top to bottom to create a ladder for the vines in your edible garden.

Tips for Great Beans

  • Moisturizing: Beans thrive when they receive at least an inch of water a week—especially when they are flowering and developing pods. When watering, avoid getting the foliage wet, which encourages disease. Water plants early in the day so any wet foliage dries quickly. Help plants retain water by spreading a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of young plants. 
  • Crop Rotation: Discourage disease development by planting beans in a different part of the garden each year. Diseases that overwinter in the soil will not hinder beans planted several feet away. 
  • No Fertilization: Beans are generally very productive without fertilization. Excessive nitrogen results in copious amounts of leaves and few bean pods. If your soil is lean on nutrients, incorporate a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of well-decomposed compost into the top 8 inches of soil in early spring.
  • Harvesting: Continually harvest ripe beans to encourage the plant to produce more fruit.
  • Working time 20 mins
  • Start to finish 20 mins
  • Difficulty Easy

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

tying bean trellis poles with string
Step 1

Assemble Trellis

Construct a tepee or other trellis to support pole beans before seeding to avoid damaging plant roots later. Tie bamboo stakes together with garden twine to form a tepee and create a season-long support for the vigorous pole beans. Sink stakes at least 12 inches into the ground. 

yellow wax pole beans in planter
Rattlesnake Beans in garden
Credit: Seed Savers Heritage Garden
scarlet runner bean plant
Step 2

Plant Beans

After the chance of frost has passed, plant bean seeds directly into loose, well-tilled garden soil. Don't start beans inside; they do not like to be transplanted. The standard green bean or string bean is usually top-of-mind, but there are other easy-to-grow favorites. Above are three tasty beans that are good climbers: wax beans (left), rattlesnake beans (center), and scarlet runner beans (right).

Step 3

Harvest Beans

Harvest beans when the pods are full, crisp, and fully elongated but before the seeds within the pods are fully developed. For a longer bean harvest, pick the pole beans every couple of days. Continuously picking beans from the stem encourages new growths.


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