When I visited Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead last summer, I remember seeing an insanely tall pole bean trellis. As I pondered the logistics of harvesting from such a height, I was told that beans near the bottom could be harvested by hand and those up high could be left for drying. It was one of those things, so simple and effective, that leave you wondering, why didn’t I think of that?
Now, when people see my nine-foot tall bean trellis and ask me how I’ll get to the beans up there, I tell them the same thing. Â The bike wheel trellis is a new addition to my garden this year, thanks to my friend, Allison, who gave me the old wheels.
I took them to a local welder along with two pieces of metal conduit piping, one seven footÂ section and another three foot section. I later cut about a foot off the three-foot section with a hacksaw, but the basic design remained the same.
One bike wheel was welded onto each end of the seven-foot section of pipe. The smaller piece was then welded onto the other side of one wheel. Can you imagine me walking the finished product down the street to my house? It was awkward, but I did it. Using a local welder was key.
I put the trellis on the grass in order to weave the twine through the spokes of one wheel to the other. When I got the twine woven all around the wheels, it was time to place it in the bean bed. I pounded a piece of rebarÂ into the soil where I wanted the trellis to go and slid the short piece of conduit pipe over the rebarÂ and into the soil, pulling it down over the rebar as hard as I could.
I sowed my ‘Trail of Tears’ black bean seeds all around the base of the wheel in a circle pattern, alternating seeds inside and outside of the wheel. Soon, the bean seedlings will be climbing their way up the twine and all I’ll have to do is watch them grow!