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A Eugene gardener may have designed the perfect bean trellis.

A Eugene gardener may have designed the perfect bean trellis

Few bean trellises have as much going forthem as this one. It's cheap, light, stable, quick and easy to make, and it folds flat for storage. And as if that weren't enough, it supports two rows of peas or beans at once--perfect for raised beds or wide row gardens.

Designed by a gardener in Eugene, Oregon,each trellis is made from scrap 1-by-2s. He made them all the same height but let their widths be governed in part by the leftover lumber he had available.

For the sake of providing a useful pattern,we give specific dimensions here, but you can vary them, as the designer did, to fit your circumstances (row length is probly the main consideration).

Basic construction: start with eight pieces of wood, nails, and string

Simplicity is this bean frame's strong suit.For each 5-foot-wide trellis, you'll need five 6-foot and three 8-foot rough redwood or cedar 1-by-2s (you'll have one 3-foot section left over), 28 2-inch (6d) galvanized nails, two 3-inch (10d) galvanized nails, and string.

You'll also need a hammer and drill withbits to suit the nails used.

Start by cutting one of the 6-foot pieces inhalf, then sawing 3 feet off the end of each 8-foot piece. Round off one corner of each of two of the 6-foot pieces so that they can pivot freely (see photograph on page 242). Working on a large, flat surface like a garage floor, lay out one side of the Aframe, placing two of the 6-foot legs--the ones with square corners--on edge, parallel and 58 inches apart (inside to inside). Nail one 5-foot-long piece across the top, wide side down; complete the square by nailing another 5-foot piece across the legs 8 inches from the bottom. (To avoid splitting the wood, first drill pilot holes slightly smaller than the nails; use two nails per joint.)

Then nail 3-foot diagonal braces acrossthe top corners, from the outside of the legs to the inside of the crosspieces. For a neater look, saw off the braces even with the legs and crosspieces. (The diagonals don't sit quite flush--they sort of warp into place.)

Begin laying out the second side of the A-frameas you did the first side; rounded ends of both legs should face down. Position the legs 56 inches apart (they need to fit inside the first A-frame; check to make sure they do). Nail on the bottom crosspiece, 8 inches from the unrounded bottom end of the legs, and trim it flush. Then nail two 3-foot braces across the bottom corners.

To join the two sides of the trellis at thepeak and allow the A-frame to pivot, drill a pilot hole and pound one 3-inch nail through each pair of legs about 1 inch from the top; bend nail over. Or, instead of nails, use 2 1/2-inch-long bolts.

In the garden

When you set your bean trellis up in thegarden, press the legs into the cultivated earth a little for added stability.

To give the beans something to climb,you'll need to run string from bottom to top crosspieces, along the full length of the trellis. Keep the strings about 6 inches apart--just as far apart as your bean seedlings. This gardener uses cotton string because at season's end it can be easily pulled off and thrown into the compost pile, where it rots.

Photo: By harvest time in late summer,pole beans completely cover trellis

Photo: Light and collapsible to make it easy tocarry, each trellis opens into an A-frame that supports two rows of peas or beans

Photo: With a nail for a pivot and a corner cut offto allow freedom of movement, trellis's rear leg swings back to make it an A-frame
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 1, 1987
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