Garden problem #1: Man, these shoots are growing out of nowhere. I'll have to cut them and haul them away. Sigh.
Garden problem #2: Hmm, are we out of stakes in the shed? I guess I'll have to go buy some before I can make the bean teepee. Ugh, another errand.
DING, DING, DING!
Are you quicker than I am?
Yep, it took me a minute, but I finally clued in that problem #1 was the solution for problem #2.
The 6-foot long shoots I cut were about a half-inch in diameter. My garden helper (I use the term loosely) and I cut away the small side branches and made five poles to use as a teepee for beans. I gathered the poles at the top and then spread them out in a circle with the bases of most poles about 18 inches apart. Two poles are farther apart, like a door, to allow my son to enter the teepee.
I pushed the poles in the ground a few inches and wrapped the tops with some twine to keep them connected. The whole assembly probably took three minutes. (My brain wave took much longer!)
I have made teepees from man-made garden stakes before, but definitely prefer the natural approach. I like the look, it used materials on hand, and the flexibility of the branches made installation easier. The notches from cut twigs also make the poles interlock.
Simple garden teepees can accommodate cucumbers, melons and squashes. They are great space-saving measures in a garden. Just be sure to carefully consider placement in your garden, such as at the north end where their height won't block sun to surrounding plants.
For a bean teepee use pole beans, not bush (which are perfectly tasty but don't climb). We planted five seeds around each pole. That was the funnest part. My 7-year-old son said, "Hey, these seeds look like candy!" "Yeah, you're right, they do kind of look like Tictacs," I replied.
"And old people candy!" he declared.
I'm still scratching my head about that one. Happy planting!