I made a fab discovery at my local garden centre last weekend – dual purpose cane grips for supporting climbing beans and peas. I already had the circular type cane grip, with slots for canes to create a wigwam, but these particular cane grips have sections that clip together to do just that, or you can separate the sections to create other types of support such as a ridge frame for supporting a long row of runner beans.
No more garden twine round canes for me, just look at what I made earlier! I made this small ridge support frame for my French beans in next to no time. It was very easy to put together and the canes are held firmly in place. Yeah I know, I’m very easily pleased!
Now is a good time to start putting your choice of climbing support in place for your peas and beans before planting your seedlings out or sowing directly into the ground. Last year my attempt at supporting my rather rampant mangetout was quite frankly pathetic. The whole shoddy structure of poles, sticks, chicken wire and string ended up leaning right over due to the weight of the plants and threatened to collapse at any given moment. Luckily it just about stayed put.
This year I decided to make a similar but more sturdy structure for my peas using chicken wire and 10 foot bamboo poles. I weaved the chicken wire through 4 bamboo poles, tying any overlapping edges in with wire, then I pushed the poles into the ground going down at least a foot. You can use any height chicken wire it’s entirely up to you, I guess it also depends on which variety of peas you wish to grow. I’m pleased with my effort, it does appear to be much stronger than last years sorry attempt so we shall see how it compares.
Mangetout tendrils really cling to the chicken wire which is why I like using it. I suppose I could have used pea sticks seeing as I grow the taller varieties but because I keep chickens I usually have lots of spare chicken wire lying around -it seemed like such a waste not to try to use it. Personally I don’t like using any type of plastic netting which is lighter in weight for the overall structure than chicken wire, I worry about wild birds getting tangled in it so for me its a no-no. For my runner beans I shall be constructing a ridge frame support rather than doing the usual pole wigwam, I found harvesting the beans growing in the centre of the wigwam rather difficult last season.
Which method(s) do you prefer using for supporting your beans / peas?