ArticlesMaking a Trellis for Beans and Peas

One of the most important things you have to do to grow beans (or peas) successfully is to provide them with proper growing support. There are many options out there but I finally focused on building a trellis out of PVC pipe with string mesh netting.

One of the major benefits of this type of trellis is how mobile it is. You can easily reuse it from year to year (or spring / fall seasons) with minimal effort and it makes crop rotation very easy.

I built several different ones for my various peas and beans but here I discuss how to build a 6' tall by 4' wide double row trellis. It works very well to support most types of peas or beans that are planted in a double row 12" apart.

Follow the directions below and you can have your own highly portable trellis.

Bean Trellis Materials

8 - "T" Joints
4 - 12" lengths of Pipe
4 - 6' lengths of Pipe
4 - 2" lengths of Pipe
2 - 4' lengths of Pipe
13' - 4' Wide Mesh Netting
Duct Tape
PCV Cement
2 - 3' Dow Rods - use the widest that will fit into your size of pipe. For added support you can use rebar instead.

Bean Trellis Tools

Pipe Cutter - you can use a PVC pipe cutter or a hacksaw, I actually used my heavy duty tree clippers and they worked great.

Bean Trellis Instructions

In steps 1-4 whenever you connect 2 pieces together you want to be sure to use cementing glue to seal the joint. Be careful because it dries very quickly. Because of this, I highly recommend that you follow steps 1-4 first without using the cement. This way any mistakes aren't permanent. Then once you feel confident with the instructions you can unconnect the trellis pipes and repeat the steps while applying the cement.

Step 1

We'll get started by assembling the two sides of the bean trellis. You'll need two "T" joints, one 12" pipe, and two of the 6' pipes for each side.

Connect the 12" pipe to the center hole of the two "T" joints.

Connect the end of a 6' pipe to the top hole of one of the "T" joints. Repeat with the other 6' pipe on the other "T" joint, making sure the pipes are both going out the top.

It should now look like this:

Repeat this for the other side.

Step 2

Next we'll assemble the sides of the top. You'll need two "T" joints, two elbow joints, one 12" pipe and two 2" pipes per side.

Here's the layout of each side:

First start by connecting one of the 2" pipes to the end of a "T" joint. Repeat with the other "T" joint and 2" pipe.

Now attach the two elbow joints to the 12" pipe. Be sure that the elbow joints are both facing the same direction and at the same angle. The piece should lay with both remaining elbow holes parallel to the ground.

Take one of the 2" pipe / "T" joint pieces and connect it to one of the elbow joints, making sure the center hole of the "T" joint is facing straight up, perpendicular to the ground. Repeat with the other 2" pipe / "T" joint piece.

Repeat Step 2 again to finish the other side of the top.

Step 3

It's time to finish constructing the top. You'll need the assembled pieces from Step 2 and the two 4' pipes.

Take one of the 4' pipes and attach it to the open end of the "T" joint. Repeat with the other 4' pipe.

Now connect the other piece from Step 2 to the other ends of the 4' pipes, making sure that the middle of the "T" joints are facing the same direction as the ones from the first piece.

Step 4

Now we'll complete the construction by attaching the sides. You'll need the completed sides from Step 1 and the top from Step 3.

Just attach the end of the sides to the middle "T" joint on the top. Repeat for the other side. It should now be a self-supporting trellis.

Step 5

Now for the support the plants will use to climb the trellis. You'll need the mesh and some way to secure it. I used duct tape but twisty-ties or string would work as well.

First attach the corner of the mesh to the bottom of one of the supports.

Now stretch it tightly upwards and secure it to the top of the support.

Run the mesh over the top of the trellis to the other side and secure it to the top of the support, then the bottom, making sure to keep it tight. Repeat for the other 2 poles, making sure the mesh stays straight across the trellis. Add some more tape to the sides and top to make sure the mesh is pretty tight.

Step 4

It's time to put it into the ground now. You'll need the trellis and the two wooden dow rods.

Break each dow rod in half. You can cut it if you prefer but I found the sharp ends from breaking it make it easier to push into the ground. Place the trellis in the final location you'll want it. Where the "T" joint hits the dirt push in one of the dow rods, repeat for all 4 joints. It should go into the dirt about half way.

Now place the trellis over the dow rods, making sure they are all going up into the trellis.

Push the trellis down into place and you're all set.

As the plants begin to grow you may need to get them started on the trellis by redirecting their vines into the mesh. Once they get started they should take care of themselves the rest of the growing season.

If you need to move your trellis for winter or for the next growing season just pull the trellis off the dow rods, take them out of the ground and then put them in the new location.

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