June 25, 2014

Building An A-Frame Beanpole

If there would be a top five must have list for English gardens, beans at no doubt would lead it. From a foreigners eye it seems if you have a corner to grow something – anything – in England it has to contain beans. Obviously we had to grow beans too. However, we were quite late to the show this year as I couldn’t really decide on where and how to grow them. Since beans like to climb they need a good support system they can hang on to while producing their heavy fruits. Most of our neighbours are using some kind of metal frame for that purpose – anything from pipes held together by cable tie to what appears to be the remainder of a football goal. While all of these constructions do a fabulous job, they don’t really make for a charming garden accessory, so I couldn’t stop looking for alternatives. For a long time I loved the idea of tipis made with wicker sticks, but found the price tag on the wicker to be quite heavy. Then one day my fav Englishman returned from work with a large bundle of wooden slats and said “Let’s build an a-frame!”

I LOVED the idea. Even more when the a-frame was finished and I realised that it was made entirely from reclaimed materials (aka didn’t cost an penny extra) and took less than two hours to assemble. (I am sure though, if needs be, you would find everything you need for little money in a hardware store.)
Here are the supplies we used: 7 long wooden slats (I don’t know what type of wood), 1 dowel, various screws left over from other projects and garden twine. For tools we had a drill/screw-driver, a saw and a spirit level.

Step One. Since our wood had different length we started by cutting 4 of the longest wooden slats to an equal length. Then I used some twine to measure how wide we wanted the a-frame to be at the bottom and attached the twine to the slats. With the twine guiding the width we position the two bars in a triangle-shape and levelled it with a spirit level, before screwing them together.

Step Two. For better stability later we attached two horizontal bars to the frame. We laid the frame on the ground and placed the wood for the crossbars on top. We simply eye balled were we would want the two bars to go then screwed them in and sawed the excess off. For the opposite side of the a-frame we left the first side as a guide on the ground and simply positioned the other wood pieces on top of it.

Step Three. Once the two a-sides were done we placed them on the plot. To connect them and stabilise them further we placed two more slats along the bottom. We rested them on top of the extended ends of the crossbars and screwed them into the frames.

Step Four. For the top bar of the frame we placed a dowel in between the overlapping side ends and screwed it in to either side.

Step Five. Then came the fun part: Winding the twine around to create a net to which the beans can hold on too.

I am really pleased with how the frame turned out. What do you think?

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