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Helpless Female Builds the Impromptu Skinny Arched Trellis for Pole Beans and Tomatoes

It’s probably not a good idea to rush to put up a trellis in the morning before you take your husband to surgery. I know that now. It’s just that it kept getting postponed, day after day. The pole beans were thoroughly entwining the support posts I had put in earlier.

To make it worse, I hadn’t considered how much closer these raised beds were than the garden beds in the area next to the grapes, where the beans were last year. (last year’s trellis is still there, but not with pole beans) This new path is almost 2 feet narrower, so when we (me and 2 daughters, with hubby supervising) went to bend the ranch panels to fit, it became scary. At that moment, I realized I was both highly hormonal and stressed out about dear hubby’s surgery.

I opted for some personal time-out, while the girls went to help their father take care of some other little things he wanted to do before going under the knife. When they came back, I said we could wait, but he said we could handle it. I had remeasured and compared things, so filled him in on the details. He came up with a slightly altered plan.

First, we counted squares to find the middle of the ranch panel. That was marked by loosely wrapping a random piece of willow tree branch around the fence. Next, one person stood on one end of the ranch panel. Two others pulled the other end over for the first person to hold. Then those same two pressed as equally as they could on both sides of the middle of the panel.

 step one in pre-bending ranch panels to make a skinny arched trellis

step one in pre-bending ranch panels to make a skinny arched trellis

Knowing how much spring back that there is in the ranch panel, I was a bit nervous, but everyone was careful. Not even a scratch. Once it was bent, it still wanted to open out some, but with 3 of us girls holding it, it was under control.

putting our muscle into it!

putting our muscle into it!

applying pressure to make the bend somewhat permanent

applying pressure to make the bend somewhat permanent

We set it upright, positioned ourselves inside of it, and pulled the sides closer together. This allowed us to walk it into the pathway and set it against the support stakes (3 foot U-stakes from D&B Supply). I had already untangled and moved most of the bean vines, so they weren’t damaged. The tomatoes, on the other had, lost a few major branches. We tried to be careful, but there was not as much give in the tomato plants. They wanted to stay growing their original direction. That is okay, because the plants are huge and probably needed pruning anyway!

walking the trellis into position

walking the trellis into position

The arches don’t match evenly at the top and it was not going to be reasonable to try to overlap them. I asked my artist daughter if this was acceptable. I didn’t want anyone out there suffering later from a symmetry crisis. She said that we wouldn’t be able to tell once the beans grew. Satisfactory, then.

Various metal stakes and pieces of fencing wire were used to attach the panels to the stakes, just like with my other trellis. The girls trained the beans up their side of the arch, while I examined how to work with the tomatoes. Now the beans look like they have been growing there all along.

tying the trellis panels to the support stakes

tying the trellis panels to the support stakes

training the pole beans up their new trellis

training the pole beans up their new trellis

For the tomatoes, I wanted to try my dad’s system of trellising. I had to learn some new skills to do that and that will be in another post on Wednesday. Hubby’s surgery went well and he is close to having full range of motion back. He is impatient to be working on strength. Meanwhile, he has me. I might not be the most efficient tool in the tool box, but I’m cooperative and ask fun questions.

 

 

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