Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Great Bean House Adventure

So I was reading a gardening book- big surprise and I came across a project to build a structure for beans made from PVC pipes and fittings. With the materials so inexpensive and since I was unhappy with using bamboo last year I figured I'd make a go of it.

You will learn dear reader that when I undertake any sort of crafty project/new idea I will take it to the next level. I mean ridiculous. The first version of my bean house was about 8 feet tall. No lie. They sell PVC pipe in 10 feet sections. Why would I try to make too many cuts or bother measuring? Let's get real here. I'm gardening for fun (and food) so let's not make this too difficult. Keeping it simple is my favorite thing to do.

When I finally decided that standing on a ladder to harvest pole beans in mid summer was probably not the smartest or best case scenario I opted to shave two feet from the height of the structure and keep the same width. With help from my friend the architect who gave me advice on how to be sure the structure will not fall down and will stay anchored I finally have a finished product.

Now you're probably wondering what's going on underneath. Since I kept the same width for the house I realized all of the potential waste of space the middle would be. I planted my lettuce, mesculin mix, and spinach inside the house. This may not work out but I'm hoping that when the pole beans cover the house that they will shade the spinach and lettuce just enough to keep them from bolting and burning in the hot sun of the summer time.  I do know that by the time the beans start shooting up the sides of the house that the first lettuce and spinach of the season will already be in my belly.  I planted snow peas on both sides of the house and hopefully I'll be able to train them to climb up the strings I've placed.

I still have to place more twine all along the house like you see on the end there. I ran out. This year I hope to can a LOT of beans. I'll be growing Christmas Pole Lima Beans and Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans.

So the project ended up costing around $40. Not counting twine. I spent this much but I did not use ALL the PVC since I cut it down by a few feet. 
Tools needed:
1- small Hack Saw
Two hands
1- Can-do Attitude
Parts list:
10 - 10 feet lengths of 1inch PVC pipe (I bought extra in case I goofed on cutting anything)
2- 3 way connectors (on top to hold the roof pole in place)
4- 45 degree angle connectors
4- 90 degree angle connectors
7- T- connectors
2- Cross connectors (4-way)
All connecting pieces should be 1 inch fittings

If anyone is interested I can give you more details in an e-mail if you want to try to build your own. It's not too bad. Really fun actually.  It only took about two hours to build. Cutting the pipes took the longest- not because it was difficult but because of measuring once and cutting twice-- wait reverse that.

The coolest thing about this crazy project is that I may be able to use the structure as a mini green house come fall. Just add plastic. 

More pictures below:


  1. Hi! I am craftywitchygirl and I am one of your swap-bot partners for the swap I want more blogger followers!

  2. This is the first year we have planted any vegetables in a long time. Just tomatoes and peppers. Great idea, hopefully we can expand our garden next year and use it. I am now a follower of your blog. stampkrl from swapbot.

  3. MaraSpires from Swap-Bot's "I Want More Blog Followers" stopping by as a new follower :o]

  4. Looking forward to see how the bean come out!

    This is Vic5ive from Swap-bot I want more blogger followers.

  5. I love this idea! I have a garden and am in the tedious process of tilling the ground. Can't wait until I plant all my veggies.

    I'm e2java from Swap-Bot's "I Want More Blog Followers" and I am now following your blog.

  6. Wow that is so cool! My mom was always wanting to build one of those growing up but we never got around to it. I'm following you from swapbot. I'm a city girl but have a little herb garden - I'll be back for garden tips!

  7. KBL from Swapbot now following :-)

  8. Hello! I'm maferu from swapbot :D from the 'I want more blogger followers swap' !

  9. New follower from SB
    noodleBubble- looking forward to updates on how it's all going!

    Just got a greenhouse myself so am running down the garden every morning to see if anything else has popped up in the night!

    pop by - X

  10. this is sooooo cool. I would love to garden but I'm sooooo bad at keeping plants alive ; )

    Abigail20 from swapbot

  11. It's very cool. Planting food is so smart. Maybe I should try again, my plant died on me last year...
    papacancan from swap-bot

  12. Heh. That's so cool, it's a house! My mom loves gardening, and there's always a bazillion long beans. Too bad I don't have any room to plant where I live. Following you - squareby from SB.

  13. Good job, would love to have one in my garden.

    Hi, I'm Susan from swapbot (luv2swap). Enjoyed my first visit here, looking forward to reading some more.

  14. Pretty cool. It makes me wish I had a garden.

    I'm fibrous on swapbot, and I'm now following your blog.

  15. I must take notes on that and give it a shot myself!! I love building and growing too!
    Thanks for the follow and the lovely comment!!

  16. That's soo cool! :)

    I'm RyuLuna from Swap-Bot and I'm following you :D