Bean Tower Saga
Before I received the Bean Bag with Support, from Gardeners Supply, I had never grown pole beans in containers. I had always wanted to try out scarlet runner beans because they are so beautiful, so when I got the Bean Bag with Support, I figured I would try it out.
The bag is made of the same material as Smart Pots of which I am a huge fan. The bag sits on a metal circle that has metal loops for securing the twine the beans grow up. A tall tower screws together and then screws into the base, through a hole in the bag. This all was very easy and the instructions were clear.
The next part, where you create a trellis with the twine, which was included in the package, was a little more difficult. I'm short(ish) so I needed either a tall person or a small step to help me set it up. Fortunately, I had a tall person handy, and between us, we were able to figure out a system of tying off the string to the little loops and then threading them through the loop on the top of the pole. I don't want to make this sound more complicated than it really is. The whole thing took maybe 15 minutes to set up.
I then filled the bag with potting mix combined with a slow release fertilizer and planted my beans. The beans grew quickly and grabbed on to the twine, climbing gracefully to the top of the tower. While the bag and tower with the twine looked lovely from the start, once it was covered with vines, it was gorgeous. Then the scarlet runner beans started to flower and the whole thing became stunning.
Fast forward a couple of weeks...I'm enjoying my flowering vines and watching them flourish, when a tropical storm makes its way towards us. I decided to let fate run its course and expected that the bean tower would be toast from the high winds. When the storm passed, I went outside to check the damage. My tomato trellises were completely knocked over and even whole containers had been up-ended and smashed. We lost three huge pines, but there was my bean tower intact and still beautiful. Only one piece of twine had snapped, but even that didn't hurt the structural integrity of the tower.
If I loved this container before that day it became a hero. It is so attractive that I plan to plant it with my favorite flowering vines next year, morning glories and moonflowers and maybe invest in another one for beans.
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