Saturday, April 25, 2009

All Day Bean Teepee Construction

I'm a big fan of multi-tasking and a hater of weeding grass out of planting beds. Therefore when it came time to decide what to put in the new planting area that joined two beds, a big bean teepee seemed like the perfect solution.

I've been wanting to plant one for awhile. I see it as another way to lure the kids into the garden while at the same time giving them the novelty of picking and eating food off of their hide-outs walls.

Preparation for the teepee started early. Gorgeous weather was forecast for this weekend right up until this morning. It's like the weatherman doesn't want us peeved at him all week so he waits until the very last minute to inform us that the forecast for today is a cold front that will rollercoaster over the area back and forth all day making temperature swings from 76 to 45 along with the potential for five inches of rain. Whee, the race was on.

First a trip to the stables for more manure. The pile is located in a field, far away from the barn and other people. The birds, the quiet... they inspire reflection. I call it manure musings. I'll share these another day. On to the tee pee but first a stop a Lowes. I'm mad at Home Depot because they only carry soil provided by the evil Monsanto now. They've lost my business again at least until the next sump pump emergency.

At Lowes I was looking for 12 foot bamboo for my teepee supports. All they had was six feet and it looked old and fragile. Instead I picked up eight foot metal poles covered with a textured green plastic. They were more expensive than bamboo but since they can be reused each year and stuff won't eat them, it was a win. I paid for the poles, potting soilx2 for a new window box, landscape fabric for the new potato containers, the teepee floor and the shade bed, plant stretchy ties, landscape fabric sticker downer things (a technical term) and the blueberry bush that jumped into my cart. $80 later, I was back on the road.

I cursed the drizzle on the way home and it worked. It stopped and the rest of the day was overcast and seventy degrees. We were on the exact edge of the front, I heard thunder all day but never felt a drop of rain until late this afternoon. It was a neat afternoon weather wise.

I started the teepee bed by first starting a fire in the pepper bed. I had thrown a bunch of sticks on the sod in the teepee bed to start killing the grass, so those were picked out and burned. Richie helped. He needed to earn seven dollars to finally have enough money for a lego castle. The little guy was awesome, he took care of that, all the catalpa pods in the front and even helped our elderly neighbor next door by getting the sticks off her yard too!

Once cleared of sticks, I finished turning over the sod in the bed and then tied together the poles and stuck them in the ground. I though this would be complicated but it was the easiest part of the whole project. I spread composted manure over the whole area and dug it in in the areas where the beans will go. Then, in the center of the teepee I laid down thick chunks of newspaper and covered it with landscaping fabric. I did this to help kill the grass as well as give the kids an decent place to sit in their hideout. I figured the manure would come up thru fabric alone, and paper would help block it. The worms will like the paper too and blocking the sunlight should keep down the weeds in there..

The bean bed took all afternoon, primarily because of the fire. I had such a nice fire going I kept pausing to go find stuff to burn to feed it with. That's how the berm bed ended up getting a pretty good clean-up. All the old foliage and stems are now in ashes in the pepper bed. The old lilac has had a lot of dead wood removed, the russian sage no longer looks like a ghost bush and the jack frost looks much nicer not half buried in oak leaves.

The deluge finally arrived at around 5 pm, right around the time the temperature dropped thirty degrees. My fingers are crossed that the wet tomatoes won't get blight in the cold frame tonight. I tried to dry them out in between showers but it just wasn't happening. Oh well, it was too good of a day to fret about soggy seedlings. Even better, the liar, er I mean weatherman says tomorrow will be sunny and seventy. Hmm front bed or shade bed....decisions decisions...


Randy Emmitt said...

Enjoyed the read here! Funny way to go about getting a teepee together. We have lumber scraps from adding on the the house use them for everything. Still the kids will love it.

Stacy said...

Hi Randy,
We have a bunch of lumber laying around here too from the upstairs renovation, but nothing that was long enough for this that wasn't already committed to the fireplace project. I do like these because they blend in to the landscape well and aren't too obtrusive, plus the ants won't eat them. Hopefully the metal in them doesn't attract lightening!

Heather said...

What a fun project! I am thinking of one for my yard now! The kids will love it for sure. Your flower bed looks so nice too.

Daphne said...

I love bean tepees. I won't be having one this year, but I love their look in the garden.

jezibels said...

Hi Stacy, I was out all day too until the rain came to BTown, I love your teepee idea, I will rummage around for some (I'll save sunflower stalks this fall to use for next years teepee). They said sun today, shyeahhh rrright, its raining now, and the heat is on, oh well it will be an indoor family day. PS I picked up 3 - 50gal rain barrels and started painting one last night(a Campbells Tomato Soup Can it will be!) Think my neighbors will like it? ha!

Stacy said...

Heather google bean teepee images, they there are some really cool ones out there. Some are really pretty. I plan on growing beans, nasturiums and a cherry tomato on mine. We'll see what happens!

Daphne this is my first year every having one. The idea of an edible playspot was irrestibile and it sucked me right in.

Jez, I had a waterfall coming off the roof a little while ago and the thunder is so bad the dog is racing around drooling. It's amazing what the day or two of warmth has done though. It's green out there! Painting three rainbarrels is going to take some time but I love the soup can idea!

Josie said...

ohh good idea. we are trying to grow a sunflower fort. now i wish we had made our bean tripod big enough for my daughter to get into.

Stacy said...

I love sunflower forts. I was out there plotting where I could put a small one just yesterday. I figure there aren't that many more years where the kids will be into something like that, so now's the time!