Tag: trellis

Runner bean, wheelie bin screen

trellis screening the wheelie bins with runner beans growing up

Runner bean wheelie bin screen

For a while now we have been discussing our options how to partially hide our wheelie bin from view with some form of trellis and maybe a vigorous climber or vine (passion flower/clematis would work well). Instead of purchasing a plant for the purpose, we could have always taken a cutting of one of our numerous climbers from the back garden. The initial downside was the lead time in which to get a cutting to take root and plant out was too long as we are already 4 weeks into summer. Plus any cutting would take many months to completely take up residence in advance of winter.

For a couple of weeks we have been deliberating where we could grow our runner beans this year, as you cannot grow them in the same location two years running.

How about growing our runner beans in place of a climber?

Eventually we came to the conclusion that we could kill two birds with one stone and visually screen our bins whilst growing some food, planting runner beans in a new location. Obviously they will only occupy the trellis during the summer/autumn months, but next year we will grow something else up the trellis.

To really scrimp we could have built our own trellis from scratch, but we decided to source materials cheaply and make it look more ‘professional’ (not that we are by any means). We tried to be frugal and save where possible, but we also wanted it to look half decent and made a compromise.

Quickly noted our basic requirements

The all-important brief, just what do we want?…well it had to be:

  1. wide enough cover the area
  2. tall enough to look in place (almost inline) with the hedge
  3. strong enough to hold the weight of the runner beans
  4. strong enough to withstand the wind
  5. as cheap as possible

How much did the wheelie bin screen end up costing?

Surprisingly not as much as I would have thought, we did a quick look around the web to find the DIY store with the cheapest trellis panels or special weekend offers and then hopped in the car to investigate further.

We ended up making our purchase from B&M, they seem to be one of the cheaper stores that sell pretty much a bit of everything, but specialise in nothing. We ended up purchasing the following:

  1. Full size trellis panel – £19.99
  2. Half size Trellis panel – £12.99
  3. 6ft Fence post – £4.99
  4. Fence post support spike – £6.99

Sub: £44.96 before discounts.

Sequence strip of how we set up the wheelie bin screen

Our DIY installation steps

We always look for damaged items that we can fix up and if there are any special offers available. We were lucky enough to save another 20% rounding it down to £35.97. You don’t ask, you don’t get.

We deliberately purchased one fence post and support spike, where normally you might want two of each to ensure stability, but as we are scrimping we try to shave off the non-essentials.

The trellis panels were certainly more than big enough to hide any and all wheelie bin sizes that we are aware of, though probably not the large commercial waste wheelie bins.

Come on Tom and Barbara; give us one of your DIY guides
  1. Measured out the dimensions and turfed the area
    We marked out the width of the trellis panels and the depth required for the runner beans, then got the old trusty edging spade to go round the edge, digging in only a couple of inches. Then to reduce the size of each piece of turf we edged the area into 3 pieces before gently pulling the space back to lift up the edge. I made sure the spade head was almost horizontal before pushing it under the grass, effectively prying it apart from the soil. Once separated it comes up in nice easy pieces to use elsewhere, especially if you have a dog creating bald spots in your lawn.
  2. Install the fence post support spike
    We deliberately purchased a fence post spike that would not require digging any holes or mixing any cement. After working out where we wanted the fence post to be in line with main trellis edge, I got our rubber mallet and a piece of old wood and began ‘bashing’ it in (making sure I kept it lined up vertically as I went). You can purchase a fence spike driving in tool for £5, but a piece of solid wood is more than sufficient so long as it can take a pounding. Once bashed into position, I put the fence post into the spike support and tightened the bolts, there is a hole for an additional screw to make sure it’s held in place.
  3. Attaching the trellis panels
    Once I knew the post was straight and sturdy, we got out the trusty drill and wood screws and began attaching it to the post, making sure to leave enough space for both panels (almost forgot). I think we ended up using 12 screws per panel; I wanted to make sure it would not come off. As we were cheating by only purchasing one post and spike to support both trellis, I decided to make a small support steak from a strong branch around 2 foot long to support the rear spine of the large trellis panel. I used my Mora knife to cut the end into sharp spike before knocking it down nice and deep to stop the panel from moving.
  4. Planting runner beans
    They were starting to outgrow their pots rapidly and we could see they were desperate to get going in position and who were we to hold them back! We planted our runner bean seed out a little late, but with our seasons being out of sync, we were not too worried.

It did not take more than a couple of hours to do, once we had the materials and it’s now starting to look good. The runner beans have still got a lot of growing to do, but the wheelie bins are now out of sight! Yay!

Any comments, suggestions or improvements please comment

If you have any thoughts or ideas on what you have done for your wheelie bin screens or things we could do better, we are always keen to hear about and of course learn from and evolve our ideas.

Our frugal bamboo trellis for our peas

bamboo trellis

Our diy frugal bamboo trellis

We could not leave it any longer, our “Champion of England Tall Climbing heritage peas” (yep that is their name) were desperately needing to run riot in the new raised vegetable plot. These are a very rare UK variety that was almost extinct commercially and can grow up to 10 foot tall. They seem ideal for those living in an urban location with limited garden space, like ourselves.

With the usual crop rotations, we cannot grow beans/peas in the same location two years in a row, so we could not do the usual wigwam construction in the main veg plot to support them all. Plus we grew far too many seedlings this season, not forgetting all the other beans that we need to find some space for in the coming weeks.

Keeping it frugal for our tasty climbing peas

To keep it frugal, we opted for our usual bamboo bob the builder construction project with some trusty garden wire, instead of splashing out some stylish wooden trellis from the local garden centre. Yes the purchased trellis would look very nice, but once the peas get going you won’t clearly see the trellis, just a sea of green and a splash of white flowers. Plus trellis tends to cost £30 a piece and we would need two of them to support all these peas. We considered building our own trellis, but again you have to buy all the wood, spend the time making them and finally weather proofing them.

Bamboo is certainly strong enough to support all that weight

tokyo tower bamboo

View from Tokyo Tower, with bamboo scaffolding

They will get quite heavy once fully grown and covered in pods. Even though our canes are only a cm in diameter, once they are weaved and lashed together they become very sturdy.

Plus we figure if the Japanese can build skyscrapers using a bamboo scaffold then downscaled it’s more than good enough for our peas (LOL). Pictured right was the only photo I could find from our hols that slightly illustrates how versatile these structures are.

Also a pack of 6 foot bamboo canes only cost around £3 and last for many years.

Makes complete financial sense, scrimp it!

Well aside from being very proud of our £3 pea trellis, we think it’s the perfect scrimping solution for supporting all those lovely peas. As we don’t want to spend over £60 for all the materials and then it takes years to get any form of Return On Investment, it could take easily a decade to recoup your costs when the idea is to save money. Also the lifespan of the garden centre trellis might not exceed the same duration, even if they are well looked after.

So come on ‘bob’, point out the obvious and tell us how you did it.
bamboo trellis steps

Frugal bamboo trellis DIY steps

We know it’s self-explanatory and you don’t need a degree architecture or construction to erect a bamboo trellis, but if you’re interested or want a good laugh at our expense, then please read on.

    1. Spacing the canes
      Assuming a man’s hand span space between each cane is more than enough space to ensure a strong structure and plenty of support for the plants. We inserted nine 6 foot canes about 6 inches into the soil, up against the rear wall of our raised veg plot.

 

    1. Comapct the soil for support
      We then made sure the soil around the base of each cane was sufficiently compressed to stop them moving about.

 

    1. Weaving the cross beam Took our first cross beam and effectively weaved it in and out through each cane to create tension before lashing each end with garden twine.

 

    1. Lashing the end supports It’s important to tie it tight twice round the vertical cane, prior to looping over the horizontal cane and back around the vertical cane. Do this several times before tying it around the space between the canes to hold the knot tight. If done properly, it will not slip in either direction.

 

    1. Lashing the cross sections Once the ends have been done, lash all the other points where the canes cross.

 

    1. Repeat the process Then carry on this process on each new cane weaved into the frame. It is a good idea to alternate which starting side of the first vertical cane per each new cane weaved through to create even more tension amongst the canes for a stronger structure.

 

  1. Ensure the support is sufficient Once we got to the top, we decided to ensure the entire structure would not act as a sail in the wind (once the peas were fully grown) that we needed a little more support. We could have pushed them deeper into the soil, but we opted to tie them to pagoda beam above to hold them in position. Alternatively they could be secured to a fence.

If you want to take the piss or ask any questions please leave a comment below.

We hope that this post was of interest or a quick chuckle for all those qualified builders out there. We simply aim to demonstrate how easy it is to do and that growing your own food is one of the most rewarding hobbies you can participate in.

Back to the champion peas, how much will we save?

This is the first time we have grown this variety and we don’t know how well these are going to do. From the information we have sourced, they are potentially very high yielding, so with 13 plants, providing they all grow to expectations we should produce a lot of peas.

We will update this post in the autumn harvest and report back just how well they did and if they are the ideal candidate for green fingered scrimpers!

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