Building an A-Frame for Peas and Pole Beans

My gardening class found itself confronted with an issue: Not only did our peas require some immediate support, but we also wanted to protect the peas from the inevitable birds that find both the shoots and leaves delectable. We wanted to create a structure that would a) encourage the growth of peas upward, b) protect peas from birds, and—looking down the road a month or so—c) support the growth of pole beans. Looking through the book, Build a Better Vegetable Garden—a book full of all sorts of DIY gardening projects—I decided that building an A-frame trellis based on the one in that book would be a nice project for my gardening students.

The A-frame we built (see above) is quite similar to the project in the book in a few ways.

  • It has four vertical supports and two horizontal supports.
  • It has hinges as the top to make the frame adjustable, plus it allows the frame to fold flat.

Our differs from the project in the book in several ways.

  • It is 4 ft. x 4 ft. rather than more tall than wide.
  • It uses loosely hanging lengths of twine tied to the top and bottom supports to allow the plants to grab hold and grow up.
  • It is surrounded in plastic mesh along all four sides to prevent access to the peas by birds.

I realize the peas will just as easily grab hold of the mesh and wind up it as they would twirl themselves up the slack twine. It may make a mess. Quite alright. We can eventually tear off the mesh once the pea crop has ended and put up more loose twine (or even different materials) to vertically support a summer crop of pole beans.

All told, the wood and screws cost about $23. I already had the twine and mesh. Had I to make it over again, I would use slightly bigger wood supports. The directions call for 7.5-ft. lengths of 2-in. x 1-in. wood. While the labels said the wood I purchased was 2 x 1s, they were in fact 1.5 x 0.75s. Also, I would keep the dimensions taller and less wide.

In fact, I WILL make this again! And I’ll make one for myself.

Meet Ellen Wells

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