Sunday, June 06, 2010

Beans in a Barrel

Because I have limited room in my floating garden, I use containers on the cabin deck for larger plants. I started with potatoes, peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. Last year I included snow peas. That was so successful, this year I'm trying Scarlet Runner Beans.

Last year I learned that a trellis needs to be very sturdy. I tried 1x1 inch stakes connected with twine. It was fine when the pea plants were young, but by the end of the season the trellis couldn't hold all the weight. So this year, I looked for a sturdier alternative. At Canadian Tire I found a metal trellis for $19.99. It was 23" wide and 72" tall ( (58 X 183cm), a perfect fit for my planter made out of a 55 gallon plastic barrel cut in half.

First I filled my barrel planter with soil. Then I inserted the trellis. To make it sturdier, Wayne drilled the sides of the barrel and wired in the trellis to hold it upright. Then I used 1x1 inch stakes to form a pyramid shape and twine to give the climbing beans plenty of support.

I planted my Scarlet Runner Bean seeds directly in the soil. April was so warm, I thought I could get them in early. But May was so cold and rainy, sprouting was slow. I almost gave up, but finally a few started to emerge. To hedge my bets, I started a few more seeds in peat pellets using my new re-purposed planter stand.

As soon as the beans started to sprout, I removed the outer netting of the pellets and planted them in the barrel. I read at Canada Gardens that you need to wait until the soil reaches 10C before planting. Live and learn. But this time around they did much better. I now have lots of beans starting to climb their sturdy new trellis.

I'm looking forward to green beans for dinner and then some to dry at the end of the season for planting next year and winter soups. Have you ever grown beans in a barrel? I would love to hear how it worked out for you. - Margy


  1. That is a great idea, I am going to try that in my yard

  2. Not planted beans in a barrel. Picked many barrels of beans tho : ).

    I like your bean barrel plus you could cover with plastic for protection and warm that soil up to. Are you going to pop maybe a companion plant in there as well?

    I was thinking the "3 sisters" might do well. Corn for stakes and the beans could climb around and squash as well. Whata ya think?

    tc linda

  3. I like the 3 sisters idea, too!
    I have planted basil on our deck. The critters are so wicked around here! The ones down by the lake have been decimated. We have to be clever around this!!!! Good for you!
    I've given up with gladiolas, too. They are in planters on the deck. The muskrat finds them too much like water hyacinth, and love to rip them out of the ground.

  4. Good luck with your garden! I look forward to seeing pictures of your bounty!

  5. Thanks all for stopping by to read and comment. The beans are still growing but so slow. The peas are putting them to shame.

    Marion - Thanks for the the nice words about Wayne's books. His new one Farther Up the Main should be out soom.