Climbing beans, peas, mangetout and sugarsnaps all need something to support them, but each grows to a different height and climbs in a slightly different way. Here’s our guide to building the right supports for each…
Climbing Beans – French, Runner & Borlotti
These need canes to wrap around as they grow. They will keep growing and growing, so we would suggest that you make the canes no more than 6 foot tall so that you can easily snip the growing tip off when they reach the top of the canes. You can either build an a frame or a wigwam. For a wigwam, simply get 5 or 6 bamboo canes and plant them in the ground to form a circle leaving 20cm between each. Then simply pull the tops in and tie in with strong gardeners twine. For an A Frame, you will need to plant two rows of canes, leaving 30-40cm between each cane, and 50cm between the two rows. Then, pull the tops of each pair together and secure to a long, horizontal cane that spans across the whole row.
Garden Peas & Sugar Snaps
These do not climb quite so high, so you only need to provide a support that is about 2 foot tall. Peas grow in a different way to beans, putting out tendrils that look for something to cling to. The easiest way to make a support for them is to use a length of chicken wire (2 foot tall) secured to two canes at either end of the row. The peas will happily scramble their way around these. If you don’t have access to chicken wire, then you can prod twiggy sticks in the ground – again, they need to be around 2 foot tall, and you’re best using sticks that have multiple forks and knobbly bits for the peas to cling to.
These climb higher than garden peas and sugar snaps – they will easily reach 5-6 foot, if not more. Again, it is easiest to get them scrambling up chicken wire secured between two canes at either end of the row. You may need to put one or two horizontal canes across as well to stabilise the frame. Alternatively, for something more decorative, you could build a bamboo wigwam and tie garden twine in a spiral around the canes (they look a lot like sweet peas, so the looks great!)