Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Good Design, Poor Execution

Early last spring I was at the local recycling center dumping cans into a large dumpster that was labeled 'Cans Only'. In the dumpster was a metal head board from a double bed. As soon as I saw it I decided to swap my recycling for this marvelous opportunity.

Before I planted pole beans in the garden I split an eight feet long two by six into two uprights. I was concerned about the wind so I planned holes two feet deep to insure the uprights and head board wouldn't lean.

To install the head board I drilled three holes half way through each upright, inserted the ends of the metal into the holes and then drilled one hole through the upright and the metal head board. I inserted a sixteen common nail through the hole and bent it on the back side to insure it remained in place.

It seemed like a good design at the time.

I installed the pole bean support, cut two pieces of scrap pipe and stapled them to the ground. Next, I tied cord from the horizontal pipes up to the head board. This gave the beans a secure cord to climb.

Young Pole Beans.
Young Pole Beans.


During early summer I watched the beans grow and climb upward. One day they were a foot below the bottom of the head board and the next they were above it looking for something to twine around.

Mature Pole Beans.
Mature Pole Beans.


In mid summer I came home from work one evening and saw two bare uprights. The head board and vines were on the ground. As I inspected the damage I discovered one of the uprights had split. Straight grained Douglas Fir wasn't strong enough. The uprights were in the ground solid so all the force of the wind was transfered to the lumber that was weakened by my design. One end split and the other end pulled loose.

With Julie's help I raised the head board and beans into position inserted the ends of the metal into the sockets and used wire to secure the broken end to the upright. Solid! I was confident it couldn't break again as it had.

This morning I went to the garden and found the beans on the ground. The opposite end had split. Yes, it was dumb of me to secure one end and not do the same to the other end. Repair this time wasn't as easy. The vines are heavy with numerous large bean pods encasing large beans.

Using some wire I hoisted one end half way into position then did the same to the opposite end. I repeated this process again and have the head board back in position. But, I'm not as confident about my repair this time.

I have another plan for next year involving a decorative support for pole beans. I'll use the head board again in the garden but I plan on planting beans near the house so I can enjoy the brilliant red blossoms. Rather than write about that plan now I think I'll dream about it over the winter and let it evolve. I'll have photos next July.


Pole Bean Blossom.
Pole Bean Blossom.

2 Comments:

Blogger Buffalo said...

How do you put back your crop?

9/28/2011 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Kathryn Grace said...

How beautiful your design, Paul! Too bad no one threw away some tall, sturdy metal supports with the headboard. Was it too wide and heavy to withstand the stress with two supporting timbers? Needed one in the middle?

I look forward to learning how you use it next year.

10/04/2011 08:30:00 AM  

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