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Get supports in place

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Get supports in place for climbing beans and peas before they get too big, and for taller perennials like delphiniums and shasta daisies while they're still clumps of greenery. You'll find lots of different plant options in our garden centre in Stapleton. Wigwams of hazel or willow are great for peas, including sweetpeas, but for big, hefty runner bean plants you'll need something more substantial, like a traditional bean frame.

Sink poles of sturdy bamboo, in lengths of 1.8m or 2.4m, in pairs on opposite sides of the bed 30cm apart, letting the tops cross. Tie together with twine, then place a single pole across the top so that it rests in the crooks of the other poles and holds them together. Lash together securely and it'll carry the heaviest of bean crops all season.

For perennials, it's a matter of how discreet you can make your plant supports. The earlier you stake, the less 'trussed' and more natural your clump will look, so start now. A custom-designed grid settled over smaller plants quickly disappears: for larger or more irregularly-shaped clumps, go for linked stakes around the outside. You'll also find simple hoops and stakes to place individually, perhaps with some unobtrusive string threaded between them to keep wayward stems in place.