How to Make a Whimsical Bean Tent

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A living bean tent in the garden winds replacement canopy for the windsor gazebo standard 350 beige_700032 is a magical place to about gardening, growing food, and harvesting. A bean tent creates shady solace from the sun while filling little bellies with nutrition. Whether the space is used for learning, play, or retreat, learn how to make a bean tent as a wonderful addition to a .

An edible bean tent made of bamboo poles and scarlet runner beans plus the DIY instructions on how to make it at home.


How to Grow a Whimsical Bean Tent

By Eleanor Reardon

My two-year-old daughter isn?t interested in green beans at the table. She doesn?t want them lightly steamed with butter and rock salt or saut?ed with garlic. She won?t give them a second glance, whether boiled perfectly tender or fresh and crisp, but try to bring her in from the garden when there is still a bean to be picked from our front yard bean tent and it?s sure to end in tears.Toddler enjoying a living bean tent

Beans are easy to grow and a . There is a reason that they are a first foray into agriculture for elementary students everywhere! Beans are tough, sprout quickly, and transplant well, making them an excellent learning tool in the home garden.

Beans growing into a living tent

Early in the season you can start beans in a cold frame or greenhouse until the risk of frost is past, but if the nights are warm enough they can be successfully direct-sowed. As they grow toward the tent poles and wrap around and up they will resist the wind, building strength.

a whimsical bean tent for kids


(for a tent 4 1/2? in diameter, with a door 3? at the base)

  • 40 beans or bean shoots
  • 12 x 8? bamboo poles
  • Soil
  • Bricks or rocks

A bean tent growing in the garden

Make it!

We used a variety of beans and some peas to grow up the poles of the tent. All varieties are edible and grow well in this area. I particularly love the bright red flowers on the scarlet runner beans?they adorn the tent beautifully and attract bees and butterflies. I?d like to try sweet peas next year for variety of color, but we?ll likely forego the shell peas because the vines die quickly as the weather warms in summer.

Choose a sunny spot for your tent and decide which way the entrance will face. With our small child and no fence, the tent anchors the front garden and the door opens to the sitting area in front of the house. When she is older we may move the entrance, or even the whole tent, to give her a secluded getaway to read or dream or snack on green beans.

Mark out the area where the base of the tent will be planted. Drive the bamboo poles six to eight inches into the ground, approximately one foot apart. Angle them more upright than leaning to create height and stability. When all of the poles are in the ground, gather them together so that they cross each other four to six inches from the top. Wrap sisal twine over and under a couple of times, in different directions, before going around the outside of the poles several times tightly.

how to tie a bean tent together

Pile garden soil at the base of the poles, keeping most of it on the outside of the tent, gently forming a mound that is six inches deep and at least eight inches wide.

You can even create a retaining wall on the outside with bricks or rocks, and form a trench all the way around at the apex of the mound. Plant your beans or shoots in the trench a few inches apart and give them a good soaking, then keep the soil damp. Careful watering will keep the loose soil from washing away; it will also keep the leaves dry, avoiding mold.

a living play area for children

Happy picking!

About the Author

Eleanor Reardon

Originally from Halifax, Eleanor lives in Vancouver with her husband and small daughter. She is a photographer, weaver, printmaker, gardener? you could just say that she is happiest when she is making things.

Copyright: all photographs (c) Elenanor Reardon for Garden Therapy 2015


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Have you heard the news? Gardeners are going bananas for vegetable gardening in grow bags. Who knew that something so simple would become so popular?

Last year I ordered a set of vintage print burlap grow bags for my . At the time, I chose them based on style more than practicality. What I didn?t expect was how exceptional they would be at growing vegetables ? perhaps even better than my regular containers!

Growing vegetables in bags

When I say ?regular container,? I mean a large terracotta, ceramic, or resin garden pot. I grow a lot of vegetables and ornamental plants in  year after year, so I?m rarely surprised. But the grow bags did exceptionally well at growing tomatoes, peppers, and herbs.

growing vegetables in burlap bags SPONSORED CONTENT:   provided me with a set of three grow bags (, , and ) plus a  I loved them so much that they agreed to sponsor this post and give away a set to one of our lucky readers. All of the opinions that are shared in this post are my own. See the full disclosure policy   Be sure not to miss the giveaway at the end of this post!

to see these grow bags on Gardener?s Edge.

Burlap Pepper Planter Bag

Grow bags are different from container gardens for a few reasons. They can hold a lot more soil in the same amount of space because of the shape of the bag and the thin walls of its sides. I was shocked at how much soil I had to use to fill up the bags. With a lot of soil you can actually grow a fair-sized plant in a smaller footprint than you would normally be able to.

The handles on each bag made it easy to move the bag from place to place as I needed. And I often needed to move the bag to accommodate garden parties on the deck. But I also moved them to the sunniest part of the garden, or under cover if the weather forecast predicted rain.

I got a wonderful harvest from my grow bags and I can?t wait to grow them again this year!

Here are some tips to grow tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in burlap grow bags.

How to Grow Heat-Loving Vegetables in Burlap Grow Bags

Start with the Soil

As with any garden, the first step in preparing for planting is to start with the soil. You can that?s light and holds moisture. This will provide the perfect foundation for the plants.

growing peppers in a bag

Planting Vegetables in Grow Bags

Plant seeds right in the grow bag or transplant seedlings into place. Where you would normally only have the space for one plant, I find that you can double up and pack more plants into a grow bag and still have great fruit production.

Plants that don?t have exceptionally deep roots?like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, and herbs?grow really well in grow bags. And those examples are sun-loving, heat-loving plants. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant will produce more fruit in the sun, and heat is needed for hot peppers to get spicy! The three grow bags that I use are clearly marked so you can see what they are best made for.

Vintage Print Tomato Burlap Grow Bag

Plant tomatoes deep into a grow bag only half filled with soil, as the plant grows, top the bag up with more soil, to bury the lower stems and create a stronger root system. Keep topping up the soil throughout the season. Peppers and herbs can be planted in full grow bags at the top of the soil line. They don?t benefit from having the stems buried like tomatoes do.

Watering Grow Bag Gardens

These grow bags are lined with a thin sheet of plastic and they have a drainage hole in the bottom of the bag to allow excess moisture to drain. The plastic helps to keep the burlap from soaking through so that the burlap bag will last longer. Water plants on the top of the soil to avoid getting the burlap wet.

Growing herbs in a bag

Don?t worry if it does get wet, though! The burlap can be out in the rain and it won?t fall apart. The rain does stain, so on quite rainy weeks, I moved the grow bags under cover to keep them from becoming over-saturated. Even so, the staining doesn?t bother me as it looks the way it should?vintage and well used.

During hot, dry periods I used a drip watering bag in the largest grow bag for tomatoes. This allowed me to go on summer vacation and not worry that the plants would die before I got home.

water system for grow bags

Growing and Staking Vegetables in Grow Bags

As the plants grow, you may need to stake the indeterminate tomatoes or vining plants like cucumbers. Help them grow with a sturdy support such as or tomato cages.

Growing vegetables in burlap grow bags

Harvest and Aftercare

At the end of the season, once you have harvested all of the vegetables from the grow bags, you can compost the plants, roots, and soil and give the inside of the bag a wash with soapy water. Allow it to dry completely in store for the winter. Your bag will be ready for use again next year.

Burlap Herb Planter Bag


Gardener?s Edge has kindly offered to give away a set of three grow bags (, , and ) plus a To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by May 6th, 2018 for your chance to win and be sure you are signed up for our to get news and special offers we don?t share anywhere else. This contest is open to residents of the continental US and Canada, except Quebec and where prohibited. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Carla!


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