Dear Survival Blog:
I share Tennessean’s love of pole beans (and second the nomination of Rattlesnake as a wonderful variety), but up here in NY, where you have to wait for the soil to warm up before planting, bush beans will produce something edible 7-10 days faster than pole beans. So, in a must-eat situation, that may be important. The fastest maturing pole bean variety I have grown is Golden Gate.
If using horse fence as a trellis is out of your price range, take a look at Herrick Kimball’s bicycle tire trellis. Go to his Gardening Ideas Book page and scroll down for a picture on the right hand side. – E.F.
HJL Adds: Another low cost alternative that we like to use here is often called “the three sisters”. It is simply planting pole beans and corn together so that the beans have something to climb and then a third, low-growing vegetable, like squash as a ground cover. This works especially well in areas like the Southwest where water conservation is important. This method does require some timing in your planting though as the beans will sprout long before the corn does. There are several SurvivalBlog advertisers that have prepared packages of seeds ready to go for this method of planting, and the best part is that it is completely bio-degradable.