Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates

Milkwood Blog

Bean Tipi: the harvest

March 28, 2014 | Kitchen Garden, Urban Permaculture | 13 comments | Author:

140328 bean tipi harvest01

It’s a cubby house, but also bee forage, a shade structure for tender herbs, a plentiful source of dinner beans, and seed saving stock, too. Hooray for the Bean Tipi!

And I don’t think our summer garden will ever be without one, from this year onward. They’re far too much fun.

140328 bean tipi harvest03

140328 bean tipi harvest04

140328 bean tipi harvest05

140328 bean tipi harvest06

140328 bean tipi harvest07

140328 bean tipi harvest08

140328 bean tipi harvest10

140328 bean tipi harvest12

140328 bean tipi harvest13

140328 bean tipi harvest15

140328 bean tipi harvest16

140328 bean tipi harvest17

140328 bean tipi harvest19

140328 bean tipi harvest20

140328 bean tipi harvest21

140328 bean tipi harvest22

140328 bean tipi harvest23

To think that only 3 months ago this bean tipi was but a hopeful stick construction…

The beans we planted were blue lake (which look like normal green beans, to me) and scarlet runners (the ones with red  and black seeds).  The ones at the top that are well out of reach are the self-selecting seed to be saved, I’ve decided.

But all the ones within arms length are dinner. And breakfast, and lunch.

It’s amazing how versatile the green bean can be, really. With sardines at breakfast, salad at lunch, added to everything and also eaten raw. Yum.

This bean tipi has also been a bit of a figurative rock in a stormy sea, in many ways, these last few months.

No matter what the local news report said our politicians were doing, or not doing, the bean tipi kept growing.

No matter what crazy and terrible things the international news report said was happening far over the waves, the bean tipi kept growing.

And growing. And flowering, and producing beautiful food for us.

It’s enough to fortify the soul, I rekon.

Thank you summer, photosynthesis, and the incredible tendency of nature to keep growing good things, no matter what.




  • teletom March 28, 2014 at 6:56 am | Reply

    Great idea making the bean tipi big enough for the kids. Nice photos. What better way to kid kids into gardening? Well done.

  • Rutilly March 28, 2014 at 8:49 am | Reply

    Wow that looks amazing! Totally love the idea of being able to sit inside it, my son would love not only building it but sitting in it and picking and eating it it as your son appears to. Such a great idea thank you for sharing! xXx

  • Thom Foote March 28, 2014 at 9:22 am | Reply

    I just finished making 6m of 3m tall pointed arches out of the pine saplings from my land covered with field fencing. The 6m length is made up of 4 – 3.5m sections held together at the top with a 6m ridgepole. I should be able to walk under it and harvest from the inside. I plan to plant beans, peas, cucs, gourds and squashes. I can’t wait to see how it performs. Thanks for this piece. I may have to experiment with this.

  • BobTurkey March 28, 2014 at 10:23 am | Reply

    Gee the boy is growing up.

    You write the best gardeny blog there is! Keep up the good work :-)

    Gobble gobble.

  • Kelly Lus March 28, 2014 at 10:38 am | Reply

    Wow Kirsten. You guys did an amazing job with your tipi!! It looks very healthy. Ours went really well too but is slowly coming to an end. Patrick has really enjoyed playing with his trucks etc under it, making creeks and mud pies. All the while snacking on yummy scarlet runner beans. Am going to have a go at maybe growing cucumbers there next year.

  • craigfeuerherdt March 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Reply

    Reblogged this on The Violet Verge and commented:
    Our bean tipi doesn’t look quite this fancy however the mild autumn days will see the beans & peas bulk out in the next few weeks.

  • Clare March 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Reply

    Our bower birds would love this!

  • deweysanchez March 29, 2014 at 12:51 am | Reply

    Reblogged this on August Cottage Apiary and commented:
    I am definitely going to do this. It is so useful having staggered seasons. I can wait and see if something has worked for milkwood from spring to summer just in time to start it myself.

  • Zoya March 30, 2014 at 10:53 am | Reply

    It looks gorgeous. I’m saving the idea in my mind to have it in my garden one day when I have a garden to play in.

  • Chris Miller March 31, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Reply

    ”No matter what the local news report said our politicians were doing, or not doing, the bean tipi kept growing.

    No matter what crazy and terrible things the international news report said was happening far over the waves, the bean tipi kept growing.”

    This. This is what permaculture is made of. <3

  • […] goals for this Winter include learning how to make best-ever bone broth, and storing the bean tipi bean harvest for planting next […]

  • Tipi | Blah Blah Magazine – a lifestyle June 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Reply

    […] had a grand plan to build a ginormous tipi, like the lovely folks at Milkwood did, to grow beans over. Like lots of things in this home, it didn’t quite happen like it […]

  • […] be time to nurture tomato seeds in a sunny indoor space, and plant the beans we collected from last Summer’s bean tipi. Ah Spring – I can’t […]