Bean Tipi Seeds – Who Wants Some?

| Gardening, Growing, Kitchen Garden, Urban Permaculture | comments | Author :


Last year we had a rather great success with our Bean tipi – it flourished and also got a great workout as a cubby. And at the end of the season, of course, we got beans. Lots.

So in the spirit of seed saving and paying it forward, we were thinking to pass on a bunch of our verified bean-tipi-capable scarlet runner + blue lake seeds. Would you like some? 








This year, I think we’re going with a bean fort.

Which doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as a bean tipi I must admit, but then, design is always about context.

We’ve got a weird little concrete slab in the north corner of the garden that I rekon would make a fine fort footprint. So we’ll be forting up a structure for beans to smother over this Summer.

Because seriously, what is Summer without a fort? Especially when you’re 5.

But back to the seeds that we harvested from last Summer’s tipi. We have lots. Scarlet Runners and Blue Lakes both.

The Scarlet Runners I love for their resilience, their bright red seeds, and their vigour. The Blue Lakes are hands down my favourite eating bean, and climb quickly to the light.

Our dried bean harvest (due to us eating the majority of the beans green) is of an in-between size – too many for just our planting use, not quite enough to be a large jar of dried beany goodness for spring casseroles.

And so I was thinking to share the love. The beany love, that is.

Wouldn’t it be cool if that bean tipi from last Summer spawned 100 more bean tipis this Summer?

Such an ode to the power of the seed!

And also an ode to sharing and adaptation and to outside play and to bare-toed Summer and to photosynthesis, that amazing and beautiful process that makes our world go round.


And maybe if you took some of our seeds and planted them and you too built a tipi and it grew into a magnificent and gorgeous beany tangle, you could send us a photo of the result. Which I rekon would be pretty cool.



Great! So it’s settled. Bean tipis and forts all round. Ok?

If you’re up for the Bean Fort Challenge, whack a comment in below, and I’ll choose a bunch (likely at random) next week. 

And then we can all get planting.

Here’s the backstory on last year’s Bean Tipi (which I rekon was a pretty darn fine design, with bonus herb garden and whipper-nipper-proof to boot) incase you need extra encouragement.

*Note that I don’t think we can post you seeds in you’re in WA, TAS or anywhere beyond the Great Southern Land. Sorry, far flung friends.

See the comments

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90 responses to “Bean Tipi Seeds – Who Wants Some?

  1. Hi Kirsten,
    We would love to build a bean tipi.
    We are down the hill in jaspers brush. Perhaps when it’s built/ grown you and your little fella could come
    And play with ours and munch in the veg plot. My kids love planting beans and snow peas. Kids 5,3,2.
    Thanks for sharing the love

  2. Definitely on my to do list for this spring/summer. I think my 18 month old and 4 year old you just love it! And I reckon I might just sneak under there for some quiet time and bean munching now and again… 🙂

  3. I followed your bean tepi story with interest last year, and decided that this growing season I would grow a tent between two 6 metre beds over a walkway with successive plantings. I normally use green epicure climbing beans bud would love to add the colour of the red and blue from your garden at Milkwood. Living almost at the foot of Nullo Mountain, I related to the frosty conditions your winters brought.


  4. Live in the beautiful Byron Shire in Northern NSW. Love your postings and to have a bean tipi inspired and birthed from some of your seeds would be a treat!! May the bean be with you. xoxo Arlee Bryant

  5. Hi, we would love some of your bean seeds. We made an outdoor classroom with some prep kids a couple of years ago and planted apple trees to give summer shade around one side. We have been speaking to them sweetly but they are not really doing their job yet. Maybe we could do a bean tipi to lend them a hand this year.

  6. We would love some seeds! Planted our first sunflower teepee, the seedlings have just come through this week and it’s excitement all round. Thanks for sharing the love.

  7. I was thouerly inspired by the bean teapi. We have hollowed out under a large shrub to create a fairy garden. A bean fort would compliment it well and be good for the wee man. Plus beans and peas are one of the only veges the kids will eat raw.

  8. I would love some beans for a tipi. I’m moving to Alice Springs in January so would be very excited to start my life there with a bean shelter. I currently live in NSW, so no problems with posting just yet.
    Thanks for the offer 🙂

  9. my 1,3 and 4 year olds would love a been tipi. Some new varieties is always fun. beans are perfect for little fingers to plant and grow fast for short attention spans.

  10. Oh yes please! I have been inspired by your bean tipi posts – I’m planning a bean tipi over a sandpit which will hopefully provide enough entertainment to distract my twelve month old from ‘unplanting’ the garden!

  11. I would love to try some scarlet runners.
    I have plenty of blue lake seed – they are even self sowing in my garden because I left some pods on the vine after last crop.

  12. Me, me, pick me!! I have been meaning to make a bean tipi for a couple of years now but I reckon if I got myself some certified tipi seeds I would make it happen in an instant! Plus this would of course make me hands down favourite Aunty?!?!? Thanks for the great post – i wasn’t sure exactly what to plant them into but the terracotta is perfect and looks great!

  13. Hi Kirsten, we have a fantastic community garden at our kids school in Sydney’s inner west which has just been surrounded by an ugly 2m black security fence 🙁 We are looking for ways to green it up so beans would be a great start,

    Stuart of Ashbury (& Windeyer)

  14. I used Hertitage Lazy Housewife beans last season and froze so much(two years supply I suspect)! Dried lots too for winter soups and stews. I shared seeds with our garden club too. This year am trying out some Seven Year Beans and Blue Lake plus my Lazy Housewife too. I grow them over a large reo arch which become a shade tunnel and lets me pick from belw easily.but do love the idea of a bean tipi too….hmm maybe by the chook pen I could fit it in????

  15. Hi Milkwood, such a beautiful teepee!! I’d love to build one of these at our local community garden so all the kids(and big kids) involved could enjoy it!

  16. We’ve got our teepee ready..would love some of your seeds. Still feeling super-inspired from the Milkwood July Permaculture course and your awesome blog tooooo:)

  17. Oh my giddy aunt – what a fab response to the bean give away for the bean tipi or fort or castle or archway …….. Our one-year old garden, created from a paddock south east of Wagga would benefit from a colourful bean tipi and I’m thinking of beans for the in-construction pergola over the new timber (yet to be built) permanent table from our own ironbark timber. So many possibilities.

    Love your newsletters and thanks…..again 🙂

  18. For tassie based folk we have plenty of scarlet runner seeds (including some gorgeous white flowered and seeded ones) (are they still called scarlet runners??) and can give some away . . . send me an email at christina (at) or find us at the sustainable living festival in hobart in early November – which is right at a good time to plant the seeds down here for summer fort and tipi bounty. cheers!

  19. Just beginning this garden, after much questioning about how; your gardens are always an insoiration. Would love some seeds, loved the tipi last year, and I have bamboo harvested from my previous garden, just waiting!

  20. Have always thought it cool to maybe even grow some lettuce in side where dappled shade could coax it to produce a little longer. lol Good luck everyone!

  21. Would love some seeds, live in sunny Cairns and could grow them over the pergola in the pool garden – food and shade for the chooks as well!

  22. I’d love some seeds for my tiny Chippendale backyard I’m trying to make a Bean / tree hut structure for my 2 boys. 🙂

  23. Love a good bean tipi. Just starting a community garden and would love some seeds to grow the tipi. Love the Milkwood site and info shared. Always inspiring. Thanks
    Kirsten for Friends of Farley Farm

  24. I would love some to use in a garden plan for friends being married at our small hobby farm .We want to grow some tepees for all the children to play in whilst the afternoon wedding is going on. We’re planting pots of fragrant herbs too for the arbour we have under some peppercorn trees and aim to have our mandala vege beds full of flowering marigolds for colour . They will walk through an avenue of sunflowers to get to the arbour…should be beautiful for a young hippy couple . The teepee will be made of the feral and rampant bamboo growing on the roadsides and channel banks near us, an environmental cleanup we do quite often.

  25. I thought this was the best idea last year but we were in the process of moving house. This year, I am definitely doing it! I would love some seeds. My son also wants a field of sunflowers (who doesn’t?!)

  26. Wow, if you have any left I would love some seeds. We are looking at creating a more sensory garden as my husband is losing his sight, and it looks like a cool place for the hens to hang as well ☺

    1. Karen, if you live close enough, I’ve got some lavender cutting that have struck and I’m happy to start some rosemary cuttings and add some divided lemongrass to add to the sensory garden. I’d suggest lambs ear (lovely and fluffy as well but I don’t have any). I live in Ingleburn, between Liverpool and Campbelltown, Sydney.

  27. Yes please! I would love to make a bean fort at my preschool’s kitchen garden here in Canberra. Our address is Blue Gum Community School, 49 Stockdale St, Dickson ACT 2602. Thanks so much for sharing the love!

  28. What a great idea! Thanks for producing such a wonderful blog. My boys are keen to get a tipi happening. I’m not very creative but I’d give it my best shot.

  29. What a lovely idea! My daughter and son would love to make a tipi with me. The other day we collected some bamboo that was placed out on the kerb with the idea to make a tipi and were wondering how to go about it and what to grow over it. This article is definitely going to help us put it in to practise, so thank you. The thought of some precious seeds from YOUR garden would just top it off! So yes please, we would love some of your seeds.
    We have a large group of my husbands relatives coming from Europe to share Christmas with us. It’s their first time to Australia and I’d like them to experience the iconic Aussie backyard, and I think a tipi or two will be great for all the cousins to play in together with a few BBQs and fresh beans!

  30. I grew me some scarlet runner beans too, nice looking and colorful, I love green beans and never let them set far enough to get the beans, lol, tipis are good idea for growing beans. those beans looks pretty good that you have there.

      1. Hey Kirsten

        I’ve been meaning to go and get some more for some time. I’ll call the guy and see if it’s OK. Essentially he has a clump that has ‘got away’ and the bamboo are massive. I was limited in length by what I could fit in my Tarago. A truck would be ideal. Would you have time to go next week? I’m in Gerringong…

  31. Thank you so much for sharing. What a brilliant setup for your bean tipi! It looks amazing. Do you think you could do the same with either some recycled besa blocks or reclaimed pvc piping?? It wouldn’t look as fabulous as the terracotta but I’m always trying to think of ways to re-use materials.

    I’ll share a handy tip for watering that we use on our pots using clear plastic drinking bottles. We left the lids/screw cap on then drilled / cut a big hole in the bottom of the bottle (about 5cm diameter – my partner used a hole saw attachment to do ours). We then placed the bottles screw cap down above the pots. We had tied ours to the wire mesh behind our pots to keep them in place but you could probably tie them to a stake. Fill the bottle with water and adjust the screw cap to control the flow.

  32. This is an awesome idea!! I live in an old housing commission area full of flats, populated by lots of migrant families. I want to give the tipi a go & when it’s flourishing, move it to the park for the kids to enjoy. On a hot summers afternoon there’s often 50+ people in the park. I can picture the tipi being part of the beautiful mayham of Heatley reserve, Footscray!

  33. I tried building the bones of a tipi at the preschool where I work, but sadly the day I was away the kids demolished it! I’d like to try again these holidays, and some proven beans would be a wonderful start. I’d also love to know where you sourced the honeycomb bricks to build the base, as I’m going to have this new one much more sturdy to handle the rigours of preschool.

  34. I think my four and one year olds would love a bean tipi, I’d never get them back in the house! Awesome! Yes please! 🙂

  35. We are totally up for the bean tipi challenge if you still have some seed left! We are living in Richmond NSW 🙂

  36. I would love to try this in the playground of the preschool where I work…our children would adore a bean tipi!!

  37. Last year I grew my first non-mother-assisted beans (think a glorious temperate England of memory, four decades behind us) … and South Australia’s inland scorch gottem. Despair threatened … but instead of pulling them out I kept watering the withered tangled wreck, until autumn’s unexpected gift: the most amazing, precious offering … maybe two dozen pods all up. Irresistible in their sweetness, they were devoured! And that is why I have bugger-all seed saved but am totally hooked and would sooooo love to do it all again with the right vibe planted alongside. 🙂 Thanks for your lovely site, always a good read and warm glow. x

  38. Yes please! We have built the tipi with our OOSH kids but could only find peas or mini beans 🙁 We would love to try some of your and would be only too happy to share the results with you 🙂 thanks so much

  39. I’d love to try a bean tipi too! This is the first year we have our own garden, and we’re still establishing it. A bean tipi would look amazing. I’m going to make one regardless, but I’d love to try your seeds!

  40. Kirsten, I would love to build a bean wall! If I could get a few seeds from you they’d go a long way! I do not have Blue Lake or Scarlet Runner, happy to grow them and pass some of the seeds to other gardeners!

  41. Ooh ooh pick me! What a wicked project idea. My son would absolutely LOVE this, would be the best (edible) cubby house ever! if I don’t win I’d be happy to buy some seeds anyway, and share any leftovers 🙂

  42. That sounds so rad! My housemates and I are moving to a new place in the next week or so and we’ve been planning the mother of all veggie patches! Just itching to get planting and this sounds like a great way to get a new garden started 🙂

  43. Could I get some of these colorful seeds please? Also have you ever tried “Giant of Studgart” stringless beans they’re amazing and really grow exponentially could be an idea for your BeanFort this summer?

  44. What a great idea. We have bamboo poles ready and a 5 year old, 8 year old and 13 year old waiting to build one for their various reasons not limited but including, dungeon, fairy castle and music room……it will be a big tee pee. Love some seeds,,thanks for inspiration.

  45. Always a challenge to see what does or does not prosper in Canberra. Would love to build a nice shady place for contemplation. And maybe a cold ale!

  46. I’d love some beans to build a bean tipi… for my quails. The chickens have the run of the garden, but the quails need to be contained, and though they do have a lovely run, and quite a good amount of space, I do sometimes feel sorry that they can’t snooze under the lavender bushes or scratch around the apple trees the way the chooks do. I like the idea of them having their very own bean tipi to wander in and out of as they please.

  47. Wow! What a beautiful idea. My two boys and I would love to be a part of this …I can already picture us playing in the tipi and eating some fresh home grown beans too. Please ‘pick’ us! 🙂

  48. After being inspired by your post, we have recycled an old wire chook pen and are just waiting for the grand children to visit so we can involve them in their new bean “cubby” by planting around it. Bring on the school holidays!!

  49. Yes please, so lovely to be spreading the love. Hopefully whoever wins cans pass the generosity on. Thanks for the wonderful inspirations.

  50. I’m soooo excited!….Just told I might be on ABC Gardening Australia later in the year as a newbie backyard permaculture garden owner, would just love to inspire them with a bean tipi smack in the middle for the neighbourhood kids who come in to visit and munch, not to mention having a hideaway for a quiet read and a drink after being in the garden, sounds fun!

  51. Love a bit of tipi action and have just the place for it this summer. Would look fantastic with my garden of sunflowers that will be popping their little heads out of the soit very shortly. Happy tipiing!

  52. This is exactly what we need to do on the concrete slab out the back of our newly-purchased “tumble-down shack” weatherboard house. My daughters have been clamoring about building a fort, but it’s so HOT there. A bean fort is the perfect idea! (I’m thinking chillies, too). Somehow we will combine it with the chook shed, too. Hatching our new babies this week!

  53. Ok THATS IT( sorry, gotta stop sometime) – thanks everyone! Feeling very honoured to know the bean tipi seeds will be going to such enthusiastic homes 🙂

    My trusty random number generator says that the tipi seeds are off to:

    Jodi / Kelly Ryan / kate gresham / Holly / Jayne / Maya, Sasha and Kira / Margaret of Vivid Edible Gardens / Jayne / Shonah / Jane Dillon Sisley / Sri Hilaire

    We’ll email the folks above and get the seeds out to y’all next week.

    And to everyone else, I’m sorry we didn’t have enough seeds for everyone! Please still make a bean tipi. It will make your whole family smile 🙂

  54. What a fantastic idea! I would love some seeds if there are any going but I am pinching your idea for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  55. The kids in Camdenville Paddock Community Garden in Newtown would love the tipi. Such a lovely idea that we’ll have to make space for. The idea will germinate with your excellent seeds.

  56. Tried the bean tipi last year with very little success. My girls were a little disappointed hoping to give it another crack this year and see how we go. Keep up the innovative ideas. Thanks

  57. would love to try making a bean tepee or fort for the neighbours kids my dogs and me tp eenjoy.. love the setup in big pipes or pots, over a hard surface.

  58. I have been promising my kids a bean and sunflower tipi for four years now. Please help me make their dreams come true by providing me with inspiring beans that will kick my butt into gear! And, if not, that is okay too because these photos were very inspiring and I am pretty sure this is my bean tipi year, free seeds or not 🙂

  59. Hello,
    We tried a small bean teepee a couple of years ago, and found our poles were WAY to short. Will try it again. Your design looks like fun. We have used Kentucky pole beans. Would like to try yours. We live in Texas and love our beans right off the plant. Thanks for the info.

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