Last year, my Kentucky Wonder green beans outgrew a very tall tipi with string horizontals I had given it. The same thing happened with an indeterminate tomato plant with a very tall stake, I forget what it was called. In both cases, once the vines got to the top, they had nowhere to go, so they went sideways, and I had to catch them with additional poles placed on the side.

This year I want to plan ahead. Is the solution to train them in a zig zag between two side-by-side stakes? This seems doable for the tomato, which has a small number of vining stems, but hard to do with green beans, which involve a larger number of stems.

Different solutions for the two items would be fine.

  • I have built a rustic arch using 6 saplings. I'll let you know how it goes. Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 4:14

2 Answers 2


...chop them off at the head when they run out of trellis

Choose different varieties.

Yet Taller Trellis (but sort out how you'll reach)

Same height trellis relocated away from the plant so the strings run at more of an angle (how low they'll go varies with plant - i.e. I find hops (humulus lupus) object when the angle is less than 45 degrees. Some cucumbers will go nearly flat.

Or just be ready to side-stake again (sounds like these will also go nearly flat, if they put up with that last year.)

  • What do you think about the zig zag idea? Tie the stem to the right-hand stake, then the left-hand stake, and so on? Commented May 21, 2022 at 0:25
  • 1
    Fine if you're up for the hassle, but it may not buy you a lot (I supposed depends how far apart the stakes are.) I tend to find that Spring ideas that involve a lot of extra work often become things that don't play well in Summer & Fall when the work has to be done, rather than mere thought of.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 1:30
  • Okay, for the Kentucky Wonder beans I want to understand the diagonal approach better. Can you post a sketch? / For the tomatoes, after a couple months I think I could cut off some lower leaves and re-tie the stems, letting the stem sag a bit so that I can still reach the top as it continues to grow. Also I read that refraining from removing suckers at the top can provide some helpful shade. Commented May 21, 2022 at 3:42
  • Rather than re-tyeing, Commercial greenhouse tomatoes (with excellent disease control measures in place) use a reel of string at the top, (with has a latch to keep it fixed) and let some out every now and again, coiling up the old vine (and string) on the floor. Most garden tomatoes (in my area anyway) succumb to blight before that would be of great help, but perhaps your area or garden is different. "Rollerhook" seems to be one such product (no endorsement implied.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 10:41
  • I watched some videos yesterday showing "drop and lean," but I think for a backyard garden I can just trim low leaves and let the stem sag. If the original ties are loose I won't even need to re-tie, only adjust. But I'm not sure whether this variety will have a stem that will coil nicely. So I will try the zig zag also. I saw it in an older CCE publication last year. Commented May 21, 2022 at 20:51

Here’s an out-of-the-box solution you can use for the beans - plant them next to a sunflower so that they use the sunflower as a natural trellis. You can choose a sunflower variety that is taller than your beans and has a good, sturdy stock. Grow 4-6 bean plants per stock.

I have done this with success.


Per request, here is a picture of the setup.

enter image description here

  • Sounds like fun. I hope you will post a picture. Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 3:28

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