For the past several seasons we have been growing our green beans in half-barrel containers. Our yields have been outstanding. We always plant the Kentucky Wonder variety since it seems to perform the best for us and the seeds can be saved for planting the following year.
As you can see in the photos, we cut a 55 gallon drum in half around it’s circumference with a circular saw. The plugs are removed from the top half and several holes are drilled in the “floor” of the bottom half. 5 or 6 holes are drilled, evenly spaced, around the top lip of each half. We add several inches of gravel and clay at the bottom followed by some regular topsoil out of the garden. These beans do well in “tired” soil so we usually take the dirt from a portion of the garden that has been overworked.
When the barrel’s about half full, a 6 foot piece of furring strip is placed vertically in the center. Stainless or aluminum wire is looped thru the holes in the barrel and tied off about half way up the pole. We have an abundance of 36″ aluminum welding filler rods on hand so we used that on these barrels.
The barrel is filled with topsoil and seeds are sown. Weeding and watering is crucial, at least until the plants are large enough to shade the dirt. As the vines reach the top of the pole, they’re trimmed to help produce a better harvest. Keep an eye out for the best producing vines and save the seeds from those hardiest plants.
It’s been our experience that these beans don’t grow well in the same soil the following year. Beans add nitrogen to the soil and just about every other vegetable plant loves nitrogen so the dirt from these barrels will be removed and used elsewhere next spring.