Next season, we shouldn't have many worries about space constraints, but in the meantime, we are still here farming our few acres and figuring out how to grow more on less. In our effort to grow more in a smaller amount of space, we are experimenting with pole beans and peas. That means that a lot of trellising--we already trellis our tomatoes and added pole beans and pole peas which adds up to a whole lot of T-posts springing up around the field. Along with our electric fence, we have something like 200-300 stainless steel T-posts. That's a lot of steel, but so far it seems that at least one planting of pole peas have done better in yields and health than previous years' plantings. We will see about the beans. We just had our first stellar harvest of bush green beans--I think we picked 200 pounds in a 200 foot row and another heavy set of beans is ready to be picked for tomorrow's CSA. It will be hard for the pole beans to beat that. The first pick of beans was beautiful with no trace of rust--that is, until it rained bucketloads on Thursday afternoon and Friday night. There was a moment on Thursday that we thought a tornado was forming above the farm. Luckily it didn't and we got just little pellets of hail for a minute or two. We were holding our breath there though, especially once we heard there was a tornado about 5 miles east of Farmington. I can't wait until we qualify for better crop insurance. Until then, we will be little stress balls everytime the dark and stormy clouds approach.
Two types of trellising the pole beans are below. Purple beans are crawling up steel hog panels tied to T-posts every 10 feet or so. 2nd photo is the traditional stringing from the top wire down to the bottom wire and the beans crawl up and up. Panels were easier but more expensive, although they might be easier to pick beans from.