Growing up

Blogger and seed saving enthusiast Beryl Randall explains why, when it comes to saving space on the plot, the only way is up

For me, March and April are the months when I start thinking about structures. With an overflowing seedbox (or 3) and only 7.5 rods space is at an absolute premium. I grow vertically wherever I can – across paths, up and over my shed and at the northerly ends of beds. Wigwams, A-frames, X-frames are all familiar and cheery sights on allotments, but they are space hoggers and I usually only have one of the three each year, with a squash trailing out from underneath.

Bean arches are more my thing. Wire-covered arches are set over my main path, at the ends of each bed and with pollinator-friendly flowers at their feet. They don’t just provide a space-saving way to grow easily-picked beans, they provide a perfect shady path to sit in summer’s heat.

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I am also a huge munty frame fan. It looks very much like a football goal without the net. You make two sturdy cross-pieces – beans are heavy! There’s a lower one at the back, about 4-5ft high, joined with a couple of 8ft bamboos to the south-facing and 7ft-high front end. I use polytwine to string the munty from front to back and beans are sown or planted on top of the buried ends. The beans vine up and over the rear cross-piece (they sometimes need help to go over in the direction that you want!) and grow over the bed towards the southern end. The beauty of munties is not only are the hanging beans are easy to pick, but there is plenty of sheltered, south-facing space underneath for more crops. I use it for anything that won’t grow too tall and isn’t an allium. If you haven’t tried them before, please give them a go and let me know how you get on!

Beryl blogs at

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Steve Ott
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