The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Community => Coffee Lounge => Topic started by: Fleecewife on March 03, 2022, 02:47:08 pm

Title: Hazel poles for beans
Post by: Fleecewife on March 03, 2022, 02:47:08 pm
Does anyone know of a source of 8 foot long hazel poles for growing beans in Scotland please.  We grow our own usually but this year we don't have enough ready to cut. I don't know if there are any coppicing schemes in Scotland (south) which might sell poles at a reasonable cost.
Title: Re: Hazel poles for beans
Post by: Anke on March 03, 2022, 08:12:39 pm
We are using our straight poles from the hybrid willow for some of our frames (like peas). As long as you de-bark the bottom (what is in the ground) they do not take. Our pea frame has been up for three years now and still looking good.

Even though I have big hazel bushes they are not straight, so no use for poles or anything really...

My climbing/runner beans grow up a string (baler twine) - two wires, one on the ground (screwed into the wooden sides of the raised bed) one over the crop bars in the polytunnel. It is however quite a permanent structure, underplanted with squash and courgettes.
Title: Re: Hazel poles for beans
Post by: Fleecewife on March 03, 2022, 11:58:42 pm
Hi Anke, Thanks but we've used all those options.  When we had a couple of allotments we had 'woodhenge' which was a permanent structure for beans.  We also do use willow sticks which we give to the sheep first to debark. I usually grow climbing beans inside the tunnel and they grow to the crop bars up strings, but I want to see if climate change is making a noticeable difference to summer temps and my ability to grow beans outdoors. This year though I want to grow sweetpeas in the front (flower) garden and really only hazel poles look really good for those.  I stopped using canes a few years ago when I realised they often contained chinese pests, still alive and waiting to colonise (well probably not, but you can't be too careful) Anyway, I don't like canes.

For hazel poles, you need to coppice your trees.  It's terrifying cutting down a healthy tree to only a foot above ground, but it really does grow back with lots of rustically straight poles.

We looked round half the woods today and there are quite a few more poles than I had thought, so we'll check the coppice in the morning and hope there are more. There are also sheep-chewed willow branches to check for any straight ones although really the plants don't mind if their poles are wonky  :o
I've searched online a little and all I could find was poles from Sussex at great expense and even greater delivery charges. Nothing so far in Scotland - I can't be the only person coppicing in the country!