The bean tipi



It’s a childhood dream, a strong desire to live a break from serenity! Sleep in a cabin in the hollow of a tree that is close to the stars. Hear night sounds, both disturbing and magical. Disconnect from everyday life to better reconnect with nature, for a weekend.

Assembly instructions

With a string

This is the simplest and fastest method. Attach a string to the fork of the poles and turn around the structure to garnish it in a spiral. Wind the string from time to time (1) the spacing of the turns can be 10 to 15 cm or more for a looser covering but it is necessary to provide the location of the door between two poles, on a height of 50 to 70 cm. It is enough to wind the twine of the spiral on the pole concerned and to distribute on the other side. Another solution is to have dotted circles of string duly knotted, spacing them 10 to 15 cm apart – with interrupted circles at the door.

With twigs

This time it is a braiding. Collect flexible twigs – for example, shoots on old stumps or fine stems of willow, chestnut, ash, or any other species – and place them on the structure by passing them over the poles, once in front and once behind. If the branches are rigid enough, they stand on their own. Otherwise, they must be stabilized with small pieces of string. Again, space the sleepers 10 to 15 cm (2)


It is the typical teepee of the vegetable patch, but you can divert it a little from its productive role to make it a vegetable and fun Indian tent for children, without sacrificing the harvest.


It is a shelter of freshness which joins the useful to the pleasant – and the aesthetic at the same time, since it is decorative in the vegetable patch, especially if you choose a variety with colorful flowers, like the bean of ‘Spain. For the gardener, it is a good deal, because it allows a good harvest in a reduced space.

For children, it is a delight, in fine weather, to have a hideout of Sioux well hidden in the greenery.


They depend on the species and the variety cultivated. Plan for 3 m poles for the kidney bean and 2.5 cm for the classic row beans. For the spacing on the ground, respect the rule stated above: diameter = height. The gardeners’ teepees are often narrower, but we give ours a certain width so that the children are comfortable there. At the same time, the plants benefit from better aeration, which is a guarantee against diseases.

Assembly instructions

Start with the classic tripod, tied at the top with hemp or linen string. Push the foot of the fifteen-centimeter poles – it’s easy because the garden soil is loose. Add the secondary poles, push them in, and link them in turn. Add a few crosspieces, especially at the bottom (don’t forget to leave a free side for the door), to help the plants in their climbing.

How many poles?

The bean spreading widely, and since we sow at the foot of each oar, you can settle for six poles in all – or go up to nine if you want to build more solid. For this type of teepee, all the poles are suitable, in particular the chestnut perch and the hazel stems, traditionally used in oars.


To have beautiful beans (plants of tropical origin), you have to wait until the soil is warm. Wait until April 15 in the Midi and until May 15 in the Paris region. Sow in a pocket: make a hole of 3 or 4 cm at the foot of each oar and have 4 to 6 grains in it (1) Fill up, tamp down lightly by hand and water.

  • Culture.

Water regularly, but not excessively. When the plants reach a height of fifteen centimeters, butte them with a hoe: bring back fine soil on the stems, but leaving the foliage protruding (2)

Thereafter, you will make other buttes as you grow. The bean is a voluble plant that coils itself vigorously on any vertical element, to get closer to the sun. So you don’t have to guide her. The foliage forms a dense and covering coat, and the flowers (white, pink or purple, or even two-tone red and white for the Spanish bean) are quite pretty. The harvest – which the children will be delighted to do with you – takes place after ten weeks for the green beans, three and a half months for the beans in fresh beans, and four and a half months for the dry beans.

  • Soaking the seeds.

To make the emergence faster and more homogeneous, soak the seeds for 24 n in a little warm water before sowing them – and discard those that float.

  • The interior.

So that children do not sit on the ground, spread out the inside of hay, straw, or even an old mat. You can also place a few flat stones as a stool. Do not forget to create a direct passage between the tipi entrance and the nearest alley so that your terrible Apaches do not trample salads and radishes.

  • What varieties?

For a tipi of this type, intended for children, the kidney bean is perhaps the best choice: it is very vigorous, reaching 3 m and more, its flowers are pretty and it gives large pods and tasty grains (still relatively unknown in France, but much appreciated in Spain and South America). Also note ‘Soissons vert à rames’ also vigorous (3 m), for the fresh grain, or even ‘Merveille de Venise’ (2.5 m), bean butter mangetout with a yellow pod.

The bean tipi ready to welcome its inhabitants.

(Translated from CABANES – 50 Plans Détaillés of the author Michel Beauvais)