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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Crumb-Free, Whole-Grain Cornbread Recipe

Yummm!
Here is a recipe I developed over the years for a delicious, whole-grain corn-bread mix. I make it in bulk, pre-mixing all the dry ingredients so, if we want a loaf for breakfast or guests, or potlucks, it's a simple matter of adding the wet ingredients and popping it in the oven.

For best results, use all 'organic' ingredients. Most corn grown in the United States that is not-organic, is GM (genetically modified) and both corn and wheat, even if not GM is often grown with heavy pesticide use. "Organically grown" means: good for your health; good for the health of the planet!
We grow our own blue-corn for meal.

Corn Bread Mix (makes enough for about 13 loaves).

In a large bowl, measure and mix thoroughly:

3 cups All Purpose Flour
2.5 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 cups Corn Flour
3/4 cup Yellow Corn Meal
3/4 cup Blue Corn Meal

Mix all the flours and meals together thoroughly. I like to use my hands!

In a smaller bowl, measure and mix thoroughly:

2.5 cups Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Coconut Flour
1/2 cup Baking Powder
2.5 teaspoons Salt
1.5 cups Ground-Seed Mix (1/3 cup Poppy seeds, 1/3 cup Chia seeds, 2/3 cups (and a bit) of Flax seeds - See note below.)

Mix  the two bowls of dry ingredients together. Take extra-care to be very thorough in this mixing process, otherwise you may have some loaves that don't have enough baking powder to rise well, or a loaf might be too salty (or not salty enough). Store in an airtight container, in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Corn products are especially susceptible to rancidity.

Recipe uses a 7.5" x 4" mini-bread pan

Recipe for Individual Loaves: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 7.5 " x 4" mini-bread pan (see picture).

  • Measure wet ingredients, whip briskly - thoroughly mixing. For best results, bring wet ingredients to room temperature.
  • Add dried fruit/nuts, or savory ingredients (see notes below). Mix well.
  • Add bread-mix. Gently fold together so all flours are moistened. Don't over-mix because the baking powder works by creating air-bubbles. Mixing too briskly causes them all to pop, making a flat loaf.
  • Let batter stand in bread-pan for five minutes before putting into pre-heated oven so baking powder can begin to rise.
  • Bake for 30-35 min. (till top is brown and toothpick inserted comes out dry).
Wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1/3 cup not-milk (soy, almond, oat milk...)
1 tablespoon light oil - we use sunflower or safflower as they don't have strong flavors

Fruits/Nuts etc.
1/4 - 1/2 cup - This recipe is nice because it can be made sweet or savory depending on what meal it's accompanying. Be creative! (See variation-notes below).

Dry mix:
1 cup

Notes-Mix:

Blue Corn Meal: Blue corn meal is higher in protein than yellow corn meal (by as much as 30%). We like to grow and grind our own - LINK.
Coconut Flour: We recently discovered coconut flour and love using it for many purposes: we sprinkle about a tablespoon on our bowls of hot cereal, we use it in pie crusts and sometimes use it to thicken smoothies. Important: if you experiment with substituting it for regular flours, it is highly fibrous so use it in place of an other whole grain at a rate of 3/4:1 (if receipe calls for 1 cup WW flour, use 3/4 cup coconut flour instead).
Baking Powder: Baking powder, especially if exposed to air and moisture will lose its potency over time. So, don't buy more than you can use in 6-9 months and store it in an air-tight container.
Ground seeds: Using a 2-cup measuring cup, fill to 2/3 cup with chia and poppy and then top it off with flax-seeds up to 1.5 cups. Grind the mixture of seeds using an electric coffee-grinder that is dedicated to non-coffee grinding-- or cleaned very well.

Variations-Notes: 

Here are some of our favorite sweet combos:
  • Banana/dried date-pieces/walnuts 
  • Dried apricot pieces/date pieces/dried lemon peel (soak well in wet ingredients for 30 min.)
  • Raisins/sunflower seeds, 
OR savory options:
  • chopped red-peppers/green onions/small cubes of cheese. 
Pancakes - thin the batter with a splash of soy-milk, milk or water. Great with homemade apple butter, yogurt and honey or your own favorite topping!
Thin the batter for pancakes and add your favorite toppings.
The Sharing Gardens is a registered non-profit and tax-exempt organization. We exist entirely through donations. If you have found benefit from our project or our site, please consider making a small donation through PayPal. (Click button below.)


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Making Pumpkin Pie from Scratch - Recipe

Sugar-pie pumpkins; a variety bred for sweet, smooth flesh.

(This is re-posted from October 2020) Making pumpkin pie from scratch is truly a labor of love! How much easier it is just to open a can of puree. In the spirit of the slow food movement, we start making our pies back in April when we first plant the seeds! The small vines are transplanted into mounds of compost we've made ourselves, mulched, watered and weeded through the summer and harvested by the hundreds of pounds after they get their first kiss of frost.

This year, because of the tremendously hot and dry summer, almost all our winter-squash (the types we use to make pie-filling) finished ripening well before the first frost so we harvested them anyway. They're not as sweet as when they've been frosted but every bit as nutritious.

Provence, Buttercups and Sweetmeats.
When you're planning your garden for next season, consider sketching out enough space for plenty of winter-squash. Winter squash are the varieties that have a harder skin and store well for enjoyment all through the winter.  "Pumpkins" are just a variety of the larger category of "squash". Pumpkin pie filling can be made from sugar-pie pumpkins, or any kind of sweet, golden-meat type of squash. Delicata, Buttercup and Sweetmeat are all good varieties. If you don't have room in your garden next year, look for these varieties at your local market. Sometimes we combine two types of squash/pumpkin to make one batch of filling. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are not good to use as they are not bred for sweetness and the meat can be quite stringy. Our current favorite is the Provence pumpkin, an heirloom variety that has the sweetest meat we’ve found. It tends to grow quite large so it provides filling for many pies but, because they tend to be so big, they're not often grown commercially (most people can't use that much squash before it goes bad) so, if you want a Provence, you'll probably have to grow your own.

We make many batches of filling at once and freeze them. If you’re going to mess up the kitchen, you might as well make it worth it! Be sure you have plenty of all the ingredients you’ll need on hand. Or, you can also bake the squash and freeze it in 2-cup batches plain, using it much like you'd use a can of store-bought puree.


To bake the squash: 
The Provence is one of our favorites for pie.
Preheat oven to 400
Wash pumpkin/squash and dry skin 
Cut it open: Use a stout, sharp knife on a table or counter low enough that you can use the weight of your upper body to quarter the squash.  Doing it on the floor might even be easiest. 

Use a strong metal spoon to scrape out seeds and loose pulp/strings. You can put the seeds and pulp outside to feed birds and squirrels or separate the seeds, oil, salt and bake them. You probably won't want to save the seeds for planting, unless you're certain that they haven't "crossed" with other varieties. 

Cut into smaller pieces: Though it can be quite a challenge to cut these large, winter squash into smaller pieces for baking, you’ll be rewarded with a much shorter cooking time.

Orange, sweet flesh, yum!!
Place squash with skin facing down in a baking pan that has sides that are at least a two-inches deep. Many squash give off quite a lot of juice and can make a mess in your oven if the juice spills over the side of the pan. A roasting pan is ideal.

Bake squash/pumpkin for one hour, or until a fork pokes easily, deep into the flesh.


Once done, allow to cool. If you’ve chosen one of the juicier squashes, you’ll have best results by putting the pieces in a large colander over a bowl to drain any excess juice. The juice makes a delicious soup stock. I used to peel off the skins but found that they can be food-processed and taste just fine.


If you baked more squash than you’re prepared to deal with, you can freeze it and thaw to make filling at a later time. Freeze in 2-cup batches.

Sydney w/ a Provence

Yummy Natural Pumpkin Pie Filling 
YIELD: Filling for one, 9” pie.
Preheat oven to 365

In a food processor (a blender will not work), combine:

2 eggs (sorry, we haven't perfected a vegan version yet...)
2 cups squash/pumpkin

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP powdered milk (or soy protein powder*)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt

½ cup soy milk, cow’s milk, almond or coconut milk

Begin with eggs, alone. Mix thoroughly.
Add squash. Puree till smooth. Check to be sure there are no pumpkin lumps.
Add milk and all dry ingredients making an effort to distribute spices evenly. Mix in well.

* (not soy-flour).

Pour into your favorite pie shell and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour at 375 or until the pie is golden-brown, the middle is reasonably firm (it will get firmer as it cools) and before the crust gets too brown. Cool on wire rack before eating. Cover and chill to store.

To freeze filling for later:

Combine everything except the eggs. Make one batch at a time. Each batch is a little less than a quart so you can put it in your favorite freezer-containers. We use qt-size plastic zip-lock bags. Label them with blue, painter’s masking tape (it won’t come off in the freezer and you can peel it off after you empty the bag, wash the bag and re-use it.) I always write a reminder on the label to add two eggs. Lay the bags flat and you can easily stack many of them in your freezer.

When you want to make a pie, thaw the filling, add the eggs and use a blender, a mixer or food processor to mix it all well. By mixing in the eggs right before baking, you’ll have a fluffier, more pudding-like pie. Bake as above.

If you run out of any ingredients, before you've used up your squash, just freeze bags of the plain squash puree' and add the other ingredients right before baking. Freeze in 2-cup batches so you can thaw them, one pie at a time.

James and Jaye holding Buttercups; a drier, sweet, golden squash.

Flaky Rolled Pie Crust – YIELD: Two 9” pies without top shells

1 ¼  cups unbleached pastry flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sunflower oil (chilled is best)
1/3 cup ice water

Mix the flours and salt. Pour the oil and water into a cup but don’t stir. Mix with the flour. Press into a ball. Cut into halves. Place between two sheets of 12-inch waxed paper. Dampen a tabletop to prevent slipping. Roll out until the circle of dough reaches the edge of the paper. Peel off top paper and place the crust face down in a pie tin. Peel off the other paper and fit dough into tin. Freeze extra pie crust, in a pie-tin, in a plastic bag for later use.

Llyn, with Sugar-pie pumpkins.


The Sharing Gardens is a non-profit and tax-exempt organization. We exist entirely through donations. If you have found benefit from our project or our site, please consider making a donation through PayPal. (Click button below.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Amazing Quince! - Sugar-free Recipe

Update - Oct. 2021: We've been continuing with our experiments with quince recipes and learned a few things. Rather than re-write the post, we've added an addendum at the end. Also, please read the comments for info offered by fellow readers. Enjoy!

Hi folks - We've just made an amazing discovery. We love quince! When prepared as the recipe outlines below, quince tastes like a pear/lemon fruit with a hint of peach and rose-oil! Ambrosia!

This has been one of our most beautiful autumn seasons on memory! Pictured is the back of our 1875 Farmhouse, the yellow, shag-bark hickory tree (on the right) and a rainbow in-between. (October 2019)
Every year, about this time, one of the Monroe "locals" drops off two or three HUGE boxes of quince at our local Food Pantry. The quince usually sit on the shelves, for a month or more, with a sign that says "Take as many as you as you can use," but very few people take any, including us. Eventually the Pantry folks get tired of looking at them and they end up in the Sharing Gardens compost pile.

Quince after harvest. Photo credit: LINK
We've been reluctant to try them because they're so darn hard to cut open which makes them seem like a real pain to prepare. Also, they are very tart when they're raw and every recipe we'd heard of called for lots of sugar. We're always trying to find ways to limit our sugar intake, not add to it! So, until we discovered the joys of quince, we just figured our compost piles were going to have a nice big influx of worm-food in a month or two.

That is, until I (Llyn) looked up their nutritional content and Chris and I were pretty impressed - particularly as a good source of zinc and copper. Minerals are often the most difficult nutrients to get enough of in our modern diets. Most farm soils are increasingly depleted and, unless you're getting your food from an organic farmer who replenishes those minerals in natural ways that the plants can absorb, (like wood ash - LINK) it may be difficult to get enough minerals from your diet without taking any vitamin supplements (which we don't). Quince are also low-calorie, high in anti-oxidants and great for digestion (their natural pectin is soothing to the gut!). Who knew? LINK

While I was browsing for more general info about the quince, I found a recipe that suggested boiling them for 8-10 min before baking them and then my cooking creativity kicked in and I came up with the recipe below. I've made it twice so I'm still fine-tuning it (so check back for updates!) But the best thing is, this recipe calls for no refined cane sugar (just maple-syrup, and not much of that) and is easy to prepare.

Pears (on left). Whole, boiled quince (in bowl). Quartered quince (below) - this picture was taken before I figured out how to cut fruit away from core (see below).
The Recipe:

4-6 medium-sized quince (about 5 cups)
4-5 medium yellow pears (about 3 cups) (or sweet apples)
1/3 cup maple syrup (about 1 TBSP maple syrup per cup of quince)
1 TBSP lemon juice (don't over-do the lemon, as quince is plenty tart already!)
1 tsp cinnamon

Choose uniformly yellow, fully ripe fruit without bruises or other damage. It helps if they are a uniform size (for boiling phase).

Bring a pan of water to boil - deep enough to mostly cover the quince.
Using your bare hands, run the quince under water and rub as much of the fuzz off as you can (don't worry if you miss some).

Place in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. I think I over-did it the second time I made this. I was trying to soften the fruit all the way through but the core remained quite hard, even with longer boiling and the second time the outer fruit got rather mushy.

Lift the quince out of the boiling water and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish with coconut oil or butter.
Combine ingredients for sauce in a measuring cup with a lip for pouring.

Once cool, using a cutting board, cut off any brown spots or other blemishes on the fruit.
Slice the remaining fruit away from the core in as big pieces as possible (see picture). Your knife won't want to go through the core at all. It's super-hard! Just keep shaving off pieces all the way around the core till you've gotten as much as is easy.

Cut fruit away from the hard core.
Cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces.
Wash and core the pears. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mix the fruit together by layering it into the baking pan.
Drizzle the sauce over top of the fruit. Gently stir the fruit and sauce together to spread sauce evenly.

Quince, pears and sauce - before baking.
Use a pan with a lid, or cover with aluminum-foil.
Bake for forty-minutes covered (or until juices are boiling).
Take out, gently fold the fruit and sauce together so the fruit at the top gets re-sauced.
Leave cover off and bake for 10 more minutes to lightly caramelize the top.

After baking. Yum!
We like ours chilled with a scoop of organic low-fat, plain yogurt and some organic, lightly sweetened shredded-wheat cereal crushed on top.
We'll keep experimenting...seems like raisins or date-pieces would be good raw or cooked in with the fruit. Also, some crushed walnuts or granola might be good too.

A Quince Essential Fruit - here's a fun post that gives more details about this unique fruit including growing tips.

Let us know of your discoveries/variations in the comments below.

Addendum: We've discovered that, at least with our quince, we can skip the boiling stage of the recipe. The core of quince is so hard that even boiling doesn't soften it but by shaving pieces off and then cutting these pieces into bite-sized pieces, we've found we can skip the boiling phase of the recipe outlined above. Don't know if all varieties of quince are soft enough to do this...

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Grow Your Own Protein - Scarlet Runner Beans

by Chris Burns
Just like snow flakes, you'll never find two that look exactly alike,  attesting to Nature's infinite variety of expression!
Have you ever seen these beautiful beans for sale at any market?  Would you even know what they were if I didn't tell you?  Don't they look like some kind of 'Magic Bean' that Jack of 'The Beanstalk' fame might have planted?  If you haven't guessed by now, I'll tell you. They're Scarlet Runner Beans and they're called that for two good reasons.  One, they have the most intensely scarlet red flowers, and Two, they 'run' up any pole, tree, fence or trellis that happens to be close to where they are growing.  If you've never grown them then maybe it's time to consider giving them a place in your garden.

I've grown them many times before, but up until recently I always considered them to be strictly 'ornamental'.  Don't know why!  Perhaps it's because they were described that way in the catalog from which I ordered my first seeds.  As you can see in the pictures posted with this article, they add exquisite beauty to any garden patch. It wasn't until 2011 that I sampled them as cooked, dried beans and discovered their beauty is only rivaled by their delicious flavor!
Scarlet Runners vining up the bamboo trellis. We grew a 70-foot row last year and are doubling it in the 2013 season.
These beauties grow steadily to a dramatic height of 10-12 feet (or more) and need a sturdy trellis of some sort to support the weight of their generous profusion of bean pods (we used bamboo poles tied to a wire pulled taught between t-posts). For those who enjoy attracting pollinators to your garden, you'll likely find (as we did) that the flowers regularly attract hummingbirds and many beneficial insects. (If you have cats, best not to grow the runners as we've heard sad tales of hummingbirds being caught and killed by those furry, domestic predators).

Bean-trellis made with bamboo poles wired to a cable.
Scarlet Runner Beans will grow in a greenhouse too. Just be sure to leave enough vents open to allow pollinators to come and go.
Plant beans 4"-6" apart and 1"- deep. Soil can be course and should stay moist but not too wet as seeds germinate. Often we will pre-sprout the seeds by keeping them between wet towels for several days till they germinate. Be very careful when planting as the sprouts are fragile.
The pods are deliciously sweet when they are young and tender (about 3-4 inches long).  So sweet, in fact that it was the first thing our two teen-age garden-helpers would seek out and munch on whenever they came to the gardens.

Bean pod-loving teens!
If it's mainly green beans that you're looking for though, it's probably best to grow another variety like 'Blue Lake' or 'Contender' which provide you with more of a volume at each picking.  These Scarlet Runners tend to produce pods steadily over a longer season but they become tough and stringy if they aren't picked on the small side.  The reason they probably aren't grown commercially for dried beans is that they must be hand-picked. At the Sharing Gardens we've turned this limitation into an asset as the weekly bean-picking was a task that folks with back and knee-issues could accomplish easily standing up. After a few days laid out on screens in the greenhouse the husks were dry enough to split open easily by hand. This was a task that many volunteers (share-givers), who weren't able to do more strenuous tasks, found fun and relaxing; it also provided an opportunity to sit in the shade and chat with new found friends.

Pods, any bigger than this and they're too tough to eat green.
If it's dried beans you want, don't pick the pods until they are evenly tan and dry. If picked too green, beans won't store well, nor will they be viable for planting next year's crop. Once the frost hits, beans will no longer ripen much more. Pull up the whole vine and let the beans finish ripening in a green-house or warm, dry place before picking them off the vines. When they are as dry as they're going to get, shell these partially ripe beans and use them first as they won't store as well as fully cured beans.

These beautiful beans are rather large --about the size of a fat Lima bean-- and therefore yield enough to make a pot of soup-beans in a short time. If you're serious about growing your own protein-source, Scarlet Runners make an excellent choice.
Harvest beans once their pods are tan and dry. OSU-students shelling Scarlet Runner Beans.


Shelling beans from their pods is a fun activity for all! Jim and Adri shelling kidney beans.
But the best kept secret of all is just how delicious the dried beans are. They have a mild flavor and, unlike Fava beans, their skin is thin (not even noticeable) and they have a velvety texture.

A bamboo tipi provides a trellis for beans and beautifully frames our garden helpers.
Recipe: To cook these beans for eating, soak them over night just like you would any other, with about 1/3 beans to 2/3 water in a stainless or cast iron pot.  Pour off the water the next day; rinse the beans with fresh water and put them back in the pot. Add fresh water until the level is about 2-3 inches over the beans.  Don't add any salt because it won't allow the beans to absorb the water as they cook and they'll never soften.  I like to cook them on the woodstove in the winter.   These beans stay very firm when they're finished cooking but can be easily mashed and used as refries, or made into a hearty chile with tomatoes, onions, peppers and Mexican spices.  I cook up a large pot at a time and, once rinsed and cooled, I pack them into smaller zip-lock bags which I stack in the freezer to add to stir-fried kale and leeks with potatoes all winter long. Instant dinner!

Be creative! Sometimes just a plain ole' bowl of beans with olive oil, soy sauce, finely chopped onions and grated cheese is all you need to get you in the mood to go outside and brave the winter elements.

Such beauty!
Anyway, if you want to enjoy these wonderful and versatile garden gems, the time to plant is coming up soon! (late May or first week of June in our region)  If any of our local readers need seed  please let us know and we'll get you started, and you can save your own for next year.  Happy Gardening!
 
Update June 2022: Since originally writing this post, we've discovered another bean we love that's also in the "runner" family: Giant Greek White Beans. They have a white flower and produce a white bean that's even larger than the Scarlet runners. Though each bean is typically larger, the plants themselves don't seem to be quite as productive. We didn't realize the varieties would cross so now, sometimes when we plant a purple, Scarlet runner seed, it produces white flowers and beans!
This tipi is covered in Giant Greek White beans.


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

How to build a Bean Tipi/Teepee

Here are instructions for building a simple tipi, perfect for growing pole-beans. Tipis are a great way to support these vigorous climbers and a fun and shady hideout for your smaller garden helpers! 
 
Tipis are an efficient way to grow lots of beans if you wish to dry them and save them for a seed-crop or winter storage.
 
Note: tipis are not a good choice for peas as peas' tendrils are too small to grasp the poles. Beans spiral around the trellis with their whole vine so the pole's diameter is less crucial.
A large tipi covered in Scarlet Runner beans. See the red blossoms amongst the green leaves?
 
--You'll need: 12-20 bamboo poles approximately 1" in diameter and up to 12 feet long. The taller the tipi, the more poles you'll need to fill in the gaps between your initial tripod poles. If you don't have access to bamboo, other long, straight poles will work. Try vine-maple or willow. Most of the bamboo poles we've used have been donated by friends who have large patches of bamboo that benefits from thinning. Here in the United States, we've also found them offered for free on Craig's list.
 
--You'll also need something to secure the initial three tripod-poles together. Strips of inner-tubes work well though you can use heavy cord or electrician's tape. (LINK: How to tie tipi poles).
 
-- Grass-clippings, dried leaves, straw or other mulch for the floor of the tipi.
 
-- Three 18" stakes to secure initial tripod to the ground, and wire to attach. 
 
-- Bean seeds: Our favorite is Scarlet Runner beans though we've also grown Giant Greek White beans which are in the same family of beans. They're very tasty, and larger than the Scarlet Runners, but not quite as productive per vine. Morning Glory flowers are beautiful but of course you can't eat them! See: Grow your own protein; Scarlet Runner beans LINK

To begin, we prep the soil, fluffing it up with a spade-fork or roto-tiller and digging in enough compost so the soil isn't too heavy. Many times we have moved our large compost bins at the end of the winter (once we've emptied them out) and built our tipi right where the compost bin has been! Beans don't need a lot of fertilization as they are able to "fix" nitrogen from the air but they won't suffer from the extra fertility either. The soil needn't be heavily groomed as big bean seeds can find their way around dirt clumps but don't make their job too hard by planting them into soil that is weedy or too course.

This tipi is covered in Giant Greek White beans.

We use wood-ash (trace minerals) and coffee grounds (attracts worms) as soil amendments (you can learn about that here - LINK: Coffee and Wood Ash for Soil Fertility) Use just a light sprinkling of ashes; they're very concentrated! Work the wood ash and coffee grounds into the soil before putting up your poles so it's evenly mixed.
Lightly sprinkle wood-ash to give your plants a boost of trace-minerals - LINK
 
Next, we lay down a heavy bed of straw, leaves or dried grass-clippings in the middle (6" thick). This helps keep the soil's moisture-content consistent and also attracts composting worms to live in the soil. Mulch makes it more pleasant for kids to hang out in the tipi for play and for harvesters to pick the beans later as the ripe beans will hang down inside the tipi.

Laying on your back and looking up through the top of the tipi can be very relaxing.

Next we choose three stout, straight poles and tie a knot around them six to eight feet from the ground. You want to place your knot lower than the height of your shortest other poles as they need to be able to lay in the crotches formed by this tripod. If the knot is too high, they'll just slip through. Tie the knot tight enough to hold the three poles together but not so tight that you can't twist the poles into the tripod shape. Spread the three tied poles into a tripod with the legs equal distance apart. LINK: How to tie poles for a tipi.
 
Important: Stake the tripod firmly to the ground so your tipi won't blow over before the vines actually anchor it. We use 18" wooden stakes driven deep into the ground and wire the tripod poles to them securely.  
Start with a tripod...

...and fill in with other poles, leaving space for a door. Mulch the floor with straw or other soft material.

Lay the other poles in the spaces between these main poles. Place the first pole 10-12 inches to right of the bottom of the first leg of the tripod. The second pole, the same distance to the right of the second tripod pole and the third pole 10-12 inches from the third tripod pole. 
 
On the second round, continue to place one pole in each tri-pod section till you have them all placed. This spiral pattern will lock the poles together and make a stronger tipi.
 
Be sure to leave space for a door on one of the sides!

Poles are placed 10-12 inches apart.

Here's the tipi's top after all the poles have been placed:

Plant the beans about 4-5 inches apart, in between the tipi poles. Beans are a large seed so you don't have to groom the soil as much as for small seeds.

These bean plants are about 8-weeks old.

Beans hang down inside the tipi for easy harvesting.

Here's another way to use tipis. We grew a bush-variety of Delicata squash in their centers, nasturtium flowers at their doors and sunflowers behind.  It made for a beautiful edge along the north side of our garden.
 
Setting up the tipis

Early in the season.
Plants fully mature.

Thanks for following along on our garden adventure! We love to read your comments. Please consider leaving one below so others can share.