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KEF

I've read that you shouldn't plant them near to each but no reason was given. I don't intend limiting their space or underplanting. Just wondered if anyone knew why they shouldn't be in the same bed.

Thanks.

Dovefromabove

Never heard of that - where did you read it?

4thPanda

It wasn't me Dove 

KEF

I Googled companion planting and found a site that had a chart which also included what not to plant together. I'd forgotten about it until I decided to sow some more this morning and wondered if others knew, my first year for growing kale. 

I shall put it where I want !

Thanks Dove & I knew it wouldn't be you Panda

BobTheGardener

Sounds odd to me too.  Beans fix Nitrogen and Kale needs that.  Companion planting (there are two definitions of that - one is for pest control and the other is entirely different and is for nutrient sharing) is often used with the oldest known one being "3 sisters" where you plant sweetcorn (need N and provides natural 'poles' for the beans), climbing beans (fix N) and squash (living mulch to reduce weeds and shade roots) all together in the same place, usually a mound.

I've done it many times and it does work.

The only negative concerns crop rotation.  This is important to prevent pest and disease build-up in the soil.  I found this to be more important in the long run so no longer use the nutrient-sharing type of companion planting except with sweetcorn when I always plant beans with them as they can be trained to support the corn by intertwining between stems, completely eliminating the need for poles and string.

Lots of experimenting has been done in my garden over many years - can you tell?

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Dovefromabove

Bob, are you growing beans and sweetcorn together this year?  I'd love a photo of that - we're quite limited for space and we find that runner beans and sweetcorn both take up a lot of room, if we could amalgamate them successfully that would be great! 

BobTheGardener

Hi Dove, not this year as I had limited space due to the new polytunnel so skipped any crops which can be unreliable and need good weather, just in case - sweetcorn is a bit dodgy in this respect for.  I'll have a look through my photo archives though - there may be a shot in there somewhere.

fidgetbones

I read about growing beans up sweet corn, but I grow my sweet corn in a block, planted a foot apart. (7 x 10).  As it is I have to wriggle through the gaps to harvest the sweet corn, as it seems to be the ones in the middle that ripen first(presumably due to better pollination in the centre of the block). I wondered how much harder it would be if beans were all over them as well. How big a block do you have and how far apart do you plant the sweetcorn.?

BobTheGardener

Usually about 1.5x1.5m fidget, so small enough to reach in to the centre.  I agree it would be a bit of a tangle on anything larger!

Dovefromabove

Any particular variety of bean Bob?  

This is very interesting .............. 

KEF

Thanks for info' Bob

I won't read anymore silly websites and go to Organ grinders 1st

BobTheGardener

Anything climbing, Dove - I usually use French beans like Cobra but have used runners - whatever I have spare.

scroggin
Bob do you nip out the tops of the beans very early? My sweetcorn is about 3ft high at the moment but my beans are near the top of 7ft poles. Do you grow them as a later catch crop when the sweetcorn has grown to full height.?

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BobTheGardener

Scroggin, I plant a seed close to the roots of each sweetcorn plant when they are about 10-12 inches high, otherwise the beans will easily outgrow the corn.  As the beans grow, they are trained to twine round one corn stem, then over to another etc, so they do not climb vertically as such - the bean stems are used to 'tie' the corn stems together.  When there is enough support for the corn crop, I nip the tips of the beans off.  There are usually beans available for harvesting well before any cobs are ready.  After harvesting the cobs, if the beans are still cropping, I leave the whole shebang and cut down when everything dies in early winter.  Any beans harvested are really a bonus as their primary purpose is to provide nitrogen for, and to support, the corn.   

Steve 309

Hadn't thpught about the support thing - good idea that.  the 'three sisters' idea is from South America, which is where all three plants come from; they used to grow them like that there for exactly the reasons described.  I'm trying it this year for the first time.  My friend does sweetcorn and squashes together every year and it seems to work well, but her beans are elsewhere.

I also sowed french beans at the bottom of the corn when they were a foot high and the seem to be doing OK.  I have runner beans at the tops of their wigwams elsewhere and starting to set already!  Photos soon...

scroggin
Bob, I bet it looks really good too when the beans are in full flower.
Steve 309


 Three sisters above,  Taken last week.

Bob Flowerdew in Companion Planting reckons runner beans aren't good for brassicas but doesn't say why.  I generally follow beans with brassicas in rotation, leaving the roots and soil undisturbed to take advantage of the nitrogen and firm soil.

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