Growing corn and beans together : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was just reading a back issue of Countryside concerning planting beans to grow up the question is.. is the article referring to all climbing pole beans? I would like pole limas instead of the green beans. Is this feasible? Thanks

-- Lynn(MO) (, February 20, 2001


my mother planted all her climbing beans in the corn.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, February 20, 2001.

I haven't tried lima beans, but I don't see why it would be any problem. Let the corn get to be about 12 to 18" before you put the climbers in as the beans tend to outpace the corn and will smother it if the corn doesn't get a headstart. Worked great with regular pole beans for me in the past.

-- Doreen (, February 20, 2001.

There is a bean called "Genuine Cornfield". I have tried it as well as others, and some vine crops in among the corn. First, the stalks of sweet corn are not really sturdy enough, but if you're planting some field corn, it'll be fine. However, I find that the yield is substantially less than planting them separately. Hence, I would not do it unless space was at a premium. Still, you're probably not dependent upon the crop to keep you from starving, so give it a shot if you like. Just report back and let us know how it worked! GL!

-- Brad (, February 21, 2001.

My main concern would be the weight of the vine and beans on the sweet corn stalk. I won't starve by not growing them but for some reason I cannot grow lima beans out in this neck of the woods and I really, really want fresh limas. I miss them.

-- Lynn(MO) (, February 21, 2001.

We, too, love lima beans, and it is one of the few crops I cannot seem to grow. Same with melons. I could scatter tomato seeds in the garden and they would come up at 4' intervals by themselves! Vine crops thrive. Green beans, wax beans, french beans, dry beans - no problem. Limas - dreadful! So if you're successful with the limas, please hold a seminar for those like me! GL!

-- Brad (, February 22, 2001.

I've never had a problem with lima beans growing up North (PA and NJ)...I start them indoors from seed and then plant them when the seedlings are about 3 inches high...we have always had many more than we need. "gerbil" (gee, I miss her) and I talked about this last Spring and she said she had never heard of anybody starting lima beans indoors..the only reason that I did that was I grow very impatient for the garden and want all those nice green things in my kitchen.Other 'old timers" already know about my growing pole beans in my kitchen in February one year...DUH..all of my Amish friends were fascinated to see them all over the ceiling in April when you could not even plant them outdoors in PA until June..ignorance is such bliss sometimes....God bless

-- Lesley (, February 22, 2001.

The best way to plant pole limas is to make a divet in the soil and cover them with potting soil or fine compost. Limas have a hard time pushing up through crusty soil. They also must be kept moist until germination. Beans and corn have been grown together since the Native americans learned to do it way back when. The beans give nitrogen to the corn and the corn give support to the beans. It could lower your yield slightly, but when you account for the amount of food grown in the amount of space it is worth it. A Neat way to grow them this way is in hills. Plant your corn in a circle about ten inches apart. Wait until the corn is at least 18 inches high and then plant your beans. When the silks are wilted, tie the tops of the stalks together, this way the corn stalks will support each other in tepee fashion. Pick your corn and beans and if you plant squash between the hills pick your squash too. Make sure you fertilize at least twice during the season, for all those hungry plants. It nice when planting to leave a small depression in the center of the hill, convenient for feeding and watering. This method really controls weeds too, because the plants shade the soil.

Little Bit farm

-- Little bit Farm (, February 22, 2001.

One benefit you'll get from growing the two together is soil that's not barren (or close to it). Corn is a heavy feeder and legumes fix nitrogen in the soil. Probably why the Indians planted them together ~ they were two "sisters" in the "Three Sisters" planting method, with squash being the last "sister." The squash would benefit from the extra nitrogen as well and grow nice, wide leaves to shade the ground around all three, thus acting as mulch ~ keeping the ground cool, more moist and relatively free of weeds.

-- Wingnut (, February 22, 2001.


I grow all my vining beans, including pole limas, up the corn but I dont raise sweet corn. We prefer, for different uses, hopi blue, bloody butcher and reids yellow. Ive never had a bean vine weight problem nor did the walls-o-corn/beans fall over in strong winds as I expected...maybe those corns have thicker stalks?

-- William in WI (, February 22, 2001.

Wow, What a wealth of information here. I was so encouraged by all the helpful tips here that I think I just might give this method a try. I have never planted corn or squash before and have always planted bush beans as I have a very limited space and didn't want to have to put trellises all over the place for the vining veges to clamber up. Anyone got any ideas of what grows best in hot climates? I live in South Florida and was just wondering if the trouble I've been having with nothing growing (or should I say nothing producing anything)is because I may be planting the wrong things for my zone. Then again, I think tomatoes can be grown anywhere and my plants grew to about 5 feet high but I never saw a single tomato. Any response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, and Happy Planting!! =)

-- Greenthumbelina (, February 23, 2001.

Thanks one and all for your helpful answers. It is getting to the point, that if I want to continue with a garden(s) I have got to start planting veggies that can be trellised or in raised beds..The lower back is just getting worse each year.

-- Lynn(MO) (, February 23, 2001.

Greenthumbelina...Your problem growing tomatoes in Florida just might be your timing...they are very sensitive to heat as well as cold when it comes to blooms.

-- RuthieG (, February 26, 2001.

Lynn, I have all raised beds right now and I love them! Hubby helped me put permanent trellises made out of cedar staves in each bed ~ my back couldn't be happier.

Greenthumbelina, the three main causes of inadequate fruit set (ie, no 'maters! Bummer!) in tomatoes are overfertilization, high heat and inadequate pollination.

How much do you fertilize your tomatoes? They have a kind of one- track-mind ~ give them lots of fertilizer, especially one high in nitrogen, and all they want to do is grow leaves and get taller. I'd say that one dose a week or two after setting them out is plenty until the first round of tomatoes has been picked ~ then only fertilize sparingly and as needed. My best guess on why this is is because if the frost didn't kill them, they would grow for years (be a perennial) and when they get enough food (fertilizer) they think, "Ooh! I'm happy and can live quite a while here in these conditions, so why use all that energy to spit out babies right now?" If you keep them from being quite so complacent by withholding the fertilizer, they tend to get after it in case they die.

Tomatoes are self-pollinated, but do need a "trigger" to make them do it. The blooms have to be moved a bit to make them drop the pollen onto the female part inside the bloom ~ wind or an insect (mainly bees) landing on them will do that. If you haven't noticed much of either wind or bees in your garden, brush the blooms lightly with your hand to simulate that. Sometimes I'll use a broom to get a bunch of blooms at the same time. BTW, native honeybees have been all but wiped out by varroa mites, a nasty little thing that was imported to the US accidentally ten or so years ago. That's why you don't see so many honeybees around now unless you live next to a beekeeper.

The heat ~ they just don't want to produce blooms or babies when the temps get much over 90 degrees or so. Try planting your tomatoes earlier in the year and giving them some shade from mid-day sun when the weather gets really hot. They should still get plenty of sunlight in the morning and late afternoon/evening to live and be happy.

If you don't think the cause is any one of the three, it just may be a magnesium deficiency, though that isn't anywhere as near as common as the other three problems. If you think this may be it, give them some epsom salts ~ two tablespoons diluted in a gallon of water for each plant when you set them out and again at bloom time. Epsoms salts really aren't salt (sodium chloride) ~ they're magnesium sulfate, so will add both magnesium and sulfur to your soil if it's deficient in either. It's rare for soil to be deficient in sulfur, but a little more via the epsom salts won't hurt.

Can you tell I love tomatoes?! LOL! Good luck with yours.

-- Wingnut (, February 26, 2001.

sugar corn does not do very well with th more vigorouse varietiesthe corn stalks sometimes break down and some of the more timid bean varieties are over shaded by the field corns i prefer to plant pole beans in my field corn and had quite a colection of varieties at one time .hope to build up again assoon as i get life a little less hectic.i often picked a 5 gallon bucket full of the trail of tears variety and only moved the bucket twice ,ohio pole hanges like huge bunches of bannanas when it is in the shelly bean stage and the small seeded lima often made a wall of greenvines with huge production of beans pole dried beans are less afected by weather and that helps in my humid climate .i have also planted bush beans between the rows of corn but that is an iffy try i wait till the last cultivation then make a row between the corn rows if the moisture is adequate i get a good crop i also plant turnips and rudabagas ,beets and other greens there the ground is already cultivated and i dont use herbicides,pumpkins are also a good intercrop with corn

-- george Darby (, February 26, 2001.

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