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Before I plant

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Before I plant

Post  Don T on 5/6/2012, 2:10 pm

Being new at this I am looking everywhere for ideas.

I was thinking, a bad thing for me to do at times, about combining SFG with companion gardening. Such as, I will be planting both beans and corn from seed. Corn = 4 per sq. and bush beans = 9 per sq. Corn takes N2 out the soil and beans puts it back in.

What about planting 2 corn and 4 beans per square? Am I getting to far ahead of myself or is this viable?
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Re: Before I plant

Post  cheyannarach on 5/6/2012, 2:13 pm

I I love you companion planting. It really just depends who you ask some do and some don't, with such a great growing medium (Mel's Mix) a lot of people say that they can grow anything with anything, but I still try to companion plant everything.
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Re: Before I plant

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/6/2012, 2:33 pm

@Don T wrote:Being new at this I am looking everywhere for ideas.

I was thinking, a bad thing for me to do at times, about combining SFG with companion gardening. Such as, I will be planting both beans and corn from seed. Corn = 4 per sq. and bush beans = 9 per sq. Corn takes N2 out the soil and beans puts it back in.

What about planting 2 corn and 4 beans per square? Am I getting to far ahead of myself or is this viable?

You most definitely can grow both beans and corn in the same square....many people here grow squash, beans, and corn simultaneously in their SFG in a method known as "Three Sisters".

You might wanna check out some of the threads on the subject and see if they give you any useful ideas.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7757-three-sisters-thursday

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t11299-corn-spacing-within-3-sister-s

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t10155-3-sisters
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Re: Before I plant

Post  Don T on 5/6/2012, 3:38 pm

I saw the three sisters method on YouTube but I don't want the squash because of the size of the plant and amount of squash produced. Besides, I don't eat squash which makes that decision easy.

I'm planning on 3 x 4 area with 2 corn and 4 bush beans per square. I may go to 4 x 4 depending on what type of plants I am able to purchase for the rest of the garden. Tommorrow is the day I go to buy the plants and seeds. May look at a few flowers for the wife to make her happy. I have 60 squares to fill but don't intend to fill them all at one time.

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Re: Before I plant

Post  cheyannarach on 5/6/2012, 5:00 pm

I am not 100% positive but I think you want to plant pole beans with corn, not bush beans. Someone who has done this before chime in now please
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Definitely POLE beans!!

Post  hruten on 5/6/2012, 5:05 pm

This is how 3 sisters garden was explained to me...

The corn grows tall and supports the pole beans. The squash interplanting replenishes the soil with nitrogen (since beans and corn are nitrogen hogs). You might want to check the other 3 sisters posts on this site for more info.
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Re: Before I plant

Post  Don T on 5/6/2012, 10:25 pm

I know most plant pole beans to grow up the stalks. This is not what I wanted though. Pardon the inexperience, but I was thinking that bush beans at the bottom of the plants would look better in the garden. My book states 9 bush bean plants per square and 4 corn. On some of the other threads there were different books stating different amounts of corn and beans. The books may have been prior and after Mel's Mix and that could be the difference.

There was also some talk about things getting to tight at harvesting time due the the pole beans climbing on the corn. This combined with the clutter of plants intertwining would not have as good of an appearance as the bush beans under the corn. (This is my assumption as I have never seen either other than pictures).

On a YouTube video the person said that the beans supplied N2 to the soil. I am not going to plant the Squash so it will not be a 3 sisters companion garden, but if I am wrong and beans are a N2 hog, then I do not want to plant the two together.

I will have to do more research on that subject. I will start with the corn and then add the beans if applicable. If not I will keep them seperated.

I appreciate all the assistance.


Last edited by Don T on 5/6/2012, 10:40 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Before I plant

Post  Don T on 5/6/2012, 10:32 pm

This is what I found on another site:

GROWING BEANS

The common bean is an herbaceous annual plant popular both dry and as a green bean. (The term green bean refers to the bean being eaten in its green, unripe stage, rather than the color of the bean). In the home garden, because beans are a legume and acquire their nitrogen by nitrogen-fixing bacteria, the crop residue can be folded into the soil to supply nitrogen for the next crop.

"My understanding now is that it neither provides unless tilled back in or is it a hog." I believe it will be compatable even without the squash, just maybe not quite as good.

I think I will try it.
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Re: Before I plant

Post  givvmistamps on 5/7/2012, 3:34 pm

Don, that's correct, beans have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil. I'll have to look later, but I'm pretty sure bush beans should not be planted so close together; I think it's the pole beans that can be planted 9 to a square. It's been recommended by several experienced gardeners here that you plant your corn first, let it get around 9" tall, then plant your beans. Otherwise the beans kind of take over the space and shade the corn and then the corn doesn't do as well. So, good thinking on planting the corn first and deciding on the rest later.

I would research photos of the 3 sisters plantings to see what it will look like given the fact that you're wanting something aesthetically pleasing as well as getting good crops out of this. Just ignore the squash since you don't want that. I think the squash is planted with the corn and beans so that it will wrap around the base to keep deer away from the latter 2.
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Re: Before I plant

Post  elliephant on 5/7/2012, 6:49 pm

I know my bush beans have done well plant 9/sq, or even closer spacing than that. Have a bunch I need to go out and pick right now, as a matter of fact Very Happy

And, just observationally, it seems like my squash that have been planted next to peas/beans have always done very well, so I think there's something to the nitrogen thing even without plowing them under.

Right now I'm trying an experiment with an area where I had squash. I pulled the squash, did a test kit which showed almost no nitrogen. Now I planted beans there and will test again after the beans were done. Should be interesting to see if there is an improvement.

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Re: Before I plant

Post  quiltbea on 5/7/2012, 7:37 pm

@DonT......I may be wrong, but I think the corn would shade the bush beans (too short and lost in the depth of the stalks) for the bush beans to grown.

I plan to put pole beans with my corn this year to see how it goes. I didn't want the crowding of the squash among the corn plants so won't be planting those.
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Re: Before I plant

Post  mijejo on 5/8/2012, 6:29 am

I have Native American "roots." I know my coloring shows it. LOL! Hey, but the cheek bones are there! Regardless, concerning Three Sisters plantings, my "kin" have explained the following to me:


  • Build small mounds and sow corn seeds
  • When corn reaches about six inches, sow multiple pole/runner bean seeds around each corn stalk
  • When beans have sprouted, sow squash (types that have prickly stems) around the circumference
  • What is the symbiotic relationship? The corn provides the stalk in which the beans can grow. The beans provide additional strength to the corn stalks to keep them upright in strong winds. The bean also provide nitrogen to the soil. The squash leaves shade the roots (thus keeping them cool) of the corn and beans, and their prickliness deters not only deer, but other corn-raiding critters, like raccoons and squirrels.
  • There is an often unmentioned fourth sister - the sunflower. She should be planted around the entire area. Her job is to help keep the wind blown pollen contained to ensure better pollination of the corn. She also provides beauty.

Last year, I had great success with my "Four Sisters" area following this method.
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Re: Before I plant

Post  Don T on 5/8/2012, 10:20 am

In my case the fourth sister has been planted not even knowing the relationship. My grandson wanted to plant some sunflowers. As the garden is as much for them as for me I let him plant some in a small pot to be transplanted later. They came up in no time and when we planted yesterday we transplanted the 4 sunflower plants at the end of the garden.

Looking at several photos of corn and beans growing I noticed that the beans may be shaded out. Therefore I made adjustments. Thus far we have planted 10 squares in 2 rows with 4 corn per square (No beans). At the north end we planted 2 squares with 2 sunflowers per square and 4 beans. These are the inside squares on a 4 square wide garden.

My other two grandsons will be in charge of planting the bulk of the beans and the okra. The beans will be planted at 7 per square with 1 corn on the inside edge. The corn is to assist in the pollenating of the inside rows. This will allow 12 squares planted in this manner. I am hoping that this will provide enough beans. As the corn grows I may trim the lower leaves if they block the sun from the beans. These outside corn stalks are intended mainly for pollenating and production would be just a bonus. The beans are to be the producers in these squares.
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