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Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

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Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  NHGardener on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 9:18 am

Or would the corn block out the sun for the beans?

The beans need trellis space, so I thought maybe I could squeeze them back there behind the corn, which don't need trellis space. The other option is putting the corn in the back and the beans in the front, and let the beans climb up the corn as a trellis... but I don't know if that really works.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  Megan on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 9:26 am

I assume you're planting pole beans? If they are bush, they don't need a trellis. (I figure you are growing pole beans; just saying this for newcomers.)

Beans can climb corn as a trellis. It is called the Three Sisters method and was started by the Native Americans. However, the corn needs a headstart on the beans. I did a modified 3 sisters last year. My beans grew MUCH faster than my corn did, so I trained the beans up my trellises instead. In later reading, I found out that the typical corn used for a 3-sisters is a tall-growing flint/dent type (Hickory King is often mentioned). My sweet corn did get to 10 feet, and the beans leaped back onto them from the trellis, and broke a few tassels off. The beans did great, the corn grew well but no harvest to speak of... but my bed was on the north side of the house and I think that was probably a factor.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  FarmerValerie on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 9:28 am

You can plant the beans 3" away from the corn when the corn is 4" high and let the beans climb the corn. This will be my first attempt at this, but I have read it really does work to let the beans climb the corn. I probably just mad things clear as mud for you, but you could plant the beans in front of the corn as you asked and train them to climb, or space your corn 4 per square, and at the edge of the square plant a bean seed and train it to climb your corn. Hope I helped some. I'll be doing the 3 sisters method as well, but I'm adding the 3rd sister, squash plants.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  rowena___. on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 9:53 am

my little girl grew a three sisters garden last year and had a pretty decent result. she planted four corns per square, toward the corners, then planted four beans per square, toward the sides. she planted in a design that created a cross, so that the ends were oriented toward the four points on the compass. in the corner squares of the box she planted four different squashes.

she started the corn first, and when it was about 6"-8" tall she planted the beans and the squash. she trained the beans up the corn stalks, and trained the squash under and thru the corn stalks to act as a mulch.

i'll check my notes, but my memory is telling me that she harvested three ears of corn per stalk, and about 10 pounds of beans total. her zucchini squash produced only flowers, no squash, but the spaghetti squash and the crookneck did really well, in fact we had enough crookneck that we had to dehydrate a lot of it or it would have gone bad before we could finish it.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  FarmerValerie on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 10:00 am

Okay, this sounds more practical that what I was planning (don't ask, I'll just confuse myself again). So, the corn was near the corners like an X, and the beans were N, S, E, & W? With Squash in the corners? Maybe you should video your daughter and have her teach us!!!
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  rowena___. on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 10:21 am

later today i'll post last year's planting diagram, and if i can dig out pictures of the garden i'll post those too. we take THOUSANDS of pictures a month--seriously--yesterday i downloaded almost 2000 pictures just from my PHONE. i haven't even downloaded pictures from the camera this week. all that to say: it might take me a few days to unearth the pictures of the gardens.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  NHGardener on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 12:04 pm

I don't think I'm going to use the 3 sisters with the corn stalks, only because I think I'm going to share my bean space with early peas, which need a trellis and grow before the corn.

Assuming that it is realistic to grow peas early, and then beans in summer. Unless the book was just being optimistic. Smile

I just finished my garden diagram. As soon as I find the free planning website (I erased my "favorites" link, oh well) I'm going to post the diagram and see what you all think.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  quiltbea on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 12:53 pm

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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  NHGardener on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 1:27 pm

Hmmm. Let's see if this works.

Nope, that didn't work. How do you post a plan from gardeners.com? I have it saved there.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  ModernDayBetty on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 1:36 pm

I have been finding the Farmers Almanac very helpful during my first try at gardening the right way, lol. Close out the subscription box when it pops up, you don't have to subscribe to use it. It tells you when you can plant in your area for some of the most popular veggies using frost dates :o)

My first thought was that you can use the corn, but if your doing it earlier like you said you could do a first crop then take it out and do a root crop later when the corn is too high. I grew beans and peas last year in my first and only row garden in a very shaded spot. It's very hot here so I thought it would be okay but I only got a handful of beans and peas.
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  ModernDayBetty on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 2:17 pm


Wow!! This is the coolest tool I've seen since the MM calculator!! I'm so happy I found this forum :o)
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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

Post  kiwirose on Sun 27 Mar 2011, 5:52 pm

I may be overly optimistic - but I have planted snap peas (on 2/21 - they are about 4 inches tall now), and plan to do the 3 sisters, starting with planting corn in ~ a month or so, when the peas look like they are doing well. I have started seedlings of my squashes and will plant beans when corn in 4-6 inches tall. I should say - I have never done this plan of attack before.

Good luck and let us know how it goes

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Re: Can I plant beans on a trellis behind 2 rows of corn?

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