Beans are an excellent garden plant. It is easy to grow, contributes to nitrogen fixation in the soil, providing your plants with inexhaustible nutrients, and makes a good partner in a mixed crop. So if you are planning an organic garden, it only makes sense to find the best companions for it. In this article, we take a look at exactly that question – which plants are good neighbors for beans!
What is the right location for bean plants in the garden?
Beans belong to the legume family (Fabaceae) and are easy to grow in the garden if you keep a few factors in mind. First of all, remember that she is sensitive to frost. Therefore, plant them in May at the earliest, when the last frosts have passed. Find a sunny to partially shaded spot and ensure loose, moist soil. You can sow bean plants in two different ways – in rows 30-40 cm apart or in clumps 10 cm apart. To find good neighbors for beans, you must first understand what intercropping is and how one plant can benefit from another.
What is a mixed culture and how do beans go with it?
Intercropping means choosing plants for your garden that have similar needs in terms of site and soil and complement each other in their growing habits, but that’s not all. Each plant in a mixed culture attracts or repels pests that feed on the other plant’s pests. This way you get healthier vegetables and more beneficial pollinating insects.
Beans are an excellent partner in a mixed culture. This is due to its ability to fix nitrogen, which it also releases to neighboring crops. It can be ideally combined with heavy feeders such as cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, etc., but also with shallow-rooted plants, as it develops its own very deep roots. Like other vegetables, beans should not be planted near plants of the same family.
Mixed culture with vegetables – You can get a list of which plants go together and which do not here!
Good neighbors for beans – tomatoes and basil
Tomatoes are a vegetable that pairs well with beans because it can reduce the incidence of pests that damage legumes. And while tomatoes offer protection from pests, their nitrogen-fixing neighbors can in turn provide ground cover to prevent disease organisms from getting onto the tomato leaves.
For its part, basil can help keep pests like aphids away from beans and tomatoes. Research shows that the presence of basil under bean plants leads to reduced mite infestation and better harvests.
Which are bad neighbors for tomatoes? You can find out here!
Catnip and calendula repel pests
Catnip is a great herb for garden beds near green bean plants as it repels flea beetles, a common pest that likes to bother bean plants.
Marigolds are always on the list of companion plants, and with good reason. These flowers repel harmful insects that like to attack bean plants. They produce a substance that helps suppress and repel nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack the roots of plants. Unfortunately, you can only discover them when it is too late and your plant has died. That is why it would be very beneficial to have marigolds in your intercropping.
Potatoes and beans help each other
Planting beans and potatoes together makes more than sense because the two crops repel pests that are harmful to the other. Potato plants repel the Mexican beetle while beans keep the Colorado potato beetle away. In this way, the two plants really benefit from each other and form a symbiotic relationship.
Radishes attract beneficial insects
Radishes are one of those plants that too many gardeners forget to plant. Leaving radish flowers in the ground will attract beneficial insects and confuse the pests that are hunting your bean plants.
Cucumbers and rosemary encourage stronger growth
Cucumbers form a symbiosis with beans. They are good neighbors for beans as they encourage stronger growth, while the nitrogen supply from the legumes helps cucumbers have a bounty harvest.
You can find out here which plants are bad neighbors for cucumbers!
One of the herbs that you should grow along with bean plants is rosemary. Grow them close together to improve overall bean growth.
Corn serves as a natural support for bush beans
If you choose to grow French beans, the corn will act as a natural support system and free up space in the garden for other plants. Also, French beans can tolerate the shade that corn produces, and because their roots are at different depths, the two crops don’t compete for water and nutrients.
Other plants that are good neighbors for beans include: