GardenJester
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companion planting

Newbie here, both to gardening and this forum. I gardened for about 2 years, my little plot is rather small 16'x18', so I been looking for ways to maximize yeld. I recently read about companion planting, that suggested pole beans can grow rather well in close proximity to tomatoes. Since I been reinforcing my tomato cages with rebars(my plot is located in rather windy area, I didn't really had much choice about that :( ). So... I figure why not use the poles for my beans to reinforce the cages, and string up the poles into a kind of trellis for my beans. Essentually beans and tomatoes would grow in the same space. And may be it can also function as kind of windbreak if I plant them on north and west edge of my garden. Of course my concern is the beans might shade out the tomatoes. I'm just wondering if anyone have tried it. what's the result? or if you have any tips, opinions. Thanks for any help

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gixxerific
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I have been thinking the same thing, though i wonder if the beans fixation would interfere with the tom's growth. Too much nitrogen would make a bushy tomato with little fruit.

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applestar
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The other issues are that the bean foliage might cast too much shade on the tomato foliage, and that all that bean vegetation might block air circulation, which is a big issue for tomatoes and fungal diseases.

If I were companion planting pole beans with toms, I would grow them separately to the north side of the tomatoes with sufficient gap to walk in between, and keep them from climbing on the tomatoes (i.e. turn back any shoots reaching towards the toms).

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gixxerific
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Sorry than there is that as well (what apple said about the air circulation).

GardenJester
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those are all good concerns. I don't think air circulation would be too much of a problem for my particular case. Too much wind have been a problem at my plot. I have more problem with wind stunted plants than fungus. since I'm planting them as windbreak I think they will get plenty of air circulation.

Too much shade might be a serious problem thou. I think I might have a solution to it. I'm planning to plant two rows of tomatoes side by side but staggered. So the tomatoe plant and the nearest 2 tomatoe plants form a triangle. The spacing between them would be around 3'. Then run one bean pole diagonally through each tomatoe cage, making sure to secure the cage at two points on the pole. Then tie the 3 poles at the top to form a tripod and stabilize the whole thing. The tripod would cut down on the shades beans would cast. It might be more work to train the beans up the poles rather than allow it climb all over the tomatoes.

As for too much nitrogen, tomatoes are heavy feeders, I don't think it would be much of a problem. If it becomes a problem, I guess I just will have cut back on the Miracle grow and save some money. :P



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